Portal:Russia/Selected article

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Selected articles list[edit]

Portal:Russia/Selected article/1

Soviet troops in winter gear take on Germans

The Battle of Moscow (Russian: Битва за Москву, Romanized: Bitva za Moskvu, German: Schlacht um Moskau) is the name given to the Nazi strategic offensive named Operation Typhoon, and a series of Soviet strategic and smaller-scale operations executed during the defense of Moscow, and the subsequent Soviet counter-offensive, that occurred between October 1941 and January 1942 on the Eastern Front during World War II as a response to the Hitler's strategy that considered Moscow, capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the largest Soviet city, to be the primary military and political objective for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union. A separate operational German plan, codenamed Operation Wotan, was included in the final phase of the German offensive.

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Major Varangian trade routes

The Caspian expeditions of the Rus were military raids undertaken by the Rus between 864 and 1041 on the Caspian Sea shores. Initially, the Rus appeared in Serkland in the 9th century traveling as merchants along the Volga trade route, selling furs, honey, and slaves. The first small-scale raids took place in the late 9th and early 10th century. The Rus undertook the first large-scale expedition in 913; having arrived on 500 ships, they pillaged Gorgan, in the territory of present day Iran, and the adjacent areas, taking slaves and goods. On their return, the northern raiders were attacked and defeated by Khazar Muslims in the Volga Delta, and those who escaped were killed by the local tribes on the middle Volga. During their next expedition in 943, the Rus captured Barda, the capital of Arran, in the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan. Sviatoslav, prince of Kiev, commanded the next attack, which destroyed the Khazar state in 965. Sviatoslav's campaign established the Rus's hold on the north-south trade routes, helping to alter the demographics of the region. Raids continued through the time period with the last Scandinavian attempt to reestablish the route to the Caspian Sea taking place in 1041 by Ingvar the Far-Travelled.

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National Anthem of Russia

The Hymn of the Russian Federation (Russian: Государственный гимн Российской Федерации, Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii) is the national anthem of Russia. It is an adaptation of the national anthem of the Soviet Union of 1944, with music originally composed by Alexander Alexandrov. The lyrics were revised for the anthem of the Russian Federation by Sergey Mikhalkov, who had supplied lyrics for versions of the Soviet anthem in 1943 and 1977. The revision removes any mention of Vladimir Lenin's ideas and the "unbreakable union" of the Soviet state, instead focusing on a country that is vast in area and rich in resources that will be entrusted to future generations. The hymn was adopted in late 2000 by President Vladimir Putin and replaced The Patriotic Song, which had been the official anthem from 1990. Before and after the adoption of the new anthem, liberal groups raised concerns that the re-adoption of the Soviet anthem was returning Russia to the Soviet era.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/4

Napoléon at the Battle of Austerlitz, by François Pascal Simon

The Battle of Austerlitz was a major engagement in the Napoleonic Wars during the War of the Third Coalition. It was fought on December 2, 1805 about four miles (6.4 km) east of the modern Czech town of Brno, then part of the Austrian Empire. The conflict involved forces of the recently formed First French Empire against the armies of the Russian Empire and the Austrian Empire. After nearly nine hours of fighting, the French troops, commanded by Emperor Napoleon I, managed to score a decisive victory over the Russo-Austrian army, commanded by Czar Alexander I. Despite difficult fighting in many sectors, the battle is often regarded as a tactical masterpiece. Austerlitz effectively brought the Third Coalition to an end.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/5
The Second Battle of Smolensk was a major World War II Red Army offensive in western Russia, staged almost simultaneously with the Battle of the Lower Dnieper. The two-month offensive led by Generals Andrei Yeremenko and Vasily Sokolovsky was aimed at clearing the German presence from the Smolensk and Bryansk regions. Smolensk had been under German occupation since the first Battle of Smolensk in 1941. Despite an impressive German defense setup, the Red Army was able to stage several breakthroughs, liberating several major cities, including Smolensk and Roslavl, and moving into occupied Belorussia. Although playing a major military role in its own right, the Smolensk Operation was also important for its effect on the Battle of Dnieper. It has been estimated that as many as 55 German divisions were committed to counter the Smolensk Operation—divisions that were critically needed to prevent Soviet troops from crossing the Dnieper River in the south. Additionally, the operation allowed the Red Army to repulse German forces definitively from the Smolensk landbridge, historically the most important approach for an attack on Moscow from the west.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/6

