Cruise ship singer claims Putin posed as a security guard aboard liner

Cruise ship singer claims Putin posed as a security guard aboard liner

April 26, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: ‘He never smiled or spoke’: Cruise ship cabaret singer claims scowling, stony-faced Putin posed as a security guard aboard Soviet-built vessel to spy for the KGB during Cold War four decades ago

  • Australian Lynn Rogers, 81, claims she remembers seeing Vladimir Putin posing as a cruise ship security guard to spy for the KGB during the Cold War
  • The veteran cabaret singer, from the Gold Coast, was a performer aboard the Aleksandr Pushkin ocean liner that sailed from Europe to Australasia in 1985 
  • Rogers told DailyMail.com a scowling, stony-faced security guard she believed was the future despot followed her back to her cabin after every performance 
  • ‘When he came into power I remember looking at him and saying, “that guy was the security on the bloody cruise ship.” I was in shock,’ she said
  • Fellow performer Sylvia Raye also told DailyMail.com that it was an open secret that the KGB had men on board the ship 
  • While there’s no direct evidence placing Putin on a cruise in Australia, reports suggest he visited New Zealand in the 1980s, once posing as a shoe salesman

A veteran cabaret singer claims she busted a young Vladimir Putin posing as a cruise ship security guard to spy for the KGB during the Cold War.

Australian Lynn Rogers, 81, and several of her musician friends told DailyMail.com they remember the future despot skulking around during their performances on board the Aleksandr Pushkin ocean liner.

British firm CTC Cruises leased the Soviet-built boat in 1985 to sail from Europe to Australasia, retaining its original Russian crew but bringing in Western entertainers.

Lynn says one figure in particular stood out: a scowling, stony-faced security guard who followed her back to her cabin after every performance without uttering a word.

Years later she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the same creepy operative being installed as Russia’s new president following Boris Yeltsin’s 1999 resignation.

‘When he came into power I remember looking at him and saying, “that guy was the security on the bloody cruise ship.” I was in shock,’ said Lynn, who lives on Australia’s Gold Coast. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin would have been in his early 30s and working as a an intelligence officer around the time Lynn Rogers claims to have spotted him working on a cruise ship. He is pictured left a young man aboard a ship in 1975


Australian Lynn Rogers, a former entertainer on the the Aleksandr Pushkin ocean liner, claims she witnessed a young Vladimir Putin posing as a cruise ship security guard to spy for the KGB during the Cold War 

British firm CTC Cruises leased the Aleksandr Puskin, a Soviet-built boat, in 1985 to sail from Europe to Australasia, retaining its original Russian crew but bringing in Western entertainers

‘I remember distinctly when I used to finish my show he would follow me back to the cabin, every single time, walking about ten feet behind me.

‘I’d open the cabin door and I’d turn around and wave and smile and say, thank you very much. He never smiled. He never spoke to me, not a single word.

‘If only we had known what he had planned for the world, we could have tossed the bastard overboard and done everyone a favor.’

Four-term Russian President Putin would have been in his early 30s around the time Lynn claims to have spotted him.

By then he was already a veteran intelligence officer having joined the KGB in 1975, his first assignment monitoring foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad.

Putin was later assigned to Germany and Singapore, where it’s believed his duties included gathering information on tiny communist movements in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

While there’s no direct evidence to place Putin on a cruise ship in Australia, multiple reports suggest he visited New Zealand several times in the 1980s, once posing as a shoe salesman.

Author Graeme Hunt claims in his 2007 book Spies and Revolutionaries: A History of New Zealand Subversion, that a man bearing a ‘striking resemblance’ to Putin attended the 1986 inquiry into the sinking of the Mikhail Lermontov, a Russian cruise liner which collided with rocks in the Marlborough Sounds, off New Zealand’s South Island.

Rogers, who is from Australia’s Gold Coast, shot to fame in her home country with her 1968 single, Just Loving You, and has performed alongside the likes of Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield and Sammy Davis Jr

Rogers told DailyMail.com the stony-faced security guard she believes was the future Russian president followed her back to her cabin after every performance

The Australian singer shared footage taken on board the Pushkin boat when she was a member of the entertainment crew 

‘We surmised that he was the head of security but you never really knew’, added Lynn, who shot to fame in her native Australia with her 1968 single, Just Loving You, and has performed alongside the likes of Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield and Sammy Davis Jr. 

‘He was always floating around. If you walked into the bar he’d be just exiting the bar. If you sat down to eat in the restaurant he would walk past.

‘He had such a sour look about him. If he cracked a smile it would have split his face. He was never, ever pleasant.

‘But of course it’s difficult to separate how I felt about him back then with what we now know.   

‘What he’s done to Ukraine is the most disgusting, grotesque thing that anybody has done since Hitler.’

Named after Russia’s great national poet, the Aleksandr Pushkin was built in Soviet East Germany and entered service in 1966, initially travelling back and forth between Montreal and Leningrad.

The 20,000-ton vessel became a full time cruise ship in 1975, with enough room for 915 passengers and 356 crew members.

Putin, seen with his first daughter Mariya in 1985, joined the KGB in 1975 and was later believed to be tasked with gathering information on tiny communist movements in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji 


While there’s no direct evidence to place Putin on a cruise ship in Australia, multiple reports suggest he visited New Zealand several times in the 1980s, once posing as a shoe salesman. He is pictured in the 80s above

It was renamed the Marco Polo after the end of the Cold War and remained in service for various cruise companies before it was scrapped last year. 

‘It was a giant ship that went into every port in the world but there was more crew than passengers,’ added Lynn.

‘A friend of mine, the band master on the ship, told me that he noticed a door one day that had a sign saying, crew only. 

Retired entertainer Sylvia Raye, who performed alongside Lynn, said it was an open secret that the KGB had men on board the ship

‘So he went down all these stairs and started exploring and all of a sudden he’s in a giant room with all these computers everywhere and people walking around in white suits.

‘They grabbed him and tossed him out of the room and told him not to come back.’

Sylvia Raye, a retired entertainer who performed alongside Lynn, said it was an open secret that the KGB had men on board the ship when she worked there in the 1980s.

‘The ship was pretty cheap and the food was disgusting. You felt like you were in Russia,’ recalled Sylvia, 79.

‘We are very gregarious people, entertainers. But the Russians were frightened to talk to you, you couldn’t get a word out of them.’

Towards the late 80s Sylvia recalls inviting her Russian band member colleagues to a barbecue at her house in Australia. She was told they could only come ashore in threes.

Rogers immediately recognized Putin years later when he was being installed as Russia’s new president following Boris Yeltsin’s 1999 resignation. He is pictured above in Moscow on Monday

The ship was renamed the Marco Polo (pictured) after the end of the Cold War and remained in service for various cruise companies before it was scrapped last year

‘The captain said something to the effect of, if one wants to defect, then there has to be two to restrain him and drag him back to the ship. 

‘I remember my husband saying to me, Oh God what have you got yourself involved in,’ she chuckled.

‘When they got to the house they weren’t allowed to come inside. I’ve got a security system and one of them saw the sensors up on the wall. They thought I’d brought them there for surveillance. I ended up taking them to the park.’

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