With the CIA recently deciding to publish its so-called "family jewels" - notes on the slightly dodgy stuff the agency got up to in the Cold War - my thoughts have again turned to my favorite subject, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB). They certainly gave the West a run for their money. It's ironic that the Soviet Union provided ultimate proof that the only way Government can run everything is if you turn the entire country into a giant prison camp, but politicans of all parties today still believe more Government and more laws are the answer to every problem.
So here are a couple of KGB agents "in action" in Beirut in 1969.
The spindly fellow on the left is Rem Krassilnikov, the "Silver Fox of Tchaikovsky Street" who later headed the Second Chief Directorate responsible for operations against foreigners within the Soviet Union. This usually meant following the comically inept members of the British security service, MI6 as they blundered about Moscow. Rem was a hardline commie, much like the Mayor of London today, in fact. Rem is short for "Revolutsky Mir" - World Revolution. His lady wife's name was Ninel - which is Lenin spelled backwards.
On the right, with the slightly bourgeois hair-do is the legendary Viktor Cherkashin. He is the man who recruited famous turncoats Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. The picture comes from his excellent book Memoir of a KGB Officer. They may have lost the Cold War but the Russians write the best memoirs.
The picture is used without permission - Viktor if you're reading this, I'd love to meet you and chat sometime .... but let me make the tea, ok!
One can only speculate what may have caught Viktor and Rem's attention on this occasion. Perhaps the entrance of a sultry dancing girl - or given that it's Beirut, an easily blackmailed British Politician, in search of young boys, perhaps?