Yuri Shvets

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Yuri Shvets
Yuri Borysovych Shvets

(1952-05-16) 16 May 1952 (age 68)
Alma materPatrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University
Academy of Foreign Intelligence
Espionage activity
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service years1980–1990

Yuri Borysovych Shvets (Russian: Юрий Борисович Швец, Ukrainian: Юрій Борисович Швець, born 16 May 1952) was a Major in the KGB between 1980 and 1990. From April 1985 to 1987 he worked in the Washington, D.C. Rezidentura of the First Chief Directorate.[1] While there, he held a cover job as a correspondent for TASS, a Soviet state-owned news agency.[2]


Shvets graduated in International Law from the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University (now the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia). He also graduated from the Academy of Foreign Intelligence,[3] where he studied alongside Vladimir Putin.

Shvets recruited two key sources of political intelligence whom he referred to as "Sputnitsa", a journalist working in Washington, and "Socrates", a former aide to President Jimmy Carter with strong ties to Greece. In his 2005 book Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer, Victor Cherkashin alleges that "Socrates" was John Helmer[4] and Sputnitsa the late New Statesman journalist Claudia Wright.[5] However, Cherkashin also claims that contrary to Shvets' assertions, Helmer was "never an agent or even a target" of the KGB.

Move to America[edit]

After publishing a book describing his exploits and ultimate falling out with the KGB, Shvets was banned from foreign travel. In 1993, he moved permanently to the United States, where he later gained citizenship.[2]

In 2006, Shvets emerged as a potentially key witness in the poisoning of ex-Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko. In an interview with the BBC, broadcast on 16 December 2006, Shvets said that he and Litvinenko had compiled a report investigating the activities of senior Kremlin officials on behalf of a British company looking to invest "dozens of millions of dollars" in a project in Russia. Shvets said the dossier was so incriminating about one senior Kremlin official, who was not named, it was likely that Litvinenko was murdered in revenge. He alleged that Litvinenko had shown the dossier to another business associate, Andrei Lugovoi, who had worked for the KGB and later the FSB. Shvets alleged that Lugovoi was still an FSB informant and he had passed the dossier to members of the spy service. Shvets says he was interviewed about his allegations by Scotland Yard detectives investigating Litvinenko's murder.

Shvets was a key source for the book American Kompromat by Craig Unger.[2]


  1. ^ "Book Discussion on Washington Station: My Life as a KGB Spy". C-SPAN. 14 April 1995. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Smith, David (29 January 2021). "'The perfect target': Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  3. ^ Dvali, Natalia (28 April 2015). "Сокурсник Путина, экс-разведчик КГБ: Вы серьезно думаете, что Путин, делающий подтяжку лица, развяжет ядерную войну? У него от страха ботокс потечет" [Putin's classmate, ex-KGB spy: Do you seriously think that Putin doing a facelift will unleash a nuclear war? He will have botox flow from fear]. Gordon (in Russian). Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  4. ^ Wick, Daniel L. (12 March 1995). "Another Ex-KGB Spy Spills the Beans / Yuri B. Shvets claims he recruited a former Carter adviser". SFGate. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  5. ^ Feifer, Gregory; Evans, Michael (3 January 2005). "MI6 double agent was 'betrayed by a journalist'". The Times. News UK. Retrieved 28 January 2007.

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