Sergei Shirnov (61) was an agent of the Soviet secret service KGB from 1984 to 1992. Called up because of his knowledge of French, he graduated from the Andropow Institute in 1984, the training center for Soviet spies. He then worked in the Moscow district of Yasenevo in the department for foreign reconnaissance, where he took care of South America. In 1990 he attended the Paris elite school ENA on behalf of the KGB; as a camouflage, he worked as a speaker for a Russian TV program. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the KGB, Shirnov gave up his agent’s work and became a television journalist and international consultant. After a poison attack, he left Russia in 2001 and received political asylum in Paris. Since then he has worked there for the French news channel LCI, among others. In May, his autobiographical book “L’éclaireur” (The Scout) was published in French by the Paris publishing house Nimrod.
Mr. Shirnov, you are one of the only Russian ex-spies who has spoken about your former activities. Why do they do that?