George Blake the legendary Cold War British-Soviet double agent has died aged 98 in Moscow, reports Russian state news agency RIA.
The news was later confirmed by Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence agency, with a spokesman quoted as saying: “We received some bitter news – the legendary George Blake passed away.”
He is said to be the last in a line of British spies to operated secretly for the Soviet Union. He exposed the identities of hundreds of western agents across eastern Europe in the 1950s and humiliating the intelligence establishment when his work was discovered at the height of the cold war.
Some of the agents who were exposed by Blake were executed as a result of his treason, making him one of the most notorious double agents of the era, alongside the ring of double agents known as the Cambridge Five.
Blake was born in the Netherlands in 1922 and escaped the country after joining the Dutch resistance as a courier in the Second World War. He reached the UK in 1943.
He started working for MI6 in 1944 and was sent to Seoul, South Korea four years later, where he collected intelligence on North Korea, China, and the Soviet Far East.
While being in a North Korean prison, after being captured in 1950, Blake embraced communism as he read the works of Karl Marx and developed a sense of outrage at the US bombing of the country.
Blake’s cover was blown in 1961, as a result, he was sentenced to 42 years’ imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs in London.
Just a few years after imprisonment he managed to escape in 1966 with the help of other inmates and two activists and he was smuggled out of the UK in a camper van, leaving behind his wife and three children.
He spent the rest of his life in the Soviet Union, now Russia, where he was honored as a hero.
Blake went by the Russian name Georgy Ivanovich and continued with the rank of lieutenant colonel in the former KGB security service.
In 2007, He was awarded a medal by President Vladimir Putin and never expressed any regrets about his actions.