Secret documents passed to the KGB by Kim Philby displayed in Moscow

Kim PhilbyThe life of Kim Philby, one of the Cold War’s most recognizable espionage figures, is the subject of a new exhibition that opened last week in Moscow. Items displayed at the exhibition include secret documents stolen by Philby and passed to his Soviet handlers during his three decades in the service of Soviet intelligence. While working as a senior member of British intelligence, Harold Adrian Russell Philby, known as ‘Kim’ to his friends, spied on behalf of the Soviet NKVD and KGB. His espionage lasted from about 1933 until 1963, when he secretly defected to the USSR from his home in Beirut, Lebanon. Philby’s defection sent ripples of shock across Western intelligence and is often seen as one of the most dramatic incidents of the Cold War.

Now a new exhibition in Moscow has put on display some of Philby’s personal belongings, as well as a fraction of the many classified documents he passed on to his Soviet handlers during his 30 years of espionage. Entitled “Kim Philby: His Intelligence Work and Personal Life”, the exhibition is organized by the Russian Historical Society. The majority of the new documents appear to date from 1944, by which time Philby had been working for the NKVD for over a decade. Some of the documents are cables sent by Italian, Japanese or German diplomats prior to and during World War II, which were intercepted by British intelligence. Copies of some of these intercepts, which Philby passed to Moscow, are displayed in the exhibition. One document clearly bears the English-language warning: “Top Secret. To be kept under lock and key: never to be removed from this office”. Another document appears to be part of a report that Philby produced after teaching a seminar for KGB intelligence officers about how to operate in the West. It is dated 1982, by which time Philby had been living in Russia for nearly two decades.

Philby died in the Soviet capital in 1988, aged 76, and was survived by his fourth wife, Rufina Ivanovna Pukhova, whom he met after he defected to the USSR. Pukhova attended the opening of the exhibition in Moscow last week, as did over a dozen of Philby’s students at the former KGB. Russian media reported that the director and several officials of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), one of the KGB’s successor agencies, were also present during the official opening of the exhibition.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 26 September 2017 | Permalink

4 Responses to Secret documents passed to the KGB by Kim Philby displayed in Moscow

  1. Octopus Seven says:

    And how many Russian, Chinese and other nationalities moles are still in the free at the British Secret Service nowadays ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    In 1963 the “interrogation” of Philby by a MI6 Nicholas Elliott officer who was also Philby’s FRIEND, well and truly aided and abetted Philby’s escape to Russia. The defection was far easier for MI6 and British Establishment to handle than a prolonged and deserved trial in England.

    But fortunately (for all the Western agents Philby had put to death) what goes around comes around. Philby’s final wife: “…described Philby as “disappointed in many ways” by what he found in Moscow. “He saw people suffering too much… The fault lay with the people in charge….he was struck by disappointment, brought to tears. He said, ‘Why do old people live so badly here? After all, they won the war.'” Philby drank heavily and suffered from loneliness and depression…[he] attempted suicide by slashing his wrists sometime in the 1960s.

  3. Tom McNiff says:

    Hi, I m working to offer new material on the joint U.S.-U.K. covert BGFIEND-VALUABLE project of the early 1950s. I am sure you are aware of the alleged Philby link to that largely failed effort to overturn a Communist regime. My question for you is whether this new Russian exhibit includes any English-language documents and whether such papers might address the Albanian situation of the early 1950s. Thanks for either directly replying to this question or pointing me to an online site where I might get answers to the query.

    Best wishes,

    Tom McNiff, Jr.
    Boston, MA
    tel: 617-846-3782

  4. intelNews says:

    Tom, if you look at the last part of The New York Timescoverage of the exhibition, you will see a reference to BGFIEND-VALUABLE. I hope this helps. [JF]

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