Appreciated by Russia: Legendary spy George Blake dead

Appreciated by Russia
Legendary spy George Blake dead

With the words "he sincerely loved our country", Russia announced the death of double agent Blake. He defected as a former British secret service agent in the 1960s. Kremlin chief personally congratulated Putin on his 90th birthday.

First he spied for Great Britain, then for the Soviet Union – now the former agent George Blake has died at the age of 98. This was announced by the Russian foreign intelligence service SWR in the capital Moscow, according to the state agency Tass. "He truly loved our country." Blake admired the performance of the Soviet people in World War II, a spokesman said. He was a legendary intelligence officer.

The ex-agent, born in Rotterdam in 1922, was transferred to South Korea as a young spy for the British secret service after the Second World War. After the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 he was taken prisoner. Blake, who had been in the resistance in the Netherlands during World War II, eventually offered his services to the Soviet Union after witnessing US bombing raids on civilians in the Korean War.

He disclosed the identities of hundreds of agents to the Russian secret service KGB. He also revealed the existence of a secret tunnel in Berlin from which the Soviet Union was spied. Blake was exposed as a "mole" by a Polish double agent. In 1961 he was sentenced to 42 years in prison in Great Britain. Five years later he managed to escape. He fled to Moscow via Berlin. Since then he has lived in Russia.

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, who was also an intelligence agent, had congratulated him on Blake's 90th birthday. On his 95th birthday, he had called on Russia's agents to fight good against evil.