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Interviewer: Why did Kim and his young friends at Cambridge choose to serve the cause of the Soviet Union?
Poukhova-Philby: Because they didn't like the situation in England, in the whole Capitalistic world, that's to rich people to poor people. And they want to be in that world with the more spirit.
Interviewer: More equal?
Philby: Yes. It was a fair decision, because the first time it was in quite a different context, not now, not to like a good country, or a different country. They had a decent life, but the first time he was really happy, he saw this march of people on a demonstration. They tried to help these people and to build a different world, to build it good enough for everybody. In those times they thought the best example was the Soviet Union. They didn't know another good example. That's why they choose this way.
Interviewer: What do they imagine the Soviet Union was like? Did they see it as a far shining example?
Poukhova-Philby: I think they were disillusioned. Everybody's happy, and it's a very good society for everybody. No poverty, no people who are frightened. That's what he wanted, and he was right about it.
Interviewer: Did the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Fascism influence Kim?
Poukhova-Philby: Yes, that was the most important. He make the decision as to fight the Fascist, and he tried this; at the same time escaped to the Soviet Union, because of the country always fighting the Fascists. That's why it became the cause of contact. The Soviet Union to fight against the Fascists. He never thought about himself as a traitor to his country, because he wasn't on the same side as the Fascists.
Interviewer: I understand. So if you wanted to fight Fascism, you fought for or you joined the Soviet Union. Can you tell us how Kim was recruited by Soviet Intelligence?
Poukhova-Philby: Yes, this happens when he and his first wife left to go to London. She was a Communist and they were going to join the Communist Party of England. Then, by chance, they met one friend who just introduced them to another friend who began this serious talk. In Kim's autobiography I found he called him Otto.
Poukhova-Philby: Then he had this important talk with Kim. He suggested he had no problem to go to Communist Party. They needed help importantly in this underground work.
Interviewer: Did Kim ever talk to you about the difficulty, the emotional strain of leading this double life?
Poukhova-Philby: He said that it was the most difficult for him to have a double life. I'd say I want to go into town, because many people write, and I had read a lot of articles about him. People that wrote in that said he was enjoying this kind of life, his double life, and that he had to deceive his friends and or people whom he knew. This was quite the opposite of himself that's the truth. It was the most painful for him. Because his friends had a big meaning for him, he was like his friends. Of course, when they say he used them, and he tried to deceive people, and that it was against his being. He was a very, very honest man. He had never lied. I know it now life, the great life. If he didn't know about it then he says so, he even never labelled small things. If he wasn't sure about something he would say I don't know, but never would lie.
Interviewer: Did he hate betraying his country?
Poukhova-Philby: But he never. He said that he never betrayed his country. I had a feeling that he would say this. He said he just been working for, not against his country, but for all the countries. For a better life for all the people, that was his opinion.
Interviewer: Can you please tell us the story of how Kim saved Donald McLean?
Poukhova-Philby: It happens when they were together in Russia. Kim found out that there was suspicion about somebody, a really high-ranked man who had given information to Soviet Union. And this circle begins to get closer and closer, at least too close to Donald McLean. Kim understood that he was in real danger, so he couldn't waste any time. How to help him? The truth's the only way, but because of that, he booked himself in very big room, to put suspicion on himself, because only a small circle of people know about this, what is going on with Donald McLean. Anyway, he decided to help. It's a very long story how they got written authorization to drink too much, to have a car accident, and another accident. He moved from his work and went back to London. McLean was in London. He decided that they were just going after McLean and tells him that he should escape. He was meant that McLean should escape, but not Burgess. The pair escaped together, but it really ruined Kim's career, because then all suspicion came to Kim after that.
Interviewer: How did the KGB view Kim Philby when he came to Russia, did they suspect him?
Poukhova-Philby: I can't say exactly, yes or no. In general they are; I know that with all foreigners they have always been suspicious of in Russia. It's all Russian character and KGB tradition. So Kim had been there, he contacted a Soviet agent. She said that all was circle coverage, all double agent. We have to put them generally, I know that. He told us at the time he had noticed that she writes and writes on papers. He told me I want to give. My head is full of information; I want all to give it to them. I've been writing and writing endless memorandum, then I understood that nobody needed, nobody even believed him. He had grandchildren, had a comfortable life, its no problem for that. The most important for him was the work. He said it's the most, first place. It's work, but no work at home.
Interviewer: Because of the suspicion the KGB had for him, and the Cambridge news circle, does that mean that all that they did was for nothing, as the KGB regard it as doubtful information?
