MOSCOW, February 27 (RIA Novosti) – The adopted daughter of Soviet spy Vilyam Fisher, known in the United States by the alias Rudolf Abel, said on Wednesday she was “shocked” by media reports that the spy has a great-grandson who is now serving in the Russian army.
Rumors about Abel’s great-grandchild have long circulated in the Russian media. A national Russian TV channel recently reported that the legendary spy is survived by great-grandson Nikita Abel, a Russian military officer currently serving in Tajikistan.
“I was just shocked by what I saw. The statement that the officer shown in the footage is the great-grandson of Rudolf Abel is false,” said Lidiya Boyarskaya, Abel’s adopted daughter and his only surviving close relative. “I regret that journalists made such a mistake.”
Fisher, who illegally entered the United States in 1947 and opened an artist’s studio in Brooklyn, was arrested by the FBI in 1957 after being betrayed by his courier. He gave the name of his close friend Rudolf Abel to the FBI to let his superiors in the Soviet Union know he had been captured. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for espionage, but was later exchanged for American U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers. After his return to Moscow, Fisher continued working for the KGB and received the “Order of Lenin” award.
“My father [Col. Vilyam Fisher] had one biological daughter, Evelina, and one adopted daughter, me. I also recall the real Rudolf Abel… he had no children,” Boyarskaya said.
She said the rumors were probably triggered by Evelina’s death in 2007. According to Boyarskaya, those who had wanted to stage the hoax decided to make use of the situation, being absolutely sure that no relatives will be able to refute the rumors.
“When Evelina died, media reported that Col. Abel’s only daughter had passed away, but journalists forgot about me,” she said.
A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Ivanov, also dismissed the report as a hoax. He said Nikita Abel was the spy’s namesake, not a relative.
“One should admire Vilyam Fisher’s talent. He managed not only to deceive the FBI in 1957, but also to mislead gullible present-day journalists,” he said.