Oleg Gordievsky : biography
Oleg Antonovich Gordievsky (), CMG (born 10 October 1938 in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union), is a former colonel of the KGB and KGB Resident-designate (rezident) and bureau chief in London, who was a double agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service from 1974 to 1985.
Life in the UK
Gordievsky has written a number of books on the subject of the KGB and is a frequently-quoted media pundit on the subject.
Gordievsky noted that the KGB were puzzled by and denied the claim that Director General of MI5 Roger Hollis was a Soviet agent.
In 1990, he was consultant editor of the journal Intelligence and National Security, and he worked on television in the UK in the 1990s, including the game show Wanted. In 1995 the former British Labour Party leader Michael Foot received an out of court settlement (said to be "substantial") from The Sunday Times after the newspaper alleged, in articles derived from claims in the original manuscript of Gordievsky's book Next Stop Execution (1995), that Foot was a KGB "agent of influence" with the codename 'Boot'.Rhys Williams The Independent, 8 July 1995 In The Daily Telegraph in 2010 Charles Moore gave a "full account", which he claimed had been provided to him by Gordievsky shortly after Foot's death, of the extent of Foot's alleged KGB involvement. Moore also wrote that, although the claims are difficult to corroborate without MI6 and KGB files, Gordievsky's past record in revealing KGB contacts in Britain had been shown to be reliable.Charles Moore: The Daily Telegraph, 5 March 2010
On 26 February 2005, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Buckingham in recognition of his outstanding service to the security and safety of the United Kingdom., University of Buckingham, 28 February 2005
Gordievsky had a letter published in the Daily Telegraph on 3 August 2005, accusing the BBC of being "The Red Service". He said:
- "Just listen with attention to the ideological nuances on Radio 4, BBC television, and the BBC World Service, and you will realise that communism is not a dying creed."
Gordievsky was featured in the PBS documentary Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy.
Gordievsky was appointed Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for "services to the security of the United Kingdom" in the 2007 Queen's Birthday Honours (in the Diplomatic List). The Guardian newspaper noted that it was "the same gong given his fictional cold war colleague James Bond."
In April 2008, the media reported that on 2 November 2007, Gordievsky had been taken by ambulance from his home in Surrey to a local hospital, where he spent 34 hours unconscious. Gordievsky claimed that he was poisoned with thallium by "rogue elements in Moscow". He accused MI6 of forcing Special Branch to drop its early investigations into his allegations; according to him, the investigation was only reopened thanks to the intervention of former MI5 chief Eliza Manningham-Buller.
In Gordievsky's opinion, the villain was a UK-based Russian business associate who had supplied him with pills, which he said were the sedative Xanax, purportedly for insomnia; he refused to identify the associate, saying British authorities had advised against it.Lawless, Jill. , Associated Press, 7 April 2008.
Oleg Gordievsky attended the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and on completion of his studies, joined the foreign service where he was posted to East Berlin in August 1961, just prior to completion of the Berlin Wall. He joined the KGB in 1963, and was posted to the Soviet embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.
During his Danish posting, Gordievsky became disenchanted with his work in the KGB, particularly after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 – and made his sentiments known to MI6, who subsequently made contact with him. The value of MI6's recruitment of such a highly-placed and valuable intelligence asset increased dramatically when, in 1982, Gordievsky was assigned to the Soviet embassy in London as the KGB Resident-designate ("rezident"), responsible for Soviet intelligence gathering and espionage in the UK.
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