He was caught spilling secrets to the Soviets and imprisoned in 1961. Five years later he fled and fled to Moscow, where he was hailed as a hero

George Blake, a notorious British double agent who revealed Cold War secrets and Western spies to the Soviet Union in the 1950s and, after being caught, orchestrated a spectacular escape to live his life as a GB Colonel in Moscow, died. He was 98 years old

“Colonel Blake was a brilliant professional of a special kind and courage,” said President Vladimir V Putin of Russia said in a statement “In the years of his difficult and intense service he has made a truly invaluable contribution to ensuring strategic parity and maintaining peace on the planet”

Tass, the official news agency, quoted a spokesman for the Russian secret service SVR, praising Mr Blake as a “legendary secret service officer” who “truly loved our country” ”

Like Cambridge-trained moles Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, Mr. Blake became a dedicated Marxist, disaffected with the West, and a senior British intelligence officer while secretly working for the Soviets. His secret life had lasted less than a decade, but killed many agents and destroyed important British and American operations in Europe

In contrast to the Cambridge clique, which defected when the authorities closed, Mr. Blake was caught in 1961, secretly tried and sentenced to 42 years in prison.Five years later, with internal and external help, he escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison in London and fled to Moscow leaving behind a wife, three children and an uproar over his Escape, the scraps of a case that summed up the intrigues of a dangerous nuclear age, with hotspots in Korea and Germany where Blake served

Mr. 1966 embarked on a new life in Moscow. Blake assumed the identity of Colonel Georgiy Ivanovich Bleyk and was awarded the Order of Lenin, as well as a pension and an apartment. He divorced his wife, remarried and had a son and a grandson, helped train Soviet agents, and received his 85th birthday in 2007 Birthday the Order of Friendship from President Putin He wrote an autobiography, “No Other Choice” (1990), and a memoir, “Transparent Walls” (2006)

In a 1991 interview with NBC News, he regretted the deaths of agents he exposed, but not his espionage.He denied being a traitor and insisted that he had never considered himself British, although he was the son of a naturalized subject

Indeed, Mr Blake was a multilingual cosmopolitan for whom international intrigue was a way of life, while Philby, Burgess and Maclean became theoretical Marxists in the 1930s after joining the apostles was Mr Blake became a committed communist after seeing war in Europe and Asia and serving as a British agent

He was born George Behar in Rotterdam on November 11, 1922. His mother was a Dutch Protestant; His father Albert was a Turkish born Spanish Jew who fought against the Ottoman Empire in World War I He was wounded, charged with gallantry and given British citizenship. He settled in the Netherlands as a businessman

When his father died in 1934, George went to Cairo to live with relatives, including a cousin, Henri Curiel, who became a communist leader of Egypt. He was visiting the Netherlands when World War II broke out in 1939 and his mother two sisters fled to England, but he joined the Dutch resistance, spreading news and collecting information for two years

Retired to the UK, changed his last name to Blake, joined the Royal Navy, trained in submarines and was hired as a freshman by British intelligence during the war. He was fluent in Dutch, German, Arabic and Hebrew as well as English, translated German documents and interrogated German prisoners

After the war, he studied Russian at Cambridge – by then Philby, Burgess and Maclean had completed their espionage trade – and his teacher, who came from the pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg inspired his love for the Russian language and culture, a step in his conversion. He was then sent to Germany to build up a network of British spies in Berlin and Hamburg. With the envelope of a naval attaché he recruited numerous agents

Shortly before the start of the Korean War in 1950, Mr Blake was sent under diplomatic cover to Seoul, South Korea’s capital, to organize another espionage network.But he was captured by invading North Korean forces.He was detained in North Korea for three years and subjected to communist indoctrination exposed

He later denied that it affected his conversion, insisting that the main factor was the American bombing of North Korea, “The relentless bombing of small Korean villages by huge American flying forts,” in which “women, children and the elderly “were killed, horrified him, he said” I was ashamed, “he added,” I felt obliged to the wrong side “

Mr Blake said he met with a KGB Officer in North Korea, volunteered to become a Soviet agent and immediately began to divulge secrets.He did not want payment and, to avoid suspicion, insisted on not being granted privileges and being released with other diplomats captured than the Korean War ended in 1953, he was returned to Great Britain and received as a national hero

In 1955, he was sent to Berlin to recruit Soviet officers as double agents.Instead, he passed British and American secrets to the Soviets, including the identities of around 400 spies and details of many Western espionage operations, including two of the most prolific Cold War intelligence sources : Tunnels in Berlin and Vienna that were used to tap KGB and Soviet military telephones

Mr Blake’s double life was exposed in 1961 by a Polish secret service defector, Michael Goleniewski. He was tried in court and given three consecutive 14-year terms.But in 1966, with the help of three men he met in prison, he escaped with a rope ladder passed over the Wall had been thrown. A waiting car took him to a hiding place, and he was smuggled out of the country and fled to Moscow

Finally the tangled threads of Mr. Blake’s Life Cleared The three British sons he had left, Anthony, James and Patrick, were told his story as young adults, going to Moscow in the 1980s and reconciled with their father. His first wife, Gillian, divorced and married a British man, Michael Butler, who raised their three sons and one more of their own And in 2012 when Mr Blake turned 90 and lost his eyesight Gillian Butler went to Moscow with her sons and made peace with him

In addition to his British sons, Mr. Blake is survived by his Russian wife Ida; her son Misha; and a number of grandchildren

Over the years the Blake case has been the subject of films, novels, plays, and radio productions. In 1999, PBS aired the four-part documentary “Red Files,” which examined the Soviet era. It included an extensive interview with Mr Blake about his espionage

“I justified it in my mind by believing that I had done little to build a new society in which there would be equality, social justice, no more war, no more national conflict – that was my dream, so to speak, “he said,” I think it is quite conceivable that in time all nations will live in such a world “

George Blake

World News – FI – George Blake, British spy who betrayed the West, dies at the age of 98

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/26/obituaries/george-blake-british-spy-dead.html