The Channel 1 report, which was immediately denied by the Palestinian Authority, cites Soviet era documents held in the Churchill Archives Centre at the University of Cambridge as evidence.
The documents were smuggled out of Russia by a disillusioned former KGB archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin, who defected to Britain following the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
Mr Mitrokhin died in 2004 at the age of 81, but the files were only made available for public research in 2014.
Two Israeli scholars, who requested the documents, claim to have discovered that Mr Abbas was code-named “Krotov” or “Mole” and worked under Mikhail Bogdanov in Syria.
Mr Bogdanov was assigned to the Soviet Embassy in Damascus at the time and is currently Russia’s envoy in the Middle East.
The Palestinian Authority has dismissed the claim as nothing more than a smear designed to undermine and discredit the leadership.
Mohammed al-Madani, a central committee member of Mr Abbas’s Fatah party, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “There’s a clear trend of attempting to damage Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) by various elements, including Israel … this is another attempt to slander him.”
The academics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem say they handed the information to Channel 1 because Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently trying to organise a summit between Mr Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
They claim Mr Abbas’s past is relevant because Russia may still be able to influence him at a time when the Kremlin is increasingly asserting itself in the Middle East.
As an intriguing side note, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Mr Putin held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the KGB.
It is a matter of record that Mr Abbas studied law at Damascus University before going onto Oriental College in Moscow where he received a PhD in history.
Mr Abbas is increasingly unpopular at home and is trying to garner support abroad.
Russia’s influence in the Middle East has been growing in the region since its intervention in the Syrian conflict last year.
Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas have agreed to meet in principle in Moscow, Russian news agency Interfax has reported, in an attempt to restart the moribund peace talks.
News Source SkyNews