Sunday, October 1, 2017

Even in Death, The Spy Kim Philby Serves The Kremlin’s Purposes

Andrew Higgins at the New York Times offers a piece on how Russia is honoring the British Cold War spy and traitor Kim Philby.

MOSCOW — Bereft of friends in Western capitals since its 2014 annexation of Crimea, Russia is celebrating the memory of the British K.G.B. spy Kim Philby, a stalwart supporter who stood by it through thick and thin – and spent the last 25 years of his life in Moscow, often drunk and miserable but still loyal.

Mr. Philby, a notorious double-agent who defected to Moscow in 1963 and died there in 1988, was recently honored with a portrait in a Russian state art gallery and is celebrated in a soon-to-be broadcast film on state television.

The adulation has now reached a new level with the opening of an exhibition in Moscow on the life and work of the best-known of the so-called Cambridge Five Soviet spies in Britain. It portrays Mr. Philby as an unwavering Russian patriot, and it includes the first public display of some of the more than 900 secret British documents he passed on to the K.G.B., the Soviet-era spy agency.

The burst of tributes to Mr. Philby reinforces an escalating campaign by the Kremlin to burnish the image of the K.G.B., the former employer of President Vladimir V. Putin and many of his senior officials, and to make loyalty to the state the bedrock of Russia’s resurgence as a great power.

Portraying Russia’s secret police officers as selfless public servants rather than lawless goons, however, has sometimes been an uphill struggle. Their public image took a big hit this week when Russian media reported that a Mercedes car driven by an officer in the Federal Security Service, the successor to the domestic branch of the K.G.B., had rammed a traffic police officer at high speed in central Moscow and killed him.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read a review of Ben Macintyre's outstanding book on Kim Philby via the below link:

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