As far as spies go, they seem to have hit their deceptive peaks in the 70s and 80s, when direct surveillance wasn’t as all-encompassing and most agents had to rely on a combination of stealth, alacrity and wit to succeed at their job. Yuri Bezmenov was one such man, trained in a school in Moscow directly controlled by the KGB in the 50s with the sole purpose of infiltrating the Indian political strata and increasing the Soviet sphere of influence. 

In the 70s, Yuri was posted to New Delhi to put his training to use and follow the covert expansionist policies of the Soviets while maintaining deceptively friendly ties with the people in power in India.


However, in his own words, he fell in love with the culture and the people of India, while at the same time becoming increasingly disenchanted with the brutal, ruthless and insidious tactics of the Soviets.


He decided to defect, but knew he’d be marked for certain death if he did so, especially considering India Gandhi’s claim that no defectors would receive political asylum in India. 

Pulling a caper straight out of a movie, Yuri disguised himself as an American hippie, chillum et al, and blended right in with the rest of the flower power tribes that were passing through Goa at the time.


Completely unseen and smelling only slightly worse for the weather in his ganja-based garb, Yuri managed to get to Greece with his hippie tour group, wherein he contacted the American embassy, defected to Canada, and finally threw off those kurtas and beads he despised so much. 


Yuri passed away in 1993, under circumstances that were highly suspect. Before his death however, he did a lot to shed light on the deceitful and oftentimes cruel regime that he was born out of, including writing books, letters, doing radio broadcasts, and an especially enlightening interview in 1984, where he deconstructed the the subversive methods of the KGB.

Watch an extract of his interview below, where he talks about how he came to love India, as well as a special mention of his ‘great friend’ Indira Gandhi!

Yuri was a fascinating, many-faced enigma, with a real hatred for hippies. Basically, he was the perfect spy.