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On a summer’s evening in Moscow, at the heart of the Cold War in July 1985, a man stands on the pavement of a busy street, looking to passers-by like an average citizen doing his shopping. Clutched in his hand is a grocery bag for the British supermarket chain Safeway. The red logo could be an apt descriptor of the “code red” situation unfolding – for this set-up was the alert to British intelligence officers in the Soviet Union that their most valuable asset was in danger, and activating his emergency signal to trigger a daring escape plan.

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