Spy Vicky Pelaez to write newspaper column in Russia: report

5th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Peruvian-born journalist Vicky Pelaez, convicted last year as a member of a Russian spy ring by a US court, resurfaced in Moscow on Friday, describing her experiences and announcing plans to write a newspaper column.

The RIA Novosti news agency published a first-person account by Pelaez and said she has been commissioned to write a regular column for The Moscow News, an English-language newspaper that is part of the same agency.

Pelaez and her husband were among 10 convicted agents deported to Russia in summer 2010 in a high-profile spy swap. All have since lain low except Anna Chapman, who hosts a television show and has posed for a men's magazine.

In her account, Pelaez called herself an "accidental victim," insisting that she only found out at the trial that her husband had been recruited by Soviet secret services.

Extraordinarily, Pelaez has maintained that she never knew that her husband, who went by the name Juan Lazaro, was in fact a Russian named Mikhail Vasenkov.

"At the strange, brief and unfair trial, lasting less than half an hour, I learnt that my husband and the father of my son, with whom I had lived 30 years, was a former agent of Soviet special services," she wrote.

"I was an absolutely accidental victim, since I had never known about my husband's line of activities," she insisted in her account, translated into Russian.

Since moving to Russia she had learnt more about her husband, she wrote, saying he had been viewed as a hero in the Soviet Union but was disappointed by what he saw in Russia today.

"He was a hero for the Soviet Union, who left his father's home very young and since then had never seen his parents, brother or other loved ones," she wrote, adding she saw his "sadness at how much everything here has changed."

© 2011 AFP

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