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Jack79's avatar

True story or Cold War myth?

Asked by Jack79 (10984points) February 7th, 2010

I remember hearing a story about a western spy (possibly American) who went under cover in the Soviet Union sometime towards the end of the Cold War. He’d persuaded everybody he was Russian, but then one day he was invited to a meal, and held the fork in his right hand to eat chips, something a Russian would never do. This gave away his true identity and he was killed.

I was just wondering today whether this is a true story, and what that spy’s name was. Or is it just one of the many urban legends that pop into existance every now and then?

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16 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

It is probably a myth. All russians hold the fork in their left hand? Ridiculous.

talljasperman's avatar

wasn’t that in a Dilbert Cartoon… where Dilbert eats food in Elbonia with his left hand?... and gets a death sentence by ball of mud..

mammal's avatar

i miss the cold war

mea05key's avatar

i think the cold war is absurd, the russian’s spied on the american’s telecomunation system, tracked that the americans are planning ahead to nuke them. The americans military who had the same mind set as the russians , were preparing themselves in case the russians nuke them and set up this trainning session called able archer. Russians tap the signals by the americans, and was convinced about americans act although the word “trainning” comes out plenty of times in the code.

ucme's avatar

I believe he called himself Ivor Chipaforkov. His punishment was to be battered at the local fish shop.

Seek's avatar

I vote urban legend, but it’s not too far off from things that really went on in America during the Red Scare. I remember hearing about innocent people who were executed by the US government in my history class.

mammal's avatar

BTW Chips are fries in Americanese

ucme's avatar

@mammal No!! You don’t say. Well I never. I believe fanny is also open to interpretation. In certain seedy quarters anyhow if you know what I mean nudge nudge wink wink eh eh.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Russians would normally eat neither chips nor fries as part of their normal diet during the cold war.

janbb's avatar

This is a classic tale; not sure if that particular instance is true. The foundation of it is that Americans used to be trained to cut their meat with their right hand, then put the knife down and pick up their fork with their right hand to eat. So it was told that this was a way to reveal a spy.

mammal's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Chips are the same as Fries, but yeah i get your point.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Sounds more like Gullivers Travels than Cold War.

HankMoody's avatar

Also a takeoff on how a spy was discovered in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.” Different mannerism, same result.

Bugabear's avatar

Sounds like that scene in inglorious basterds. Where the british guy signals for 3 drinks the Britsh way instead of the German way.

Jack79's avatar

Yes, only I heard that story I’m describing back in the early 90s, long before the movie. I guess there’s no way to find out if it’s a real event after all.

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