Poukhova-Philby: I can't know that. I am not expert of this side, but my own opinion, it's probably a way to lure suspicion, but that's kind of bureaucracy, I think. People who've been in charge remember this, rather old people, sitting comfortable in their chair; they just say that better not to do anything. Then there's no risk. If you begin to do something, maybe you can put in the risk for something, take a big work. May be two or three important work. But if you not doing anything, you're not a risk.
Interviewer: What did Kim Philby think of the Russian society when he came to live here? Did he approve of it?
Poukhova-Philby: No, he disapproved in many ways. I remember that his impression when he saw all these old girls, working very poor, all poorly dressed and carrying heavy bags and with hardly any food in it. He always pointed these things out. He said that's it's them, the old girls, who the war was for. Why did nobody do anything for them? Why you always say about it's those young people now in your generation, which have to think about the old people. Who will help them? So he was he a bit feeling very angry about it.
Interviewer: So did he feel that this Communism was a just society?
Poukhova-Philby: He thought that Communism could be a just society. He believed in Communist at the same time. It wasn't even quite Socialist that he preferred to see.
Interviewer: Did he feel that at the end of his life, he'd made the wrong choice, that he had served the wrong cause?
Poukhova-Philby: He never said so. He said that he could choose the difficult. Maybe you can choose it on a different side; maybe it wasn't the right side. But anyway you have to fall on one side, to your side. May-be he had some doubts, but anyway, he always went this way. I think that he would have to follow what he had chosen. That's where they begin.
Interviewer: Why did Kim and his young friends at Cambridge want to serve the Soviet Union?
Poukhova-Philby: They just want to try to build a just society. They wanted to make people happy. But no, maybe it's too idealistic. But then, you know, it was really good folk, and in those times the Soviet Union was good example for them. They didn't know that example that they invented Communism, because they thought that Communism was the best society for all people to be equal. Not too rich, not too poor people. That's the main point.
Interviewer: Tell me a little, in your own words, about the Spanish Civil War. How did the Spanish Civil War influence Kim and other people like him?
Poukhova-Philby: The most important point in his career was the Spanish Civil War, because it was against Fascism. He wanted to fight against Fascism, and he could do it there. Then working for the Soviet Union, and that improved his views about what he was doing. Because he'd been - he didn't mean that he is a creator, because he is fighting against Fascism at the same time as England.
Interviewer: He was fighting against Fascism?
Poukhova-Philby: Against Fascist, against Germany.
Interviewer: What did Kim say about making a choice?
Poukhova-Philby: He would just say the words from one of Graham Green's book, because he really didn't have a lot in common. What he said is that in your life you choose the one side of the road to go on. It's possible that it could have been the wrong side, but anyway you follow your side to the end.
Interviewer: To the end?
Poukhova-Philby: And it's you enter the poor, and that's where he had a lot of common with Graham Green, because they both had a doubt. Kim had never been before straightforward or that then he had doubts of course, as a normal man. He said that's what he had in common with Graham Green, because Graham Green has a doubt is to be a Roman Catholic. Kim has a doubt to be a Communist. When they met together, Kim felt very relieved after they're meeting. He told me he was so happy. He said that at last he could discuss this point. The most important for both of us - doubt, and they discussed it.
Interviewer: What do you say to people in England who say that Kim Philby was a killer who sent dozens or scores of British, loyal British Agents to their deaths?
Poukhova-Philby: I know he was a killer, of course. He admitted it himself, but he'd been in the war. There's a tragedy in every war. Some people could be killed. It's just not personal.
Interviewer: He didn't personally do it?
Interviewer: There's no blood on his hands?
Poukhova-Philby: He can't blame himself. But of course, he was really sorry for that. But he told us every soldier during the war, honest men, had to kill somebody. He felt bad about it. Bad conscience. Though the same time many people who do the same in other countries. From America, from India, it has been like a terrorist. He had also been sent to kill other people, you know. That's one fault against the Soviet
Interviewer: He never denied though that people died as a result of his work?
Poukhova-Philby: He couldn't.
Interviewer: Some people say that people like Philby, the lying, the deceiving; the treachery is something that comes from inside them. It's psychological, more than ideological.
Poukhova-Philby: No, for Kim it was both. Not such logical, yes, that's why Kim went against his nature. He never had been a liar. He hated to deceive people. He was the most honest man I have ever met in my life. For Kim it was the most difficult thing to deceive anybody. Why for him it was so difficult to have a double life. But he chooses to, no.
Interviewer: But that's the life he chose.