Harold Adrian Russell (Kim) Philby was born in 1912 in India to an Arabist family. From 1934 he worked for Soviet intelligence and was a member of the so-called "Cambridge Five". At the same time, Philby was one of the leaders of British counterintelligence (MI6). After the war, he led the British residency in Istanbul, then the MI6 mission in Washington, and established personal contacts with the leadership of the CIA and the FBI. Thanks to Philby, top secret information was put on the table for Stalin and then Khrushchev, and according to British researchers, his espionage activities cost the lives of several British agents.
In 1963, Philby was transferred to Moscow, and later he served as a freelance adviser to the PGU KGB. For special merits, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU awarded the defector with the Orders of Lenin, the Red Star, and at that time he was given a luxurious apartment in Trekhprudny Lane, house 6, with a total area of 123.1 sq. M. (Now the cost of the apartment is estimated at 70 million rubles).
In this four-room apartment, Philby held seminars and passed on the wisdom of spy work to the younger generation of illegal immigrants from the KGB: “Philby immediately (or after preliminary preparation at home) proposed various operational situations with their subsequent analysis. Here he is - an agent of British counterintelligence, trying to find out from a Soviet diplomat who had just arrived in the country his true departmental affiliation. In the following situation, the Teacher was transformed into a representative of official communication, throwing a “blind” golden grain of valuable information during the conversation, which the operative should notice and “unwind”. By the end of each lesson, sweat rolled down three streams from the pupils, ”recalled one of the“ seminarians ”Mikhail Bogdanov, who was expelled from England in the late eighties for espionage.
Following the results of the classes, Philby sent reports to the leadership of the PGU KGB and gave characteristics to future illegal immigrants. So, for example, he put “unsuccessful” to Valery Kislov, who was sent to Copenhagen as a deputy resident of the KGB: “Unpredictable. Subject to emotional outbursts. Philby was not listened to, but in vain, already in Denmark, Kislov fell in love with a married woman and, instead of performing operational tasks, stood idle for hours under her windows in an embassy car and even sang love arias at night. In the end, the lady's neighbors complained to the Soviet embassy and Don Juan in uniform was urgently recalled to his homeland.
Philby died in 1988 after a deep depression, when Gorbachev's perestroika was in full swing in the country (according to other sources, he committed suicide). After the death of her husband, Rufa Pukhova was left practically without a livelihood and was forced to sell his personal belongings. The main buyers of spy "artifacts" were Philby's students, who jokingly call themselves "philbophiles". The main backbone of philbophiles are: the former Secretary of State of the Union State of Russia-Belarus Grigory Rapota (in the 80s he worked in the residencies of the PGU KGB in Sweden and Finland), Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Rossiyskaya Gazeta Nikolai Dolgopolov (spying in France), head of the investment fund Pangeo Capital Yury Kudimov, who previously worked undercover as a Novoye Vremya journalist in Mexico City, Alexander Korsik , a former “diplomat” from the USSR Embassy in London (until 2016 served as chairman of the board of Bashneft), Vladimir Chernov , ex-employee of the Finnish residency of the PGU KGB, from 2012 to 2021, head of the presidential department for cultural relations with neighboring countries, retired general of the Foreign Intelligence Service and co-host of Ekho Moskvy Yuri Kobaladze, expelled from England for espionage the writer Mikhail Lyubimov and the aforementioned "journalist" Mikhail Bogdanov, who was on the British non-grata list.
In 2008, Rufa Pukhova offered to transfer the apartment to the balance of the SVR, since she could not pay utility bills and buy medicines from her small pension. In return, the widow set two conditions: material assistance for the rest of her life and the removal of the arrest from Philby's bank account in London, which contained £ 10 thousand. Kobaladze, who had previously worked undercover as a journalist in London, took up the solution to the banking problem. However, the former "roofer" failed to get the money out.
The widow's request to transfer the apartment to the balance sheet of the Foreign Intelligence Service was passed on to Vladimir Putin, but he did not react in any way. And the then director of foreign intelligence, Mikhail Fradkov, said that he was not interested in this option. As a result, the offended Pukhova bequeathed the apartment to her brother Konstantin. But soon he died and his wife, 70-year-old Natalya Pukhova, became the heiress.
In 2019, it became known that Rufa had an oncological disease and she would not last long. Philby's students began to feverishly decide what to do with the apartment and property. Of particular value, in addition to the apartment itself, were the library, including the History of the Crimean War, published in 1850, and rare books stolen by the Cambridge Five from the famous library of Trinity College in Dublin. In addition, the apartment contained a Piranesi engraving, 17th-century Spanish furniture, antique handmade Persian carpets, paintings, icons, gifts from the East German Stasi intelligence and the Bulgarian KGB, a photograph autographed by Che Guevara, and even a hockey puck caught by Philby at a tournament. "Izvestia - 78" (the full list is available in The Insider).
The opinions of the students were divided: some suggested persuading Rufus to rewrite the will in favor of one of the philobophiles, and then equip something like a private museum in the apartment. Others feared that after the death of the widow, the heiress Natalya would sell the property to anyone, and offered to hold a closed auction among themselves: “ Only without the participation of “onlookers”, the press and random passengers. We can easily cope with this by inviting as an auctioneer a "third party" acceptable to the participants, who does not have "side" interests. Rules - in the most general and abbreviated form - we are able to establish ourselves. To honestly estimate the starting prices of items from the mentioned list - I’m not even sure whether it’s even worth coordinating them (prices) with Rufina - there is a danger that she will confuse everything, ”wrote SVR General Vladimir Chernov to Bogdanov.
