Interview with a Soviet Spymaster

Espionage History Archive

KGB Maj. Gen. Yuri Ivanovich Drozdov is known as a “living legend” of Soviet intelligence. Having himself operated as an illegal under German identities, Drozdov worked as the KGB resident in China and the United States before eventually becoming the head of Directorate S, the famed illegals, where he also founded the special commando unit Vympel. The following interview was conducted in September of 2010 on the occasion of his 85th birthday.


Yuri Ivanovich, first of all, thank you for sending your new book Operation President: From Cold War to Reset. I came to congratulate you on your 85th birthday, and as before, you’re at work.

My wife is still trying to convince me: “Enough, quit.” And I constantly answer the truth: if I leave, I’ll die. As previously I’m directing the independent consulting and marketing agency Namakon. And I write books.

Serious ones, concerning history, politics…

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