Friends become enemies

Solomon Mogilevsky brought Stan Harding to the same guesthouse where Marguerite Harrison was staying. What transpired next later became an international scandal that would always cast a shadow over Harrison’s career as an intelligence officer.

Marguerite later contended that she tried to warn Harding not to come into Russia and that once the British woman arrived at the guesthouse, Marguerite tried to protect her from incriminating herself. According to Marguerite’s account, Mogilevsky left the two women briefly and paced outside the room.

Mrs. Stan Harding

It is unclear what he expected to transpire, but after a brief time, he barged back into the room, ordered Harding to collect her things and told her to get into a waiting vehicle. They had traveled just a couple blocks when he informed her she was under arrest.

Mogilevsky escorted Harding to Lubyanka Prison and for the next five months she would be a prisoner of Cheka. For much of that time, she lived in solitary confinement and repeatedly went on hunger strikes to protest her captivity. Mogilevsky refused to let her go unless she would agree to work as a double agent.

While in prison, Harding saw Marguerite passing in the hallway. She later came to believe Marguerite had renounced her as a spy and blamed her for her suffering. Marguerite later denied the accusations. She said the encounter in the hallway had been arranged by Mogilevsky to make Harding believe Harrison had provided evidence against her.

Yet documents in Harrison’s Russian prison files show that she did, in fact, denounce Harding as a British agent. Harrison said she had no proof other than what she surmised from having known Harding in Germany.

Harding denied the accusations that she was a spy throughout her imprisonment and spent years pursuing revenge against Harrison. The Russians eventually paid for her false imprisonment and Harding won a libel suit against Harrison in 1938.

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