Educated at the Moscow Engineering Academy, where as a student he was recruited by the NKVD and became a
GRU agent. During World War II, served a year at the front, 1941-1942, and was then sent to Ottawa, 1943, as a cipher clerk. Disillusioned with Soviet life, he defected on 7 September 1945 with his wife and child, and revealed the enormous size of the Soviet espionage network in the West, which had a marked effect on public opinion and created a lasting impression.
Many of the revelations about Soviet penetration of Western intelligence networks, for example that concerning Philby, Maclean et al., can be traced back to information originally supplied by him. Settled in Canada.