Double Agent, Turning 90, Says, ‘I Am a Happy Person’

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MOSCOW — The 90th birthday of a double agent from the height of the cold war has been made the occasion for extensive celebration in Russia, with a documentary film, a rare newspaper interview stressing his happy retirement in Russia and a personal birthday greeting on Sunday from President Vladimir V. Putin.

The spy, George Blake, betrayed British intelligence starting in the 1950s; he was found out in 1961 and sentenced to 42 years in prison. But he escaped five years later using a ladder of rope and knitting needles, made his way to the Soviet Union and has been living out his last years serenely in a cottage outside Moscow.

His story contrasts sharply with those of other Russian moles in British intelligence from around the same time, most notably Kim Philby, who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963. Mr. Philby was said to suffer from depression and alcoholism afterward, which some said stemmed from disappointment and disillusionment with the Communist state he found there. He died in 1988....

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