|Anna Chapman: part Mata Hari, part Tori Amos.|
Image: The Guardian.
The Kremlin, of course, denied any such spies were in place and suggested this was a fabrication by the FBI to compromise the largely positive relations President Obama had recently been cultivating with Russia's third president, Mr. Medvedev.
And then the spies started confessing (those who hadn't fled). Their real names have been released to the public. Our two nations have organized and completed an honest-to-goodness spy swap. Very far from a ruse, this tableau feels more like a contrived Cold War plotline taken far too seriously by some department head not overly endowed with imagination or, no pun intended, intelligence.
But you know what this means for us postalaters? Do you know what relevance this bears to us, men and women of letters?
A new draft of postage stamps! It seems that Russia views quite positively any of her spies that have secreted any information out of the United States, and it is not at all uncommon to commemorate them on their postage stamps. I don't know how I feel about the ethics of honoring the qualities of deceit and manipulation, venerating underhandedness and duplicity... but I do know I'd be particularly excited to receive a letter or postcard with a Russian spy on it. I had no idea this was a practice at all, and how fascinating to know it's out there. There's always the potential that someone over there might send me a postcard with one such cultural luminary featured on it, thanks to Postcrossing.