The Canadian government accused Vasily Vasilievich Tarasov, a Soviet journalist based in Ottawa, of spying and ordered him to leave the country on April 28, 1964.

Montreal's The Gazette newspaper headline on April 29, 1964

By Eric Mark Do, Reporter

The Canadian government accused Vasily Vasilievich Tarasov, a Soviet journalist based in Ottawa, of spying and ordered him to leave the country on April 28, 1964. External Affairs Minister Paul Martin said Tarasov tried to obtain “classified information” that was “of importance to Canada,” according to the Montreal’s The Gazette. Tarasov allegedly befriended a civil servant and asked for the documents in exchange for money. The federal government employee went to the RCMP and a trap was set. Tarasov was arrested on the 28th with documents obtained from the civil servant.

Tarasov, “a correspondent for the Russian state-owned newspaper Izvestia,” was the second Russian journalist to be named a spy by the RCMP. In 1946, Tass correspondent Nicholas Zhievino —“a key figure in the Russian espionage networks which were operated out of the Russian embassy”—fled the country before he could be expelled. 


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.