DuÅ¡an Popov was the sort of spy you used to want to be when you were a kid. He communicated secretly using a top-secret microdot code and invisible ink. Text book stuff. He used to mix his invisible ink in a wine glass, which seems quite appropriate.
Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond character was working with MI6 at the same time as Popov. On on one occasion Fleming had followed Popov into a casino in Portugal and witnessed him place a bet of $40,000, just to fluster a rival and force him to withdraw from a baccarat table. It’s no coincidence that the first James Bond book was Casino Royale. Fleming once said that Bond “was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war”. Surely Popov was one of his inspirations.
During Popov’s time at MI6, the head of the organisation was Major General Stewart Menzies, otherwise known as “C”. C spent a few days with Popov in order to get a measure of the man, this is what he had to say:
“You are honest, but without scruples. Your instincts and intuitions are stronger than your intelligence, which is way above average. Your conscience never bothers you. You are ambitious and ruthless and you can be cruel, although in an animal and not a sick way. When you are frightened you don’t panic. Danger is a stimulant for you… You have too many things on your banner for my taste…. but… for your job as spy and counterspy that is ideal… Oh but one thing, you don’t like following orders, you better learn to otherwise you will be a very dead spy.”
Brilliant, that’s so Bond.
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