A spokesman for the president said a ceremony took place Monday "to hand top state honors to a number of Foreign Intelligence Service employees, including the spies who were working in the United States and returned to Russia in July."
Ten Russian agents were caught in the suburbs of Washington, New York and Boston carrying out what was described as a somewhat unsophisticated cloak-and-dagger operation. They were returned to Moscow after Russia agreed to swap out four people it was holding as U.S. agents.
Most of the deportees have remained out of the limelight, with the notable exception of photogenic 28-year-old Anna Chapman, who just completed a risque photo shoot for the Russian edition of the men's magazine Maxim and whose social life has been covered extensively in the international media.
Chapman now works as a consultant to a Russian bank and showed up earlier this month at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, where cosmonauts were departing for the International Space Station, the BBC reported.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told reporters this summer that he sang patriotic songs with the agents after they were returned to Moscow and predicted they would have "bright and interesting futures," according to The New York Times, while denouncing the "treachery" that led to their exposure.