Russian spies spotted holidaying together in luxury Siberian hotel

The 10 Russian spies deported from the US this summer have surfaced on a joint holiday at Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Among them were the redhead Anna Chapman, and Juan Lazaro – real name Mikhail Vasenkov – who recent reports have suggested was the senior figure in the spy ring.

It is the first time that the spies have been pictured together since their deportation from America in July, and the first time that most of them have been seen in public at all. The spies stayed in a luxury hotel in Listvyanka, a village on the shores of the vast Lake Baikal.

A source at the hotel told the Life News website that the former spies went on diving excursions to the bottom of Baikal, which is the world's deepest lake, and were treated to local delicacies. Only Ms Chapman ate little, according to hotel staff, and was also subdued and quiet during the trip. In the pictures, Ms Chapman wears a black and white shell suit, with her hair tied back in a pony tail, and looks a far cry from the glamorous femme fatale image she has tried to foster with racy photo shoots.

Only Ms Chapman, who seems to be attempting to launch a showbiz career, has appeared in public since the swap. She has become a frequent guest at parties and events in Moscow, and has posed for a series of magazine photo shoots, amid rumours that she wants to launch a television career. But she has said she is not allowed to talk about her time in the US.

Hotel staff said that many of the spies spoke Russian with an accent, and that one spoke no Russian at all. This would have been Vicky Pelaez, the Peruvian national who worked in New York for a Spanish-language daily and was married to Mr Vasenkov. It is believed that she did not know her husband's true identity, and she had previously stated that she wanted to return to Peru. However, the photograph of her at the Baikal retreat suggests that she has either changed her mind, or been forced to stay in Russia.

A recent report by Russia's Kommersant newspaper said that Mr Vasenkov had an espionage career that had spanned several decades spent in Latin American countries as well as the US. He posed as Juan Lazaro, a photographer and researcher, and the report claimed that he sustained injuries from US agents trying to get information out of him.

Even though they have kept a low profile, since their return to Russia the spies have been lauded as heroes, receiving top awards from President Dmitry Medvedev.

The Kommersant report said the spies had been betrayed by a top official in Russia's foreign intelligence service, the SVR, named Colonel Shcherbakov. It later transpired that there had indeed been an agent of that name who defected to the United States, but that his defection had taken place years ago. The traitor in this instance is now believed to be a man with a similar biography named Colonel Alexander Poteyev. He is believed to have fled across the Atlantic just days before the 10 agents were arrested in June. He was reportedly the deputy director of a unit that handled illegal agents inside the US.

Colonel Poteyev is a veteran of the Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, and was later placed as an SVR agent in New York. The SVR has not given any official comment on any of the rumours, but President Medvedev confirmed that the initial Kommersant story was largely true.

A Kremlin source told the newspaper that a team of assassins had been sent to kill the traitor.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?