Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas was a Soviet spy in Damascus in the 1980s, Israel’s Channel 1 reports, blowing the lid off information uncovered in an archive smuggled out of the USSR.
According to reporter Oren Nahari, the famed Mitrokhin archive, kept by KGB defector Vasily Mitrokhin, reveals that Abbas was a KGB spy in Damascus in 1983.
The documents, obtained by Israeli researchers and scholars Isabela Ginor and Gideon Remez, are said to show that Abbas, who was code-named Krotov (mole), worked under Mikhail Bodganov, who was then station posted in Damascus and is now a top Russian diplomat in the Middle East.
Bogdanov was caught in a diplomatic tussle earlier this week after trying to broker a summit between Abbas and Netanyahu in Moscow, with each side saying it was willing to meet and the other side wasn’t.
It’s not clear if Abbas, who studied in university in Moscow in the 1980s, was an agent before or after his time in Damascus.
Mitrokhin’s notes are considered among the most complete information available to researchers about the KGB. He brought them to the UK in 1992 and his edited notes were released in 2014. His handwritten notes remain classified by MI5.