Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (Rudolf Ivanovich Abel)

Rudolf Ivanovich Abel

Soviet Union Intelligence Officer. He was a Russian Cold War spy who had been captured by the United States while engaged in espionage. Born Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher in England to revolutionary parents who fled Czarist Russia, he served in the Russian Army during World War II, engaging in clandestine operations behind Nazi German lines. Trained as a spy by the KGB after the war, he resided in the United States for the purpose of gaining American nuclear secrets and other intelligence. Captured by Federal Bureau of Investigations agents in 1957, he was convicted of conspiring to obtain and transmit defense information from the United States to the Soviet Union, and was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. He later gained international attention in 1962 when he was exchanged for American U-2 spyplane pilot Francis Gary Powers, who had been shot down over Soviet airspace in 1960. After his return to Russia he was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Soviet Union’s highest honor. The alias he used, “Rudolf I. Abel”, was one of five he used during his spying years in the United States, and was the one that signaled to his superiors that he had been captured. He continued with the alias for the rest of his life, and his gravestone is inscribed with both his birth name and his adopted alias. (bio by: Russ Dodge) Cause of death: Lung cancer


  • July, 11, 1903
  • England


  • November, 11, 1971
  • Russia

Cause of Death

  • Lung cancer


  • Donskoi Monastery Cemetery
  • Russia

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