I learned today that recently arrested, alleged Russian spy Mikhail Semenko had my business card. “Really?!” I asked. “Really,” I was told back.
I have a massive pile of business cards on my desk at the office, so I assume I have his also — and then looked at my personal laptop contacts list, which is large — but still select, limited only to people I have some interest in or connection with. I send folks on my email list an occasional article or event alert if it’s something really interesting and which will stream live, as most of my list is comprised of people outside Washington.
Sure enough, Mikhail Semenko is in my personal database note as “Russia/China expert”.
Semenko publishes (at least until June 24th of this year) the blog, Chinese Economy Today, which I have looked at before.
I didn’t recall his name until I saw his picture today — and now, I remember him well and was impressed by him when we met. He was knowledgeable about two countries that I have big projects in play with now — Russia and China — and he and I agreed that we should get together and chat some time. But never got to it.
In any case, spying is something countries do — in good times and bad. They do it. We do it. The best of friends do it. Jonathan Pollard comes to mind.
But it feels odd today to have had a brush with someone very much in the news reminding many of the Cold War’s high stakes drama. I remembered Semenko’s awkward modesty at the time — and now, after seeing the pic, I do recall him.
Any other folks of John LeCarre-ish habits running in my circles??
— Steve Clemons