Ex-KGB dusts off Cold War prize: UK spy Blake at 90

Tue Nov 6, 2012 10:07am EST
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By Timothy Heritage

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia wheeled out one of its treasured Cold War trophies on Tuesday, publishing a rare interview with a 90-year-old British double agent who recalled sharing martinis outside Moscow with fellow spies in their KGB retirement.

Nearly five decades after he escaped from a British jail and was smuggled to East Berlin in a camper van in one of the classic cloak-and-dagger stories of the 20th century, George Blake lives quietly in the Moscow suburbs with his wife Ida.

"These are the happiest years of my life, and the most peaceful," Blake, who goes by the Russian name Georgy Ivanovich, said in the interview, published in the Russian government newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta ahead of his 90th birthday.

"When I worked in the West, I always had the risk of exposure hanging over me. That is how it was. Here I feel free," said Blake, who lives on a pension from ex-KGB.

A photograph accompanying the interview showed the once-dashing agent, seated in an armchair, a dog on his lap. He is balding and has a grey beard.

Far from taking the opportunity to voice regret about his past, Blake entered into a discussion about whether he was a figure of historical importance.

"Looking back on my life, everything seems logical and natural," he said, describing himself as happy and lucky.

"I have known how to adapt well wherever life has taken me, even when I was in the (Wormwood) Scrubs prison. I always try to find something positive ... I inherited it from my mother. She was always very positive, optimistic, always in a good mood."   Continued...