Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service has released previously classified files on a double agent who, under the codename “Britt”, passed secrets to Moscow from inside British intelligence in the 1940s, the Reuters news agency reported on Monday.

The rare glimpse behind the scenes of Russian espionage comes as British-Russian relations once again take on a Cold War flavor — last year Russian intelligence said it had uncovered a British spy ring using fake rocks to pass on data.

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), enjoying a resurgence since former spy Vladimir Putin became president, revealed the stories of Viktor Bogomolets and Operation Tarantella.

But Operation Tarantella, designed to reach ?migr?s who fled after the Communist takeover, turned him back to Moscow in 1945, and he became a double agent passing British secrets to top-tier Soviet operatives, the SVR said.

“In 1945, Bogomolets realized the uselessness of the struggle against his native land and switched to work for Soviet intelligence,” the SVR said in a news release.

“The information received from him was used in letters to the very highest level —- Stalin and Molotov,” it added, referring to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and his Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

Bogomolets’s story forms the basis for a new book by SVR Major-General Lev Sotskov entitled “Operation Tarantella.”

The activities of Soviet intelligence were regarded by many Russians as a dirty secret in the years after the Soviet Union collapsed. For many it was associated with the rights abuses of the KGB, which controlled all espionage activity.

But since Putin became president, Russia’s spies have been keener to celebrate their past successes in public.

Russian spies still spar with their British counterparts. Last year Russia imprisoned an army colonel for treason after he was caught spying for the British.

In 2006, Russia accused British diplomats of running a James Bond style spy ring which involved communicating with their Russian agents via an electronic device disguised as a rock. None of the diplomats were told to leave Russia.

Many of the Soviet spymasters who conceived Operation Tarantella died in Stalin’s Purges, during which millions were executed or died in camps.

“It’s sad to realize that those who worked on and carried out this operation . . . died during the repression at the end of the 1930s,” the SVR said.

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