Polish defences at Miłosna, near Warsaw

The Battle of Warsaw (Russian: Варшáвское сражéние, Polish: Bitwa Warszawska; sometimes referred to as the Miracle at the Vistula, Polish: Cud nad Wisłą) was the decisive battle of the Polish-Soviet War, which began soon after the end of World War I in 1918 and lasting until the Treaty of Riga (1921). The Battle of Warsaw was fought from 13 to 25 August 1920 as Red Army forces commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevski approached the Polish capital of Warsaw and nearby Modlin Fortress. On August 16, Polish forces commanded by Józef Piłsudski counter-attacked from the south, forcing the Russian forces into a disorganised withdrawal eastward and behind the Niemen River. Estimated Bolshevik losses were 10,000 killed, 500 missing, 10,000 wounded and 66,000 taken prisoner, compared with Polish losses of some 4,500 killed, 10,000 missing and 22,000 wounded. Before the Polish victory at the Vistula, both the Bolsheviks and the majority of foreign experts considered Poland to be on the verge of defeat. The stunning, unexpected Polish victory crippled the Bolshevik forces. In the following months, several more Polish victories secured Poland's independence and eastern borders.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/7

Red officers on their horses during the Finnish Civil War

The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The war was fought from January 27, 1918 to May 15, 1918, between the forces called the "Reds" led by the People's Deputation of Finland under the control of the Finnish Social Democrats, and the forces called the "Whites", led by the Senate of Vaasa representing the Senate of Finland formed by the bourgeois parties. The defeat in World War I and the February and October revolutions in 1917 caused a total collapse of the Russian Empire; and the destruction of the mother country resulted in a corresponding breakdown of Finnish society during 1917. As there were no generally accepted police and army forces to keep order in Finland after March 1917, the left and right began building security groups of their own, leading to the emergence of two independent armed military troops, the White and Red Guards. The Whites were the victors in the war that followed. The Civil War remains the most controversial and emotionally loaded event in the history of modern Finland. Approximately 37,000 people died during the conflict, including casualties at the war fronts, and deaths from political terror campaigns and high prison camp mortality. The turmoil destroyed the economy, split the political apparatus, and divided the Finnish nation for many years.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/8

German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, shelling Westerplatte

The Polish September Campaign was the conquest of Poland by the armies of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small contingent of Slovak forces during the Second World War. The campaign began on 1 September 1939 following a German-staged attack. This military operation, which saw the first use of Blitzkrieg tactics, marked the start of the Second World War in Europe as the invasion led Poland's allies, the United Kingdom and France, to declare war on Germany on September 3. On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Red Army invaded the eastern regions of Poland. The Soviets were acting in co-operation with Nazi Germany, carrying out their part of the secret appendix of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the division of Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence). The campaign ended on 6 October 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/9
The Soviet invasion of Poland of 1939 was a military operation that started on September 17, 1939, during the early stages of World War II, sixteen days after the Nazi German attack on Poland. It ended in a decisive victory for the Soviet Union's Red Army. On August 23, the Soviets signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany, and on 1 September, the Germans invaded Poland from the west. The Red Army invaded Poland from the east on 17 September after several calls by Germany to do so. The Soviet government announced that it was acting to protect the Ukrainians and Belarusians who lived in the eastern part of Poland, claiming that the Polish state had collapsed in the face of the German attack and could no longer guarantee the security of its own citizens. The Red Army quickly achieved its targets, meeting only light Polish resistance. 6,000 to 7,000 Polish soldiers died in the fighting, and 230,000 or more were taken as prisoners of war. The Soviet government annexed the territory newly under its control and in November declared that the 13.5 million Polish citizens who lived there were now Soviet citizens. The Soviets quelled opposition by executing and arresting thousands. During the existence of the People's Republic of Poland, the invasion was considered a delicate subject, almost taboo, and was often omitted from official history in order to preserve the illusion of "eternal friendship" between members of the Eastern Bloc.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/10
The Katyn massacre was a mass execution of Polish citizens by the order of Soviet authorities in 1940. About 8,000 of those killed were reserve officers taken prisoner during the 1939 Invasion of Poland, but the dead also included many civilians who had been arrested for being "intelligence agents and gendarmes, spies and saboteurs, former landowners, factory owners and officials". Since Poland's conscription system required every unexempted university graduate to become a reserve officer, the Soviets were thus able to round up much of the Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, Georgian and Belarusian intelligentsias of Polish citizenship. The 1943 discovery of mass graves at Katyn Forest by Germany, after its armed forces had occupied the site in 1941, precipitated a rupture of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish government-in-exile in London. The Soviet Union continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when it acknowledged that the NKVD had in fact committed the massacres and the subsequent cover-up. The Russian government has admitted Soviet responsibility for the massacres, although it does not classify them a war crime or an act of genocide, as this would have necessitated the prosecution of surviving perpetrators, which is what the Polish government has requested.

