- Secret world of Russian spies living in the US has been revealed after Obama lifted the lid on two ‘spy bases’
- The Maryland property is a luxurious, 45-acre compound just 30 minutes’ drive from Washington D.C.
- There have been suspicions about the property since it was bought by the Soviet government in 1972
- Other compound reported to have been shut down by is Killenworth on the North Shore of Long Island
- Used as a vacation retreat by Soviet diplomats and personnel who were stationed at the United Nations
- President ordered operatives out of the country as part of sanctions for their alleged role in hacking Thursday
The ultra-luxurious secret world of Russian spies living in the United States has been revealed, complete with million-dollar mansions, ‘vodka parties’ and sprawling estates.
The lifestyles were uncovered after President Barack Obama lifted the lid on two ‘spy bases’ and ordered operatives out of the country as part of sanctions announced for their alleged role in hacking during the election.
Obama outlined the punishments in a statement released on Thursday, for what he said were the country’s attempts to ‘interfere with democratic governance’ and harassment of U.S. diplomatic officials in Russia.
The President all but named Putin in his statement – saying hacking was ‘ordered at the highest level’.
In the hours since the announcement, further details on the extravagant Russian compounds have emerged, after White House officials said they are: ‘recreational but also used for intelligence activities’.
The Maryland property is a luxurious, 45-acre compound that is located in Pioneer Point, according to The Washington Post.
It is believed to have been used as a vacation spot for Russian diplomats looking to get away, though there have long been suspicions it was used for much more nefarious means as well.
The compound is just 30 minutes’ drive from Washington D.C., and is believed to have been a center for espionage.
There have been suspicions about the property since it was bought by the Soviet government in 1972.
The sprawling property hosts a brick mansion that has now been converted into 12 apartments, as well as a dozen cottages, each with four apartments. In total, the compound can accommodate 40 families at a time.
Photographer Gary Landsman went inside the lavish home, snapping shots of exactly what it was like behind closed doors. The compound featured massive dining rooms, one with bright red walls, impeccably decorated lounge rooms and entertaining areas, as well as a carefully landscaped garden.
Former Russian ambassador Yuri Ushakov – who was in the position from 1999 to 2008 – and his family officially called the complex home for a time, according to Washington Life magazine. The ‘dacha’ as the magazine called it, also has a hunting lodge that was used to ‘host special visitors’.
‘No one really hunts but that’s what we call it,’ Ushakov told the magazine while laughing at the time of the interview.
The magazine said the compound was also home to: ‘Anatoly Dobrynin, who was the Soviet ambassador during the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations until he returned to Moscow in 1986.’
Russian activity at Killenworth has been controversial since it has long been rumored to house Soviet spies.
In 1982, the local council clashed with the State Department after it banned Russian diplomats from the beach as retaliation for what they said was Moscow’s spying on Long Island defense industries, according to The New York Times.
Local officials objected to the Soviets enjoying tax exempt status on the home, which deprived Glen Cove of revenue that it usually generated from property taxes.
The Glen Cove City Council angrily told the Reagan administration that it was ‘still offended that the Soviets are here spying and not paying taxes, and a little offended by the callousness, condescension and almost browbeating coming from Washington.’
Some have reacted angrily to the news that the American government allowed the spy bases to remain operational, without informing locals.
‘Even scarier, I live down the road from the compound,’ Maryland resident Billy Ross wrote.
‘I’ve been living on Eastern Shore of Maryland for just over two years now,’ Chris Sabas, who did not know about the alleged base, wrote.
‘This is like 20 minutes from my house,’ Julia Girasole said of the Maryland compound.