The former British spy and Soviet secret agent George Blake has died in Moscow aged 98, according to Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
“Books have been written about him, films have been made. In intelligence, he was highly respected and appreciated,” a spokesperson for Russian foreign intelligence agency SVR said on December 26, according to the agency.
“In intelligence, he was highly respected and appreciated. He himself jokingly said: ‘I am a foreign car that has adapted to Russian roads,'” the statement added. “Now this foreign car has completed its almost century-long run.”
Blake was a double agent, who used his position as an officer in the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6, to spy for the Soviet Union.
He was the last of British spies whose secret work for the Soviet Union humiliated the country’s intelligence establishment when it was discovered at the height of the Cold War.
In the UK he is perhaps best known for his daring escape from London’s Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1966. Blake was born in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, in 1922, moved to England in 1942 and transferred to the Dutch section of the SIS in August 1944.
He was captured by North Korean soldiers in 1950. Blake was interned for three years and secretly became a communist during that time, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. On his return to Britain, Blake became a SIS officer.