“Yes, that's right, it's all about money - who is ready to pay the market value and donate part of the money to Rufina for existence? By the way, the full market value is not at all necessary - any tidy sum in the region of 10-15 million (or even less) would be attractive to Natalia. In the last recent conversation with Rufina, there was just such a subtext: “provide for Natalia some kind of worthy“ payback option ”, and then I will talk to her. It must be understood that Natalya is a simple, unpretentious woman, accustomed to living in a small apartment in a residential area on a pittance. Her only concern is her teenage granddaughter, for whom a dowry of several million is the ultimate happiness, ”Bogdanov answered Chernov.
In addition to philobophiles, the Military University of the Ministry of Defense (VUMO) and a couple of metropolitan museums expressed interest in acquiring personal belongings of the Soviet supermole. However, all plans were violated by the general director of the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies (INVISSIN), Veronika Krasheninnikova , who appeared in Philby's apartment and, referring to the instructions of the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, conducted an audit of all property.
“It became clear to everyone that with the advent of this lady, the creation of the Philby Museum can no longer be discussed,” an employee of one of the museums told The Insider, who asked not to mention his name. - To be honest, it was a pity to look at the students of the famous intelligence officer. They had just been arguing over who would get the radio and a set of tubes, and now they were staring blankly at each other.
Krasheninnikova, who came from the provincial Cherepovets and made a dizzying career in the capital, needs special mention: in her biography she indicated that she graduated from the Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute, then studied at the Sorbonne and the Paris Institute of Political Sciences. In 1996-1997, Krasheninnikova worked at the UN office in Geneva, and from the beginning of the 2000s she was a member of the leadership of the US-CIS Council for Trade and Economic Cooperation (STEC) and was a representative of the Russkiy Mir Foundation in North America (both organizations served as a "roof" for career officers of the Foreign Intelligence Service). In 2011, she headed INVISSIN, which receives presidential grants. In 2008, Krasheninnikova brought for the first time from the United States to Russia Professor Alfred Ross, known for his publications about the danger of the "orange revolutions" and the subversive activities of American NGOs in the CIS countries.
In January 2012, Krasheninnikova initiated the adoption of a law on NGOs acting as foreign agents, and Putin, by a special decree, included her in the Public Chamber and instructed her to develop a bill. In the same year, the law on foreign agents was adopted by the State Duma, and Krasheninnikova moved to the chair of Dmitry Kiselev, adviser to the general director of the Rossiya Segodnya MIA, and at the same time became a political consultant to the editor-in-chief of Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan. Subsequently, she joined the leadership of United Russia, published several books about the intrigues of the CIA and the State Department in Russia, and writes columns in the pro-Kremlin media.
In August of this year, the Director General of INVISSIN, together with the generals from the Ministry of Defense, sat on the presidium of the International Anti-Fascist Congress at the Ministry of Defense and made a report on the topic: “Nazism in the modern world, the reasons for its existence, forms of manifestation, development trends”, and also told those present how the “ post-war reloading of the Third Reich into the US and NATO intelligence apparatus.
As you can see, anti-Western "horror stories" bring good dividends to Krasheninnikova: according to the address base of Moscow, she owns a 5-room apartment not far from the Kremlin at number 9 on Tverskaya Street, where famous academicians, creators of atomic weapons and eminent marshals lived in Soviet times. The approximate cost of this apartment is 200 million rubles. Another 3-room apartment of Krasheninnikova is located in the house of the Moscow Art Theater actors in Glinishevsky Lane (80 sq m, 60 million rubles). Krasheninnikova drives around in an XF Jaguar, worth about 6 million rubles. At the same time, work at INVISSIN, where she is listed as the CEO, does not bring much income, and over the past 2 years there has been no revenue at all.
The Insider asked what kind of mysterious hand pulled Krasheninnikova up the career ladder? Immediately, two sources in the Foreign Ministry told us that this lady worked in the United States through the political intelligence of the Foreign Intelligence Service, and among her main operational tasks was to establish contacts in American business circles. And another diplomat in uniform told other curious details: “In the Forest <the headquarters of the Foreign Intelligence Service in Yasenevo - The Insider> it is no secret that Veronika Yuryevna and Sergey Evgenievich (Naryshkin) developed a special and warm relationship. It has long been noticed where our beautiful Veronika appears, which means that there is a great interest of our leadership.”
On May 17, 2021, Rufa Puchova-Philby passed away. She survived her husband by 33 years. After her funeral, 54 items from the list compiled by Krasheninnikova were transferred to the Foreign Intelligence Museum in Yasenevo. Including Philby's set of smoking pipes, the Festival radio, on which he listened to "enemy voices", a briefcase and a hockey puck. The ceremony was attended by the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, Krasheninnikova herself, and philobophile Mikhail Bogdanov.
“For us, this is, of course, an expensive gift. Veterans and current employees of the Foreign Intelligence Service cherish the memory of this outstanding person, the legendary Soviet intelligence officer, ”said Naryshkin, pleased with his solemn speech.
At the same time, it remained a mystery who got the antique furniture, Persian carpets, the "History of the Crimean War" and rare books stolen from the library in Dublin. The editors sent questions to the same granddaughter Natalia, which was mentioned by philbophiles. At first, the girl agreed to answer our questions, but then she stopped communicating. In the meantime, as The Insider found out, a whole line of people who want to buy the famous apartment has already lined up. Veronika Krasheninnikova also declined to respond to requests from The Insider.