Russian Patriarch was KGB agent, say accusers

Alexei Mikhailovich Ridiger, better known as Patriarch Alexy II of Russia, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, died in Peredelkino, Russia, on December 5, 2008. His death has been overshadowed by allegations that he was for years “a favorite of the KGB”, having been recruited by the Soviet intelligence agency in 1958, while still a junior priest in Tallinn, Estonia. British newspaper The Guardian quotes KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky, who states that Alexy “worked for the KGB for over 40 years […] and was mentioned in KGB archives under the codename Drozdov”. French press agency AFP cites Gleb Yakunin, a Soviet-era human rights activist who has examined church-related KGB files. Yakunin said that “[p]ractically all the bishops consecrated in Soviet times worked with the KGB […]. They were all informers […]. But Alexy stood out especially. He was very active in this profession”. Alexy’s funeral is to be held tomorrow in Moscow, Russia. [JF]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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