Harvard Kennedy School Revokes Degree Awarded to Russian Spy

Harvard Kennedy School has revoked the degree it awarded Russian spy Andrey Bezrukov, who lived in Cambridge and attended school under the name of Donald H. Heathfield.

Kennedy School spokesman Doug Gavel said in an e-mail today that the man who went by Donald Heathfield no longer holds a degree from the school. Citing privacy regulations, Gavel declined to comment on who would have made that decision and when the decision was made.

Under the name of Heathfield, a deceased Canadian, Bezrukov studied at the Kennedy School and graduated from the Master’s in Public Administration program in 2000.

Bezrukov revealed his real name and pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government July 8 in a federal court in New York. Bezrukov’s plea was a part of a so-called “spy swap” between the United States and Russia in which 10 Russian agents were exchanged for four alleged Western spies the following day.

According to the most recent version of its student handbook, the Kennedy School usually severs its relationship with a student when it is discovered that the individual's application contains inaccuracies.

“If the discovery [of misrepresentation] occurs after a degree has been awarded, the degree will usually be rescinded,” the handbook states. “The determination that an application is inaccurate or contains misrepresentations rests with the Admissions Office and the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs, and will be resolved outside of the student disciplinary process.”

Heathfield and his wife Elena Vavilova were arrested at their Trowbridge Street home in Cambridge on June 27. The couple was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

—Staff writer Naveen N. Srivatsa can be reached at srivatsa@fas.harvard.edu.

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