Notorious Russian Spies Throughout History

Notorious - Russian Spies Through History From the Soviet era on, organized clandestine agents from the Motherland have operated in the west with daring and inguinity
Walter Sanders / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

Rudolf Abel
Famed "illegal" Abel operated in the U.S. from 1947 until 1957, when he was uncovered during the defection of his assistant, Reino Häyhänen. Abel, whose real name was Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher, and Häyhänen used hollow coins, among other methods, to pass communications back and forth and to their handlers. Their schemes began to unravel when one of their hollow nickels containing a coded message accidentally ended up in the hands of a Brooklyn newsboy. Abel was tried and sentenced to five years' imprisonment but was exchanged in 1962 for U2 pilot Gary Powers and an American student. Upon his return to the U.S.S.R., Abel was hailed as a hero and awarded the Order of Lenin, the Soviet Union's highest honor.

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