At the end of 2020, Russia's Foreign Intelligence Agency reported that George Blake, the former British spy and Soviet double agent, passed away. Blake lived until the age of 98 and significantly impacted certain events during the Cold War.
During the 1950s, Blake had exposed the identities of hundreds of Western agents in Eastern Europe, according to Britain. Blake was a member of the Cambridge Five, a group of British double agents during the Cold War. Before this, though, he joined the Royal Navy and was then recruited by M16, the British Secret Intelligence Service.
Blake was later stationed in Seoul, where he was captured, and during his time in a North Korean prison, he became a Communist. After being released in 1953, Blake went back to Britain and was sent to Berlin, where he did most of his work as a double agent. When his identity as a Soviet spy was discovered in 1961, George was sentenced to 42 years at Wormwood Scrubs prison in London.
However, Blake managed to escape in 1966 with the help of some other inmates and two peace activists. He was smuggled out of Britain in a van and made it through Western Europe, crossing the Iron Curtain into East Berlin. George spent the rest of his life in the Societ Union, then Russia, where he was viewed as a hero. But not everyone in the world saw him as a knight in shining armor.
Two different views on double agent George Blake.— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) December 26, 2020
Britain sees him as a traitor.
Vladimir Putin sees him as "an outstanding professional", "courageous...his memory will remain in (Russian) hearts forever."
During an interview with Reuters in Moscow in 1991, Blake reflected on his life, sharing that he thought the world was on its way towards Communism. "I thought it could be, and I did what I could to help it, to build such a society," he said. "It has not proved possible. But I think it is a noble idea, and I think humanity will return to it."
After living an extremely influential life, George Blake is remembered by his supporters for having "a genuine love for our country," according to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.