Why the Traitor George Blake Turned from Marxism to God

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), July 16, 2000 | Go to article overview

Why the Traitor George Blake Turned from Marxism to God


Byline: IAN THOMAS

As he stands devoutly beside a priest in a Russian Orthodox church, Britain's most notorious Cold War traitor wants the world to believe that he has discovered religion and inner peace amid the ruins of his former Communist creed.

At 77, the bearded George Blake has lived in Moscow since dramatically escaping from Wormwood Scrubs - and a record 42-year sentence at the Old Bailey for spying - in 1966.

But only now, almost a decade after Communism, his ideological fixation, collapsed, has he admitted to finding new truths - or anyway to rediscovering old ones.

His announcement last week on a Russian TV documentary, Top Secret, that he is now embracing God will be seen by some as a welcome, if belated, atonement for his sins by Blake, who arguably handed over more damaging information to the Russians than any of the other celebrated Cold War spies spawned by Britain.

But with Blake, everything is more complicated than it looks, for, instead of begging forgiveness, he now tries to justify his previous actions as a double agent - whose treachery sent many to early deaths by KGB executioners - in terms of religion. His view, conveniently enough, is that all Man's actions are guided from above.

'I believe everything is preordained,' he has said. 'Had I not studied Russian at Cambridge, I never would have been here. Life cannot be lived in any other way than it is lived.' Luckily for him, this means he can justify all the twists of an extraordinary life that took him from being a Dutch refugee given a haven in London to a prisoner of war in Korea who saw the light of Communism after reading Marx, but who went back to work at the heart of British intelligence, all the time spilling everything he could about his adopted country to his real masters in Moscow.

There is no doubting the daring of Blake's flight from Wormwood Scrubs, achieved with the help of two peace activists and, significantly it now seems, an Anglican vicar, the Rev John Papworth, who provided a safe house before he fled to East Berlin and Moscow. But even that was meant to happen, in the latest version of history according to Blake.

'I think it was destined that I had to escape,' he said on last week's documentary.

'By whom?' he was asked. 'God or Marx?' 'No, not by Marx. By whatever it is that moves the universe.' 'And what moves the universe?' 'I can tell you after I die.' Such thoughts would have been sacrilege had he voiced them in Soviet times when Marx and Lenin were the only high priests. He would have been turned back at the Berlin Wall, a kind of atheist Pearly Gates at the Communist citadel, when he sneaked across in 1966, instead of being given a warm welcome, a Moscow flat and privileged country house by his proud KGB controllers.

But Russia, where Blake survives on a modest KGB pension of several hundred pounds a month, has changed and so has he. Incredibly, his espionage and betrayal is all now linked in his mind directly to God. 'I had lost my faith,' he said of his time after being taken prisoner by the Communists in Korea. The Calvinism imbued by his Dutch mother had deserted him. 'I could not any longer be the same believing Christian and my philosophy became a vacuum.' But then he discovered a new faith at the hands of his captors, who gave him Das Kapital to read. 'I regarded Communism as an endeavour to create a reign of God on Earth,' he said. 'Many Christian ideals were still dear to me, they are dear to me even now, especially the church's idea to create God's reign on Earth

by means of praying and sermon. But the Communist solution out of that was that everything could be reached by taking action.' And it is not just his own spying he now sees in pseudo-religious terms.

Recently he spoke of Melita Norwood, the great-grandmother unmasked as a KGB spy at 87, as 'practically a saint'.

Blake recalled that as a British agent in the Far East he came to the conclusion that he was fighting on the wrong side. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why the Traitor George Blake Turned from Marxism to God
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.