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Russia: Einstein Friend Not a Spy

June 3, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Russian spy agency said Wednesday it has no evidence that a woman romantically involved with Albert Einstein worked for Soviet intelligence.

Nine of the scientist’s recently discovered letters reveal Einstein’s strong feelings for Margarita Konenkova, a Soviet woman with whom he had a wartime love affair.

Konenkova was identified as a spy in ``Special Tasks,″ the memoirs of Soviet spymaster Pavel Sudoplatov, published in 1995.

But the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Gen. Yuri Kobaladze, told the Interfax news agency it had no evidence Konenkova worked with Soviet intelligence.

``Soviet intelligence had nothing to do with Einstein,″ Kobaladze said.

A duty officer at the agency, a successor to the KGB, refused to comment Wednesday when contacted by The Associated Press.

The letters indicate Konenkova accomplished the task she had reportedly been given in Moscow: introducing the famous physicist to Moscow’s vice consul in New York. But the diplomat apparently failed to change Einstein’s opinions on the Soviet Union.

Sotheby’s auction house plans to sell Einstein’s letters, obtained from one of Konenkova’s descendants, on June 26.

The letters were written between November 1945 and July 1946, just after Konenkova returned to Moscow.

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