Spy & Traitor: The Fascinating Story Of Oleg Gordievsky - Deepstash
Spy & Traitor: The Fascinating Story Of Oleg Gordievsky

Spy & Traitor: The Fascinating Story Of Oleg Gordievsky

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Oleg Antonovich Gordievsky, CMG is a former colonel of the KGB who became KGB resident-designate and bureau chief in London.

He was a double agent, providing information to the British Secret Intelligence Service from 1974 to 1985.

Oleg was the highest ranked double agent from inside KGB and provided the British with information about the inside organisational structure of KGB, how it was ran and the decision making process behind it. 

He also provided inside information in the critical period of heightened nuclear tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union.


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Oleg Gordievsky was raised by a father who worked in KGB and by a mother who secretly and silently detested the communist regime. His older brother also worked at KGB and helped Oleg secure a position in KGB. The duty came with a lot of benefits such as the opportunity to travel outside of Russia, something that was unavailable to most. During his early life, it was obvious that he had a really good memory and attention to details. This served him well during his prime years as a spy. He was able to memorize in details secret documents and later provide the information to Britain's MI6. 


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"Every act of espionage requires a betrayal of trust, not just once but constantly and repeatedly."



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Motives behind the betrayal

The 4 core motives for people to betray their country are known as MICE:

  • Money 

  • Ideology 
  • Coercion
  • Ego

During his work visit to Denmark, Oleg was fascinated by the country with all of  the free music, the happy, free people and the community as a whole. He fell in love with democracy and the fruits that it bears.

On the other side, he saw the destructive powers of communism in the face of the Berlin Wall and roll of the Soviet tanks during the Prague Spring. It was the ideology as his primary motive that made him switch sides.


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The most difficult choice

He had a loving family, who he had to keep secrets from. His wife was a daughter of a KGB agent as well, he couldn't risk telling her as he didn't know if she would understand the reason behind the betrayal of their country. Plus, even if she understood it would put his family in danger, as if they knew and didn't tell KGB they would be viewed as traitors as well. So, he had to live a second life, which would eventually separate him from his closest ones. 


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The significance of his sacrifice

Due to his sacrifice and dedication to the freedom and democracy, the west had the edge in some situations. For example in the Able Archer 83 (nuclear escalation), NATO knew that the Soviets viewed this training as a direct threat and a preparation for a real nuclear launch against the soviet block, instead of just a regular training. Having this information, NATO was able to de-escalate the situation, before it became a nightmare reality.


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Thatcher meets Gorbachev

Thatcher meets Gorbachev

When the Iron Lady was planned to meet Mikhail Gorbachev, Gordievsky was the one who was able to prepare Margaret Thatcher for the meeting. Since he had inside information from the Soviets, he knew what was their plan about the interview. What key aspects would they mention and how would the whole meeting play out. He gathered the information, summarized it, outlined the fundamental points and gave it to the prime minister to prepare. The preparation paid off, the discussion with Gorbachov was a huge success.


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The fascinating story of Oleg Gordievsky, the man who sacrificed it all

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