We envy the glamour and freedom of the lives of fictional spies like James Bond and Jason Bourne. But in reality, spies are playing with their lives at stake at all times. They are the nervous system of the defense of any nation. They gather critical information for their nations and several times as double agents for other nations. They are common citizens with extraordinary courage, intelligence and a driving passion. So here’s a list of the 7 most famous Soviet spies from the real world who’d put 007 to shame.
7. Richard Sorge:
Richard Sorge has the best claim to have changed the world. His story is a book writers dream and a challenge for any spy novelist. Born in Azerbaijan, he grew up in Germany and soon became a communist. He fled to Russia and became a spy posing as a travel journalist. He spied in Britain and Germany, and joined the Nazi, before moving to Japan. He discovered the German-Japanese Pact, the Pearl Harbor attack and the date of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union. In 1941, his leader got arrested, but no amount of torture made him reveal any secrets. He was hanged on November 7th in the same year.
6. Aldrich Ames:
Ames worked initially for CIA, and was charged of sending information to Soviet Union in 1994. His initial assignments included recruitment of intelligence officers from Turkey. He started selling this data to the Russians to make money. He was working in the European offices of CIA and had access to all confidential data. His leaks opened the identity of more than 100 CIA agents and hanging of at least 10. In his biggest deal he disclosed the names of every CIA agent working in Russia for the cost of 4.6 million dollars. His lifestyle rose extravagantly and agencies got suspicious. At present, he is serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania.
5. Klaus Fuchs:
He was a German born theoretical physicist who worked on the atom bomb project. While working for the British, he began giving information to the Soviets. He helped ensure that Cold war ran till decades, by handling the atomic secrets of Russia. He was working for the American atomic project and had access to the top level. When the fall out happened he passed American secrets to the Brits too. He can claim to have changed history, and shockingly he only spent 9 years in prison, went on to have a successful academic career in Germany and also won many awards.
4. The Cambridge Five of the 20th Century:
The Cambridge Five of the 20th Century was a group of spies working for Russia in the Great Britain, who transferred data during World WAR II and continued till 1950s. It is not known that who their fifth member was. Philby among them did the maximum harm by sending top level data that caused hanging and execution of several agents. Donald Duart Maclean was chosen to be an agent while he was still studying in college. His efforts are widely towards the Soviet Blockade of Berlin of 1948 and start of Korean War. Other members of their guild included Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt.
3. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg:
They were American communists who were convicted for passing nuclear secrets to Russia. They met in 1936 and had two sons. They passed information about Aeronautics and a fuse design. They both were executed by electric chair. Ethels brother was also involved in the espionage and instrumental in getting the couples cover finally blown.
2. Lavrenti Beria:
Lavrenti Beria was responsible for several party purges and deaths of innumerable people. He was head of head of state security and intelligence chief. He was charged with being a double agent and hanged in 1953. He used the influence and power due to the position he was holding, to break the law and take undue advantage of classified information.
1. Morris and Lona Cohen:
This couple was born in the US and started serving as Russian spies in late 1930s. They were instrumental in the Portland spy ring and had worked under the guise of antique book sellers in London. While working undercover they were instrumental in convincing potential candidates to do spying for Russia. They were sent to Russia in 1969, where they were named Heroes and helped train more spies.