|Is||Writer Diplomat Military personnel Soldier Army scout Playwright Journalist Opinion journalist|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism Literature Military Politics|
|Birth||27 May 1934, Dnipro, Ukraine|
Mikhail Petrovich Lyubimov (Russian: Михаи́л Петро́вич Люби́мов; born 27 May 1934) is a Russian novelist and retired colonel in the KGB. He served as spymaster and head of the KGB stations in the United Kingdom and Denmark during the Cold War.
Early life and family
Lyubimov was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR. His father, Pyotr Fyodorovich Lyubimov, joined the Cheka-OGPU in 1918. In 1938, he was arrested during the Great Purge but released, and returned to military intelligence in the Carpathian and Volga Military Districts.
Lyubimov graduated from high school in Kuybyshev (now Samara) in 1952. He then attended the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, graduating in 1958. He wrote a doctoral thesis titled English National Character and Its Use in Operational Work.
After his graduation, Lyubimov was sent to Finland to work at the Soviet embassy's consulate office. In 1959, he was recruited into First Chief Directorate of the KGB. Two years later Lyubimov went to the United Kingdom, where he worked in the Soviet residency in London as Second Secretary of the Embassy, he was an ordinary field officer.
Lyubimov worked under the guise of being the press attaché, allowing him to associate socially with the British elite and political officials. He was dubbed "Smiley Mike" by his British counterparts. In 1964, Lyubimov's cover was blown in a failed attempt to recruit a cipher machine operator to spy for the Soviets. The British tried to recruit him, he refused, was declared persona non grata and was recalled to Moscow, where he continued as spymaster of the British section.
Lyubimov was next sent to Copenhagen, Denmark from 1967 to 1969. In 1974, he became Deputy Chief of the Anglo-Scandinavian Department. At that time he worked closely with Kim Philby.
In 1976, he was sent back to Copenhagen, where he corresponded by mail with Philby. The collection of their letters is now archived at Georgetown University. After four years in Denmark, he returned home to Moscow and retired from the KGB in 1980.
Lyubimov's first book was The Life and Adventures of Alex Wilkie, Spy in 1989, about a Russian agent in London trying to trying to find a mole leaking intelligence to the Americans. A 2015 Russian film directed by Vladimir Bortko, Soul of a Spy, was adapted from it.
His experiences helped him contribute to The KGB Guidebook to Cities of the World, a collection of stories and humorous anecdotes from seven retired KGB agents. The book was so popular a second volume was published.
Lyubimov has been married three times. His son, Alexander, is a well-known television presenter.