Memo to Russian spies in New Zealand

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
6 April, 2018

Memo to: FSB Spy Class 2018, Moscow (New Zealand posting)
From: Chief Instructor Disguise
Subject: Discoverability


For spies it is best not to be discovered. Discovery is never helpful. If people know that you are a spy searching for secrets to pass on to our Supreme Leader Vladimir, they will not be hugely enthusiastic in sharing them with you. Not even in friendly New Zealand.

So here is rule number one: At the airport do not declare that you are a spy. This is a good start to your espionage career. If they attempt to trick you with a crafty question such as “Who do you want to meet with in New Zealand?”, just reply that you are on a trade mission to see Winston Peters. This is eminently credible and will not arouse any suspicion.

Rule number two: When you leave the Russian Embassy in Messines Road, always use the back door. This way you can come and go without detection. The Kiwis probably do not even know there is a backdoor. And if discovered, just say you are on your way to visit Bill English. He lives just up the road.

Rule number three: Always have lunch at Café Pravda in Wellington. First of all the food is good (if not authentically Russian). But more so, spies meeting at Pravda would be so cliché that no one would ever suspect a real Russian spy to have coffee there. To underline the clichés, only drink White Russians or Moscow Mules. People will conclude you are just a wannabe KGB agent.

Rule number four: When in public, always wear your cone of silence and occasionally remove your right shoe and speak into it. It is helpful to flash an open briefcase from time to time showing a cheese-topped mince pie and an old copy of Penthouse. Seasoned observers will dismiss you as an anti-vegan extremist or an SIS operative.

Rule number five: Never, ever dine at Astoria. There are too many civil servants and politicians slumming it there, and chance meetings are seldom arranged or successful. Apart from that Astoria is so noisy you will not understand a thing. Not even what you said yourself.

Rule number six: There is no rule number six. Just forget about that.

From now on, every year we will declare our two embassy receptionists as spies to the New Zealand authorities as a goodwill gesture. This will trick them into thinking there are no other spies here.

As for the rest of us, see you at Pravda.

We welcome Joel Hernandez to our team. When he doesn't write Russian spy satires he works as an economist on the Initiative's data-heavy projects.

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