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Classical harpist is named as Russian spy

March 21, 2018 by norman lebrecht

13 comments.


Nina Mishchenko, one of the 23 Russian diplomats expelled from Britain for espionage, has apparently been giving harp recitals in Kensington and Richmond.

Nina, 30 and unmarried, is the only one of the expelled personnel to have no defined role.

More here.


Comments (13)

  1. Doug says:

    I left London too soon.

  2. Alexander says:

    Russia seems to have an impeccable choice for spies , that lady looks like a next Bond’s girl in the pictures 😉

    1. collin says:

      And like the Bond girls, it’s the sexiest ones that are the deadliest (although they all eventually fall for the irresistable British charm of 007). Alas, she could have been turned by a dashing British counter intelligence agent.

      1. Alexander says:

        why don’t you try to write a plot for the next Bond film? I think you will have success with such subtle insight on the subject 😉 another choice ( I read your post on a recent Covent Garden topic) – to compose the music for “Secret Doctrine” by madame Blavatsky – just imagine – some pages there are in ( sic!) 5 languages – what a gap for diverse composer’s fantasy 😉

    2. John Borstlap says:

      Probably Russian spies are trained much better nowadays, now that they have serious tasks, but in soviet times they sometimes were thorough amateurs. I was once spied upon because I had had contact with an American pianist, and the spy had taken-on the ‘disguise’ of a composer, in the way some type of Russians imagine: a big suave and very consicuous hat, a large black cape, and the mimics of a ‘great man’. He had bothered the said pianist with terrible salon pieces, without success. In the streets, in shops, in the supermarket, he followed me in the style of a mickey mouse cartoon movie, conspicuously ducking-away when I suddenly turned around. It was all very theatrical and utterly ineffective, first because I did not threaten the Russian empire and second, because the man was absolutely the Most Clumsy Member of the soviet spy farm.

      1. Antonia says:

        This was a riot to read, John! I can only imagine what it must have been like to have been the focus of this character’s “work”!

        Were you amused by it, perturbed, worried, or what?

        1. John Borstlap says:

          It was hilarious, not serious at all.

      2. Anon says:

        And how do you know he was a spy? Taking yourself a little too important? 😉 As Siegmund Freud used to say: Sometimes a crazy Russian is just a crazy Russian.

        1. John Borstlap says:

          It was this man who took himself much too seriously, and his attempts to stalk this American pianist (who had no contacts whatsoever in E-Europe) in a small European village said it all.

    3. Dave says:

      Beware a lady with a harp. Those strings can be turned into lethal weapons – and she probably has another hidden in her watch.

      And as a Bond girl she’d have to be more convincing than that phoney cellist in The Living Daylights.

      1. Alexander says:

        beware the ladies with harps for they can be harpies 😉 … any way thanks all I laughed a lot 😉

  3. MARIE says:

    It’s a good story. Is it worth remembering that’s it’s just a story? (source: The Sun and The Mirror)

    the reality is probably that this girl has been employed to play the harp at the Russian embassy, made herself a life here and sees her world collapse, having to leave everything in 7 days, through no fault of her own.

    But she’s gorgeous and The Sun’s story makes a better plot for sure!

  4. YoYo Mama says:

    It just goes to prove, harpies are not angels. They can be spies, molesters, thieves, backstabbers, under that veneer of false prettiness. I mean, pettiness.


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