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Approximate location of Kengir camp in Kazakhstan

The Kengir uprising was a prisoner uprising that took place in the Soviet prison labor camp Kengir in the spring of 1954. It was distinct from other Gulag uprisings in the same period in its duration and intensity. After the murder of some of their fellow prisoners by guards, Kengir inmates launched a rebellion and proceeded to seize the entire camp compound, holding it for weeks and creating a period of freedom for themselves unique in the history of the Gulag. This situation lasted for an unprecedented length of time and gave rise to a panoply of colourful and novel activity, including the democratic formation of a provisional government by the prisoners, prisoner marriages, the creation of indigenous religious ceremonies, a brief flowering of art and culture, and the waging of a large, relatively complex propaganda campaign against the erstwhile authorities. After 40 days of freedom within the camp walls, intermittent negotiation, and mutual preparation for violent conflict, the uprising was brutally suppressed by Soviet armed forces. The story of the uprising was first committed to history in The Gulag Archipelago, a nonfiction work by former-prisoner and Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/12

Location of Belarus

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, that borders Russia to the north and east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk. Until the 20th century, the Belarusians lacked the opportunity to create a distinctive national identity, since the lands of modern-day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Duchy of Polatsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. After the short-lived Belarusian People's Republic (1918–19), Belarus became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Byelorussian SSR. The final unification of Belarusian lands within its modern borders took place in 1939, when the ethnically Belarusian lands that were part of interwar Poland were annexed by the USSR and attached to the Soviet Belarus. The parliament of the republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on July 27, 1990, and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on August 25, 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country's president since 1994. Since 1996, Belarus has been negotiating with Russia to unify into a single state called the Union of Russia and Belarus.

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Polish defenses near Milosna

The Polish-Soviet War was the war that determined the borders between two nascent states in post–World War I Europe. This armed struggle was a result of conflicting attempts—by Poland, whose statehood had just been re-established after her being partitioned in the late 18th century, to secure territories which she had lost in partitions or earlier—and by Soviets who aimed to take control of the same territories that had since then been part of Imperial Russia until their occupation by Germany during World War I. Both states claimed victory in the war: the Poles claimed a successful defense of their state, while the Soviets claimed a repulse of the Polish Kiev Offensive, which was sometimes viewed as part of foreign interventions in the Russian Civil War.

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The National Assembly of Wallachia in 1837

Regulamentul Organic was a quasi-constitutional organic law enforced in 1831-1832 by the Imperial Russian authorities in Moldavia and Wallachia (the two Danubian Principalities that were to become the basis of the modern Romanian state). The official onset of a common Russian protectorate lasting until 1854, and itself officially in place until 1858, the document signified a partial confirmation of traditional government (including rule by the hospodars). Conservative in its scope, it also engendered a period of unprecedented reforms which provided a setting for the Westernization of local society. The Regulament offered the two Principalities their first common system of government.

