Boris Yuzhin

 

 

CIA code: Twine

Yuzhin was a KGB lieutenant colonel. 

He photographed internal KGB reports detailing recruitment efforts in California and what technical information the KGB was trying to steal. 

Yuzhin was one of the 3 agents betrayed by Hanssen.

Yuzhin began his career as a semiconductor engineer in Eastern Siberia. Multilingual and an active Young Communist, Yuzhin was an attractive candidate when the KGB came calling in 1967.

In 1975, Yuzhin was one of 50 Russian scientists chosen to travel to the United States as part of an exchange. Yuzhin ended up at the University of California-Berkeley, where he dug around for KGB recruits.

He learned quickly that the Americans, patriotic to the core, were very tough to recruit. He loved the free speech found on the campus and read books in the library written by Russian dissidents.

Eventually, he decided to contact the FBI. He met with the agent in a hotel room. As Yuzhin confessed that he was a KGB officer, the FBI agent fiddled with the TV, which wasn't working. Yuzhin later found out that the FBI had placed a video camera inside.

Yuzhin, did not want to defect but said he was much more interested in changing the system from the inside. He went back to Moscow as an American double agent.

The KGB sent him back to San Francisco in 1978, where he stayed for four years, working undercover as a correspondent for a Russian news service.

After his return to Moscow in 1982, Yuzhin slowly grew suspicious that he was being investigated. He spotted KGB officers following him and trying to take his picture with a secret camera.

As it turned out, former FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen, working as a Russian spy, had turned Yuzhin and two colleagues in to the KGB in 1985. Yuzhin was arrested and interrogated on and off for 10 months without seeing a lawyer or having any contact with his family. His trial in 1987 lasted two days. He was quickly found guilty.

He felt for sure the firing squad awaited. A good guess, as the other two double agents Hanssen turned in were executed. Instead, Yuzhin received a 15-year prison sentence. He spent time in a gulag, or Russian labor camp.

After five years, he was freed by then-President Boris Yeltsin in 1992 as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners.

He is now living in America.

Boris Yuzhin worked on the project to find lost political prisoners in the Gulag system in Russia. 

 

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