Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Russia-US spy swap in the works? Three famous swaps

Russia and the US reportedly are working out a deal to swap spies, according to the brother of a nuclear researcher convicted of spying in Russia. It's a tactic honed during the cold war.

(Page 2 of 2)

Francis Gary Powers was a CIA U-2 spy plane pilot shot down over Sverdlosk on May 1, 1960. He was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, including three years of hard labor, within months of his capture.

Skip to next paragraph

On Feb. 10, 1962, Powers and an American student named Frederic Pryor were swapped for Rudolph Abel at the Glienicke Bridge.

Marion Zacharski. Marion Zacharski was a Polish intelligence officer arrested in 1981 and convicted of spying on the United States. He had lived in America since 1977, allegedly working as the representative of a Polish machinery firm. His real work was bribing an employee of Hughes Aircraft to provide him with secret documents about US radar and weapons systems.

On June 12, 1985, Zacharski and three other agents were swapped at the Glienicke Bridge for a team of 23 American agents held in Eastern Europe. The US identified these agents only as “persons of interest.” This is thought to have been the largest spy exchange ever in Europe.

Natan Sharansky. On Feb. 11, 1986, the famous Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky and three other Soviet prisoners were freed at the Glienicke Bridge in exchange for the husband-and-wife Czech espionage team of Karl and Hana Koecher and three convicted spies held by the West.

Sharansky himself had been convicted of spying for the US in 1978, but maintained he had been targeted by the Kremlin due to his outspokenness about human rights violations. He was greeted at the Berlin side of the bridge by, among others, US Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt.

The article includes material from the Associated Press.

IN PICTURES: Top notorious spies


Russian spies: Three remaining mysteries

The cold war is over, so why the fascination with Russian spies?

Russian spies: Top 5 old-school espionage technologies that still work