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Guests from Overseasby Nicholas Roerich (1899)

The Rus' Khaganate was a polity that flourished during a poorly documented period in the history of Eastern Europe (roughly the late 8th and early to mid-9th centuries CE). A predecessor to the Rurik Dynasty and the Kievan Rus', the Rus' Khaganate was a state (or a cluster of city-states) set up by Varangians (Scandinavians) in what is today northern Russia. The region's population at that time was composed of Slavic, Finnic, and Norse peoples. The varangians were called Rhos or Rus. The region was also a center of operations for eastern Scandinavian adventurers, merchants and pirates. According to contemporaneous sources, the population centers of the region, which may have included the proto-towns of Holmgard (Novgorod), Aldeigja (Ladoga), Lyubsha, Alaborg, Sarskoe Gorodishche, and Timerevo, were under the rule of a monarch or monarchs using the Old Turkic title Khagan. The Rus' Khaganate period marked the genesis of a distinct Rus' ethnos, and its successor states would include Kievan Rus' and later states from which modern Russia evolved.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/16

Russian soldier wearing modern body armour

The Russian Ground Forces (Russian: Сухопутные войска Российской Федерации, tr.: Suhopútnyje vojská Rossíjskoj Federácii) are the land forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. While the Russian Ground Forces in their present form are only fifteen years old, Russian officials trace their antecedents' history through the Imperial Russian era back to the time of Kievan Rus. Since 1992 the Ground Forces have had to withdraw many thousands of troops from former Soviet garrisons abroad, while being extensively committed to the Chechen wars, and peacekeeping and other operations in the Soviet successor states (what is known in Russia as the "near abroad"). Currently, the Armed Forces as a whole are in the middle of a major equipment upgrade, the State Armaments Programme 2007-2015 which is expected to replace 45% of the military inventory in the army and navy. With this significant influx of funding, then defence minister Sergei Ivanov stated that he wanted to exceed the Soviet military in combat readiness. A British CSRC report in May 2007, while noting the increase in funding, compares the speed of change in the Armed Forces to Royal Navy reforms in the early 19th century and predicts no new rise in combat readiness for years.

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A Scene from the Caucasian War, by Franz Roubaud (1856–1928)

The Russian–Circassian War was the period of hostilities between the Russian Empire and the inhabitants of Circassia during the Russian invasion and occupation of the Circassian region. Circassia was a region in Caucasia which consisted of the coastline and most of the interior of the current territory of Krasnodar Krai and Adygea. The historical region, now mainly North Ossetia–Alania, was named after the traditional inhabitants, the Circassians, Adyghe or Adiga, along with a number of smaller ethnic groups and tribes. The Russian–Circassian conflict began with the initial arrival of Russian occupation forces in 1763, and ended with the signing of several Russian loyalty oaths by Circassian leaders on June 2, 1864 (May 21, O.S.). While the Russian–Circassian War began as an isolated conflict, Russian expansion through the entire region soon brought it into conflict with a number of other nations in what later became known as the Caucasian War, and of which the Russian–Circassian War became a part. Both came to an end with the signing of the loyalty oaths to Russia, and with the total occupation of the region by Russian forces, which involved the mass migration of millions of indigenous Circassians to areas of the Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Kosovo), with some Circassian historians citing that up to 4,000,000 civilians perished during the exodus.

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A T-34 Model 1943

The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. It was widely regarded as the world's best tank when the Soviet Union entered the Second World War, and although its armour and armament were surpassed by later WWII tanks, it is credited as the war's most effective, efficient and influential design. First produced at the KhPZ factory in Kharkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine), it was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout World War II, and widely exported afterwards. It was the most-produced tank of the war, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series. The T-34 was still in service with twenty-seven countries as late as 1996.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/19

Students in Obmas with models of project assignments

Vkhutemas was the Russian state art and technical school founded in 1920 in Moscow. The workshops were established by a decree from Vladimir Lenin with the intentions, in the words of the Soviet government, "to prepare master artists of the highest qualifications for industry, and builders and managers for professional-technical education." The school had 100 faculty members and an enrollment of 2500 students. Vkhutemas was formed by a merger of two previous schools: the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and the Stroganov School of Applied Arts. The workshops had artistic and industrial faculties; the art faculty taught courses in graphics, sculpture and architecture while the industrial faculty taught courses in printing, textiles, ceramics, woodworking, and metalworking. It was a center for three major movements in avant garde art and architecture: constructivism, rationalism, and suprematism. In the workshops, the faculty and students transformed views of art and reality with the use of precise geometry with an emphasis on space, in one of the great revolutions in the history of art. In 1926, the school was reorganised under a new rector and its name was changed from "Studios" to "Institute", or Vkhutein. It was dissolved in 1930, after political and internal pressures throughout its ten-year existence.

