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Monday, June 18, 2007

Kicking the Cold War up a Notch: Britain Honors Gordievsky

The BBC reports that Britain has tiven a high state honor to a major Soviet dissident, once again heroically getting right up in Russia's face as the Cold War unfolds. Britain led the world in standing up against the first Soviet dictatorship, thankfully apppears ready to assume that role again:

Former KGB colonel Oleg Gordievsky [pictured, right, shaking hands with then U.S. president Ronald Reagan], who became the highest-ranking Soviet spy to defect to the west, has been honoured by the Queen. He has been appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. The recognition in the Birthday Honours Diplomatic List means he now holds the same title as book spook James Bond. And like 007, Mr Gordievsky operated in the murky world of secret assignments, assassinations and allegations. Disillusioned with the political situation in his homeland, he operated as a double agent during the Cold War. He passed on an unprecedented amount of information to British security while serving as KGB bureau chief in London. His help led to the expulsion of 25 Soviet agents working undercover in the UK.At the time, his defection was hailed by then Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe as "a very substantial coup for our security forces". Mr Gordievsky was MI5's greatest asset between 1982 and 1985, when his cover was blown and he was ordered back to Moscow. He was eventually smuggled back to the West and has since written a number of books about the operations of the KGB. Fictional superspy James Bond was made a CMG in Ian Fleming's novel From Russia With Love. Mr Gordievsky's honour is for services to the security of the UK.

See also reports in the Guardian and the Independent. This comes directly on the heels of Russia, in crazed neo-Soviet fashion, responding by the announcement that Britain would prefer murder charges against Andrei Lugovoi by launching an investigation of whether Alexander Litvinenko was killed as part of a British spy conspiracy against Russia.

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