Russian espionage in Quebec: a mysterious residence in Saint-Colomban

The Russian Federation has a rich heritage totaling more than $16 million in buildings in the Montreal region.

Russian espionage in Quebec: a mysterious residence in Saint-Colomban

The Russian Federation has a rich heritage totaling more than $16 million in buildings in the Montreal region. These properties, all acquired during the Cold War era, are linked to espionage and counterintelligence operations.

Our Bureau of Investigation has uncovered several interesting pieces of information about these properties, some of which are shrouded in mystery. The consulate did not respond to our questions on these.

A man of Ukrainian origin bequeathed a small property in the village of Saint-Colomban, in the Laurentians, to the USSR in the early 1970s. And the Russian government has insisted on keeping it until today, although there has been virtually no activity there for years.

“The only people I saw were five years ago, workers for renovations,” explains Guy Perron, who has lived on the same street for almost 10 years.

France Bergevin, who lived in the house next door for about 20 years, says people seemed to reside there permanently “twenty years ago”.

"But after that, it's always been back and forth on weekends, and much less in recent years," she says.

The mystery surrounding this property thus fuels rumors in the small town of the Laurentians. Some speak of a former residence of Soviet aircraft pilots, others of a diplomats' chalet.

Even at the municipality, we do not know the complete history of this house designated as a “government service” in the assessment roll.

RENTED BY THE CONSUL

Our Bureau of Investigation discovered that the property had been rented as early as 1968 by a member of the Soviet government.

That year, the Consul General of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in Montreal, Pavel Safonov, rented it at the symbolic cost of $1 per year for ten years.

The diplomat had arrived in Montreal about a year earlier and headed the brand new Soviet consulate in Montreal.

During his previous mission abroad, he had intervened in a story of espionage.

In 1963, when he was charge d'affaires at the Soviet embassy in Australia, Mr. Safonov had to place one of his colleagues, trapped for espionage by an Australian secret service double agent, on an express flight to Moscow.

A LEGACY TO THE USSR

It was in 1974 that the USSR became the owner of the building. In 1970, Simeon Kindelvich, an ethnic Ukrainian, signed a special will to bequeath it to the Soviet government.

We don't know why he didn't give it to his family who live here. His grandson did not wish to grant us an interview. And his great-grandson was unaware of this story.

Mr. Kindelvich died in Ukraine in 1972, having lived most of his life here. His wife, Anna Shadko, worked for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal.

The USSR came close to losing its property in 1977, after failing to pay its taxes. A certain René Labelle had asked for it at auction. But ten days later, an employee of the national aviation company, Aeroflot, came to settle the account for $215.77.

The current house was only built in 1991. During our visit last week, there was not a living soul.

However, the flag of “Infomanistan” affixed to the garage by the host of the Infoman program, Jean-René Dufort, a few weeks earlier, was no longer there.


1

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS