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

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.


‘Tiger King’ star loses animal park to nemesis he tried to kill

Updated 02 June 2020

‘Tiger King’ star loses animal park to nemesis he tried to kill

  • Joe Exotic’s feud with Baskin captivated millions in a Netflix documentary that became a sensation during the early stages of the lockdown
  • A judge in Oklahoma ruled that the ownership of Exotic’s 16-acre land in the state must be transferred to Baskin after a protracted legal wrangle

NEW YORK: The star of hit Netflix series “Tiger King” will have to hand over the ownership of his famous zoo to the nemesis he tried to have murdered, a court has ruled.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is in jail after he was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January for the attempted murder of Carole Baskin.
His feud with Baskin, an animal sanctuary owner, captivated millions in the Netflix documentary that became a sensation when it was released in March as America went into coronavirus lockdown.
Baskin had for years accused Exotic of abusing the animals, including tigers, in his park.
Exotic said Baskin was trying to destroy his business, and their dispute ended up in a years-long legal battle.
On Monday, a judge in Oklahoma ruled that the ownership of Exotic’s 16-acre land in the state must be transferred to Baskin, who runs Big Cat Rescue in Florida.
The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park will have to vacate the premises, “including removal of all zoo animals,” Judge Scott Palk said in the decision.
In 2013, a Florida court ordered Exotic to pay Baskin $1 million because his company had used logos and images similar to those of Big Cat Rescue.
Exotic tried to get off from paying by shielding his assets, leading to this second lawsuit, with the judge ruling in Baskin’s favor.
“Tiger King,” a seven-part documentary, was one of Netflix’s most-watched shows.
The platform announced in late April that in one month, 64 million subscribers had seen all or part of the series.
Exotic, 57, has requested a pardon from President Donald Trump.