Monday, April 7, 2008

S(he) M(aybe) E(arliest) R(ussian) S(py) H(ero) - B. Badenov

Russia’s oldest counter-intelligence officer is 100 years young. And although she's long retired, Maria Lyovina is still barred from revealing sensitive details about her work in the past.

She may not look like your archetypal secret agent but Maria Lyovina was catching spies long before the world had ever heard of James Bond.

A great grandmother three times over, her Ulanovsk flat is filled with family photographs. One is a striking image of the young woman German agents came to fear.

Maria was working as a secretary in a Leningrad factory when the Soviet Union entered the Second World War.

She was recruited by Army officers looking for an experienced typist.

She joined SMERSH, a counter intelligence group dedicated to catching traitors and undercover Germans. Its name literally meant ‘death to spies’. (more) (video)