City square honour for Russian spy
Moscow has named a square in the city in honour of British double agent Kim Philby, in a seemingly provocative response to the Skripal affair.
Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, who is one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, requested an obscure intersection in the south-west of the city be renamed Kim Philby Square.
Residents were astonished the junction was being renamed after Philby when he never lived in the neighbourhood. A city hall spokesman declined to comment on the renaming.
The name change comes just weeks after the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence unit, was identified as being behind the attempted poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to smash the GRU’s power and activities.
Col Skripal, 67, was jailed in 2006 for selling secrets to MI6. He was freed in 2010 in a spy swap.
Philby is believed to have been the most successful member of the Cambridge University spy ring that betrayed MI6 and provided secret information to the Soviet Union over three decades.
Philby was recruited in the 1930s. He died in Moscow in 1988 aged 76, having been awarded the Order of Lenin in 1965.
He lived in central Moscow, far from the windswept intersection now named after him on the outskirts of the capital.