It was a well-known tactic of the KGB, the Soviet Secret Police organization, to disguise their agents as tourists who would ask probing and embarrassing questions of visiting heads of state. But a new photo has just surfaced that purports to show Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was once a member of the KGB, dressed as a tourist during Ronald Reagan’s 1988 visit to the Soviet Union.
Pete Souza, the man who took the photo above, says the US Secret Service was not fooled by the undercover KGB agents. According to Souza (now the official White House presidential photographer), Reagan reportedly said, “I can’t believe these tourists in the Soviet Union are asking these pointed questions.” A nearby Secret Service agent replied, “Oh, these are all KGB families.”
So is the dorky tourist in the photo above really Vladimir Putin, as Souza claims? Not according to Russian political analyst Andrey Piontkovsky. “Vladimir Putin was a major serving in Dresden and he wasn’t important enough at that time to be brought to Moscow,” he said.