Putin was a 'small fish' as a KGB spy

26th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 October 2004 , BERLIN - One of the big mysteries about Russian President Vladimir Putin's past is what he did during the five years as a KGB agent in former communist East Germany. The answer, in report to be published on Thursday, is: Not much. "Putin was a small fish as KGB agent," says the German political magazine Cicero in an article made available in advance to reporters. The magazine quotes a number of former KGB spies who worked with Putin as well as former East German Stasi spy chief Markus Wo

26 October 2004  

BERLIN - One of the big mysteries about Russian President Vladimir Putin's past is what he did during the five years as a KGB agent in former communist East Germany.

The answer, in report to be published on Thursday, is: Not much.

"Putin was a small fish as KGB agent," says the German political magazine Cicero in an article made available in advance to reporters.

The magazine quotes a number of former KGB spies who worked with Putin as well as former East German Stasi spy chief Markus Wolf to reach this conclusion.

Wolf concludes that Putin was "pretty marginal" while serving the KGB in the city of Dresden from 1985 to 1990.

This is shown by the fact that Putin was only awarded the East Germany National People's Army bronze medal for his work, says Wolf, who noted that even "cleaning ladies" got this award.

A former KGB man, Vladimir Uzzolzev, who worked with Putin in Dresden, is quoted as saying the spies spent most of their time writing "senseless reports" and administering huge collections of files.

Putin's main job was to try to recruit East Germans - and above all students from developing countries - to serve as spies in West Germany, he says.

Uzzoloev is quoted by the report as saying Putin only recruited two spies during his entire five years in Dresden.

One of these, an East German named Klaus Zaunick, turned out to be a "ticking timebomb" for the KGB, notes Cicero. He was nabbed by German counter-intelligence after the 1990 reunification and betrayed at least 15 KGB agents including most of those serving with the agency's Dresden unit, the report says.

Putin himself has said little about his years in Dresden during which learned excellent German which he has helped him to forge close ties with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

In a series of interviews, the Russian president has described how he liked to go hiking in a hilly region named "Saxony-Switzerland" along the Elbe River.

He also admits that the Dresden region's excellent beer caused him to gain 12 kilos during his time in the city and that he was drinking about four litres of beer a week.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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