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British double agent who spied for USSR says he's still a socialist

FILE -- George Blake, a former British spy and double agent in service of the Soviet Union, seen in Moscow in this Nov. 15, 2006 file photo.
AP Photo
He said he hopes the fall of the Soviet Union was just a momentary setback on path to socialism

British double agent George Blake, who spied for the KGB then fled to Moscow after his cover was blown, said he still believed in the socialist cause as he turned 95 on Saturday.

"If I didn't believe in it I'd be dead already," Blake said in an interview broadcast on Russian state television.

"Perhaps it's the end of my life, but it's not the end of the road that humanity must travel to reach the ideals of a socialist society," added Blake, who fled to Russia after escaping in 1966 from a British jail while serving a 42-year jail term for passing secrets to the KGB. 

In the interview he said he hoped the demise of the Soviet Union more than a quarter of a century ago was merely a "momentary step on a long road leading to true socialism."

"For the moment, people here as in the West are not ready for a doctrine which asks so much of someone," Blake added.

After being captured by North Korean forces in the Korean War Blake offered to spy for the Soviet Union after seeing US planes bomb civilians.

One of few survivors of Cold War-era spy intrigue, Blake passed on the names of scores of agents and also revealed the existence of a secret tunnel in East Berlin which Western agents used to tap enemy telephone lines.

After being outed by a Polish double agent, Blake was jailed in 1961 but managed to escape with the help of an Irish criminal and two men jailed for helping to organize anti-nuclear demonstrations.

They helped smuggle him as far as the border with the former East Germany from where he continued on to Moscow.

On reaching 95 he declared his age "a lot for a person and yet very little for the history of humanity" and said he had "not regretted for a moment" his past life, adding he was looking to the future "with optimism."

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