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Russian foreign intelligence chief congratulates veteran double agent on 95th birthday

November 10, 13:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Blake is the holder of many top Soviet and Russian government decorations, including the Order of Lenin

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Seized spy gear, 1960

Seized spy gear, 1960

© TASS

MOSCOW, November 10. /TASS/. The director of Russia’s foreign intelligence SVR, Sergey Naryshkin, has congratulated the Service’s legendary agent, George Blake, upon his coming 95th birthday.

Blake, a former British secret service agent turned Soviet intelligence colonel, has lived in Russia for the past 52 years since his escape from a British jail.

On behalf of all Russian intelligence service veterans and current staff Naryshkin addressed Blake in these words:

"On behalf of the leadership, all staff and veterans of the Russian foreign intelligence and on my own behalf please accept the warmest, cordial greetings on the occasion of your coming 95th birthday," Naryshkin said.

He recalled that Blake had dedicated his whole life "to the noble cause of protecting the ideals of humanism and justice and the work for peace." His heroism and outstanding contribution to maintaining Russia’s security earned him high praise of the country’s leadership, Naryshkin said.

"Our Service knows you well as a reliable comrade, a man of great wisdom, a talented scholar, an outstanding book author and a skillful teacher. You selfless devotion to your cause, your extraordinary mind, dedication, sense of purpose, courage, fortitude, love of life and good-naturedness are an example for all SVR staff to follow," Naryshkin said.

He wished Blake good health, unlimited strength to carry on, optimism, good physical shape and energy, as well as happiness and well-being to his relatives and dear ones.

Biography

George Blake was born in Rotterdam on November 11, 1922. During the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands his mother and sisters fled to Britain, while Blake at an age of 17 joined the anti-Nazi Resistance. Later he would recall that his youth was entirely associated worth World War II, in particular, the day when after a Nazi air raid on May 10, 1940 Rotterdam was engulfed in flames and smoke and thirty one thousand homes were razed to the ground.

In 1942, Blake crossed Nazi-occupied France under a different name to eventually reach Britain. While crossing the Spanish border on the way he was arrested and had to spend some time in jail. In 1943 he volunteered to join the British Navy. In August 1944, he was transferred to the Dutch section of the British intelligence. After the war, when the British intelligence focused on the Soviet Union, Blake was dispatched to Hamburg, where he began to study Russian.

In 1948, he became the British intelligence’s resident agent in Seoul. When Seoul was taken over by Kim Il-sung’s troops he was taken prisoner and as a representative of a warring party sent to a POW camp. In the spring of 1951 he asked a Korean officer to convey his offer of cooperation to the Soviet intelligence. In 1953 after the armistice agreement was concluded in Korea Blake returned to London. He was the one who warned the Soviet authorities of Operation Gold - a joint operation conducted by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in the 1950s to tap into landline communication of the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin using a tunnel into the Soviet-occupied zone.

Betrayed by a Polish intelligence officer in 1961, Blake was sentenced to a 42-year-long prison term. Four years later his escape from prison was arranged for. In 1965, he moved via Berlin to Moscow, where he has lived ever since.

Blake has authored two books of memoirs: No Other Choice and Transparent Walls. A documentary entitled Agent Blake’s Choice premiered on Russian television in April 2011. He is the holder of many top Soviet and Russian government decorations, including the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class and the Order for Personal Courage.

On the day of his 95th birthday, November 11, the main weekly news roundup on the Rossiya-1 national television channel Vesti Nedeli will air a special interview with Blake.

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