Who: Head of Russian spy ring in the U.S.
What: The head of Russian spy network in the U.S. who allegedly betrayed and uncovered 10 other sleeper agents of his ring has been named by a Russian daily. Without giving his first name, newspaper Kommersant revealed Colonel Shcherbakov had been responsible for ‘illegal spying’ in the United States, meaning spies operating under deep cover without diplomatic immunity.
Where: The Russian spy ring had been operating in the United States for 10 years as its members adopted false identities and blended in while they tried to gather intelligence for Moscow.
When: The cover was blown in June this year. The Moscow daily published the report on Thursday, 11 November.
Why: It is still unclear why the top Russian agent defected to the Americans. Relations between U.S. and Russia received a heavy blow when the spy scandal was made public. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB spy warned traitors came to a bad end, and the informer would be left to the mercy of his own kind. “The special services live by their own laws and everyone knows what these laws are,” he said shortly after the uncovering of the scandal.
How: Daily Kommersant said Col. Shcherbakov left Russia days before the U.S. authorities announced the spy ring arrests on 28 June. The newspaper quoted a Kremlin official hinting a Russian hit squad already on a mission to eliminate him.