Russia unveils memorial to British double agent Philby

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Russia on Thursday unveiled a memorial plaque to British double agent Kim Philby at the headquarters of the Foreign Intelligence Service in Moscow, the Echo of Moscow radio station reported.

The head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Mikhail Fradkov, unveiled the memorial to Philby at a ceremony also attended by his widow Rufina Pukhova, the radio station reported.

Philby, who died in 1988, was a decorated member of British intelligence who worked as a spy for the Soviet Union. He was exposed in 1963 as one of the so-called Cambridge Five spy ring and defected to Moscow.

A sculptural relief on the memorial depicts Philby as the two-headed Roman god Janus, architect Alexei Tikhonov, who designed the memorial with sculptor Igor Novikov, told the Echo of Moscow.

"It was quite a controversial decision -- we were very afraid about how professionals would react to it," he said.

The memorial also features a quotation from Philby saying that "I look back at the life I led as given to the service of a cause that I sincerely and passionately believe is right," Tikhonov said in Russian.

© 2010 AFP

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