Moscow names ‘Kim Philby Square’ to honor British defector

Kim Philby, who died in Moscow in 1988, was perhaps the best-known member of the notorious spy ring, the Cambridge Five. (Getty Images)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Moscow names ‘Kim Philby Square’ to honor British defector

  • Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered that an intersection in a southwestern district be renamed Kim Philby Square
  • Move comes as relations between London and Moscow have plunged to Cold War-era lows

MOSCOW: Moscow this week named a square after Kim Philby, the British double agent who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963, near the headquarters of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.

The move comes as relations between London and Moscow have plunged to Cold War-era lows over the poisoning of the former double-agent Sergei Skripal in England, allegedly by Russian spies.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered that an intersection in a southwestern district be renamed “Kim Philby Square,” according to a decree carried on the local government website on Tuesday.

A city hall spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment on the decision, while local residents expressed surprise on social networks, saying Philby never had anything to do with the neighborhood.

Philby, who died in Moscow in 1988, was perhaps the best-known member of the notorious spy ring, the Cambridge Five, a group of British establishment figures who were recruited to work for the Soviets.

Considered Britain’s biggest Cold War traitor, Philby was a senior MI6 officer. He was exposed in 1963 after passing information to Moscow over three decades.

After his defection Philby lived in central Moscow, far from the windswept intersection in a relatively new part of the city that is almost exclusively made up of residential towers.

The square is however close to the sprawling campus of the SVR, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.

The agency has maintained Philby’s legacy, with a page on its website dedicated to him and the intelligence he provided during World War II.

SVR director Sergei Naryshkin last year spoke at an event to mark the unveiling of a portrait of Philby at a gallery in Moscow.

Intelligence veterans suggested at that event that a street should be named after the defector because he enjoyed walking around the city.

But several residents of Yasenevo district said on a neighborhood Facebook group they had no idea who he was and wondered if Moscow had run out of names of Russian writers to use.

“They should have named the ramp leading to their campus after him instead,” wrote user Katerina Reatsea, referring to the intelligence agency.


Rare footage of Brazil tribe threatened by loggers: activists

Grab of a video shot by Midia India on August 2018 and released by Survival International activits of a purportedly uncontacted member of a Brazilian indigenous tribe hunting in the Amazon rainforest near Sao Luis, Maranhao, Brazil. (AFP)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Rare footage of Brazil tribe threatened by loggers: activists

  • Since taking office in January, Bolsonaro has been accused of harming the Amazon rainforest and indigenous peoples in order to benefit loggers, miners and farmers who helped get him elected

RIO DE JANEIRO: Rare footage of purportedly uncontacted members of a Brazilian indigenous tribe hunting in the Amazon rainforest was released Monday by activists who warn the group could be wiped out by logging.
The 58-second clip filmed in the northern state of Maranhao shows members of the Awa tribe, which Survival International says has been frequently attacked by loggers who have been emboldened by pro-business President Jair Bolsonaro.
“Only a global outcry stands between them and genocide,” said Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, which published the video that had been shot by a member of neighboring indigenous tribe Guajajara. The footage was shot in August, the NGO said.
“Loggers have already killed many of their relatives and forced others out of the forest.
“President Bolsonaro and his friends in the logging industry would like nothing more than for those who still survive to be eliminated.”
In the footage, a young man holding a machete in the rainforest appears to sniff the blade before he looks toward the person filming him. Seconds later he and other members of the tribe carrying spears run away.
“We didn’t have the Awa’s permission to film, but we know that it’s important to use these images because if we don’t show them around the world, the Awa will be killed by loggers,” said Erisvan Guajajara of Midia India, an indigenous film-making association.
Members of the Guajajara tribe belong to the Guardians of the Amazon group, which aims to protect isolated indigenous people.
While most Awa have been contacted, some are known to still live uncontacted in an area of rainforest that is being “rapidly destroyed,” Survival International said.
Since taking office in January, Bolsonaro has been accused of harming the Amazon rainforest and indigenous peoples in order to benefit loggers, miners and farmers who helped get him elected.
Bolsonaro, whose anti-environment rhetoric has included a pledge to end “Shiite ecologist activism,” has questioned the latest official figures showing deforestation increased 88 percent in June compared with the same period last year.
He uses the word “Shiite” as a synonym for radicalism rather than denoting a branch of Islam.
“We are experiencing a real environmental psychosis,” Bolsonaro said Sunday.
Bolsonaro also accused foreign journalists Friday of wanting Brazil’s estimated 800,000 indigenous people to remain in a “prehistoric state, without access to technology, science and the thousand wonders of modernity.”