Small Wars Journal


Milton Bearden's Requiem for a Russian Spy

Wed, 06/27/2012 - 7:45am

In an article in Foreign Policy, Milton Bearden, former CIA case officer and station chief in Pakistan from 1986-1989 during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, writes a requiem for the spy that was his Karla.

On the second-to-last day of March, Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin, the former head of the KGB's foreign intelligence arm and chairman of the KGB -- for a single day in the turmoil of the August 1991 coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev -- died in his central Moscow apartment, apparently taking his own life. ...

His death marks the end of an era, the passing of one of the most thoughtful, cultured, and effective leaders of the redoubtable Cold War KGB. He was a master spy, a central figure in the tumultuous half-century contest between the CIA and the KGB, and a true believer in the Soviet dream until the very end. He never wavered; he never apologized.