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Fighting on Krakowskie Przedmieście by Juliusz Kossak

The Warsaw Uprising of 1794 (otherwise the "Warsaw Insurrection"); was an armed Polish insurrection by the city's populace early in the Kościuszko Uprising. Supported by the Polish Army, it aimed to throw off Russian control of the Polish capital. It began April 17, 1794, soon after Tadeusz Kościuszko's victory at Racławice. Although the Russian forces were more numerous and better equipped, the Polish regular forces and militia, armed with rifles and sabers from the Warsaw Arsenal, inflicted heavy losses on the surprised enemy garrison. Russian soldiers found themselves under crossfire, shot at from all sides and from buildings, and several units broke early and suffered heavy casualties in their retreat. Kościuszko's envoy, Tomasz Maruszewski, and Ignacy Działyński and others had been laying the groundwork for the uprising since the spring of 1793. They succeeded in winning popular support: a National Militia was formed from several thousand volunteers, led by Jan Kiliński, a master shoemaker and one of Warsaw's notable residents. Apart from the militia, the most famous units to take part in the liberation of Warsaw were formed of Poles who had previously been forcibly conscripted into the Russian service. A witness to the fighting was Jan Piotr Norblin, a French-born Polish painter who created a set of sketches and paintings of the struggle.

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Finnish T-26 at the Parola Tank Museum

The T-26 was a light tank used by the Soviet Union from the 1930s until World War II. It was based on the British Vickers 6-Ton tank and widely considered one of the most successful designs of the 1930s. The T-26 made-up the majority of the Red Army's armour force until late 1941, and saw a long history in the armed forces of various different nations around the world. For almost a decade the T-26 proved to be one of the best tanks in production, with a total of around 12,000 units produced. Success and failure in the Spanish Civil War, where it served as the most widely used tank, ultimately played a major role in influencing the Soviet doctrine of tank warfare in the late 1930s. The T-26 participated in German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 as one of the most numerous tanks in service, contributing to the defense of the Soviet Union. Although the T-26's reputation was marred by its abysmal performance during World War II, it was nevertheless the most important tank of the Spanish Civil War and played major roles during the Winter War and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939. Between its introduction and its retirement, the T-26 saw a great deal of modernization efforts between 1932 and 1941.

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1956 Revolution Flag flying in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Neo-Stalinist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from October 23 until November 10, 1956. It began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building. The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State police force and Soviet troops. The new government formally disbanded the State police force, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. On November 4, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest using artillery and air strikes, killing thousands of civilians. Organized resistance ceased by 10 November 1956, and mass arrests began. An estimated 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. By January 1957 the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Eastern Europe, cultivating the perception that communism was both irreversible and monolithic. Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate.

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Portal:Russia/Selected article/23

The film was based on Pavlik Morozov

Bezhin Meadow is a 1937 Soviet Union film, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, which is renowned for having been suppressed and believed destroyed before its completion. It tells the story of a young farm boy whose father attempts to betray the government for political reasons by sabotaging the year's harvest, the son's efforts to stop his own father to protect the Soviet state, and culminates in the boy's murder and a social uprising. The film draws its title from a story by Ivan Turgenev, but is based on the life of Pavlik Morozov, a young Russian boy who became a political martyr following his death in 1932, after he denounced his father to Soviet government authorities and subsequently died at the hands of his family. The boy was immortalized in school programs, poetry, music, and in film. Commissioned by a Communist youth group, the film's production ran from 1935 to 1937, until it was halted by the central Soviet government for alleged artistic, social, and political failures in the film's content. Some, however, blamed the failure of Bezhin Meadow on government interference and policies, extending all the way to Joseph Stalin himself. In the wake of the film's failure, Eisenstein publicly recanted his work as an error. Individuals were arrested during and after the ensuing debacle and, in one case, a government official was executed as an alleged foreign spy.

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