Talk:Rudolf Abel

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Good article Rudolf Abel has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

45 year sentence?[edit]

The body of the article says that Fisher was sentenced to 30, 10 and 5 year terms of imprisonment to run concurrently. If this is accurate, then it is misleading to say in the lede that he was sentenced to 45 years. --catslash (talk) 19:29, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes that is correct, 45 years. It is referenced/cited in Capture and later section. Adamdaley (talk) 23:44, 10 February 2012 (UTC)


I think his name at birth was William Fisher. I don't see the point of this roman transliteration of a Russian transliteration of William. Yes, that's what the Russians called him for the short length of time he was in Russia before going to the USA, but so what? He was later more famous as Rudolf Abel (see the stamp). Either call him William Fisher or Rudolf Abel, not this.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:07, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Error in sentencing wording[edit]

It is incorrect to state that Abel was sentenced to 45 years in prison. He was sentenced for three crimes each with a separate sentence of 30, 10, and 5 years. These sentences were to be served concurrently. This means that he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. If the separate sentences were to be served consecutively, then it would be correct to state that he was sentenced to 45 years in prison. The bottom line is, if he served his full sentence how long would Abel have stayed in prison. 30 years or 45 years. In his case, 30 years. Throckmorton Guildersleeve (talk) 13:22, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

In the opening it states 45 years imprisonment (a total of imprisonment for the three counts). I guess I could reference the length of imprisonment after each count. Adamdaley (talk) 06:00, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Africai edits[edit]

In recent edits by Africai to include James B. Donovan's involvement as defense lawyer for Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher (aka Rudolf Ivanovich Abel), I have made the following observations:

  • Reference No. 56 quote "Assignment of James B. Donovan as Counsel, United States of America vs. Rudolph Invanovich Abel, Order of United States District Judge Matthew T. Abruzzo". This reference number does not point to a newspaper article or book (in print or digital). Therefore should (and will) be taken out altogether. Yes check.svg Done
  • Reference No. 57 quote "Donovan, (1964) p. 15–16." was added in response to the sentence "Fisher chose James Britt Donovan, a well known lawyer from New York and former assistant trial counsel at the Nuremberg Trials for his defense" which can be found in Donovan's hardcover book "Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel" (1964) Atheneum House Inc. New York. in light of Africai's original paragraph re-write made at 13:01, March 14, 2013, this will be changed to "Donovan, (1964), p. 22–26." (which now becomes Reference No. 56) the paperback edition of James B. Donovan's book "Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel" (1964) Atheneum House Inc. New York. LCCN 64-14248 Yes check.svg Done
  • Reference No. 58 quote "Abel, Spy Suspect, Accepts Donovan; Russian Has Long Talk With Former O.S.S. Counsel Who Will Defend Him Returned to Detention Cell" points to a digital copy of a New York Times article, published in print August 22, 1957, by Mildred Murphy. Verification can only be obtained by paid subscription. This New York Times article will be moved to the External links section and the {{subscription required}} template will be placed at the end of this to indicate a paid subscription is required to access the article. Yes check.svg Done
  • It should be noted the spelling of Rudolf is Germanic in origin and is predominately used in Czech, Dutch, German and Scandinavian. It can therefore be presumed this is the spelling Abel would use. The spelling variant in English is Rudolph. For consistency in the article I chose to use the Germanic spelling. Yes check.svg Done

Should Africai contribute further information to articles, care should be taken the material submitted is covered in the original referencing. If further referencing is required please note that the newly added referencing will interfere with the numerical sequence referencing of that article. Please refer to the article's talkpage and discuss improvements prior to editing the article. Should you need any advice or help please feel free to contact me on my talkpage. Adamdaley (talk) 07:13, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Recent edits by[edit]

I note your interest in Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher article and believe the edits you have made not to be constructive. Perhaps you could use the talkpage to assertively explain in which way your edits improve the previous version of the article. Semantics? I have restored the article with a minor fix to reference number 56. Adamdaley (talk) 05:12, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

OK, I think most of the editing you didn't like is not a big deal. I did make some minor reverts back as I think they are preferable, but this is mostly a question of style, not substance. Yours, Quis separabit? 17:37, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

speednat edits[edit]

There are certain things one looks for when editing an article, in this case Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher:

1. Has the editor discussed the changes on the talkpage prior to editing the article?
2. Has the editor made constructive or improved changes to the article?
3. Has the editor used the same English throughout the article? In this case "American English". See the talkpage for the "American English" template.
4. Has the editor used the referencing style already existing in the article? For an example:
Example: <ref name="Example, 1989, p. xxx">Example (1989), p. xxx.</ref>
5. Has the editor added any further books or external links that they have used for the additional information? See the Bibliography section for the formatting.
6. With your addition of "Vilyam August Fisher" in the Infobox, the spelling of Wiiliam is incorrect. As for the referencing (Reference Number 3) for "William August Fisher" both in the Infobox and article opening paragraph, your inclusion of the Encyclopedia Britannica (2010), I cannot verify this source therefore it will be removed. The next reference (Reference Number 4), in the book of Haynes/Klehr (2006), page 165, there is no reference to "August" and therefore incorrect. Yes check.svg Done
7. I have added two additional codenames for William Fisher to the Infobox, with referencing to Vin Arthey (2004) book on page xvi. Yes check.svg Done
8. The book (Reference Number 5) by Katherine A.S. Sibley, (2004). Red Spies in America. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1351-X. I do not have this book and has been ordered from This reference will be placed on hold and will be added at a later date. On hold
9. The sentence you added concerning Fishers' father, I do not consider it relevant. Therefore will be removed from the main article. Yes check.svg Done
10. I have made a small correction to Reference Number 58. Yes check.svg Done

I would like to add that of the twelve "Fisher" books in my possession the Arthey, Vin. (2004). Like Father Like Son: A Dynasty of Spies. St. Ermin's Press in association with Little Brown. London. ISBN 1-903608-07-4. does refer to William August Fisher and his name became Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher when the family to the Soviet Union. Page 73. This was a one-twelve-references in which case I decided to go with the eleven other books. Adamdaley (talk) 03:58, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

I have replied on your talk page as this is not the forum for a discussion such as this. In fact on second thought, I moved the entire "conversation" to your talk page because of the aforementioned proper place for a discussion as this. speednat (talk) 05:39, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
I am amazed at your ego. I do not have to run things by you or anyone else to edit on Wikipedia. Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with Wiki etiquette:
1. If you read Help:Editing you will notice that only on major edits is it suggested that you discuss them on the talk page. First point is whether adding a birth name is a major edit, second point is it is still a suggestion as there are no rules.
2. Self-explanatory, obviously they are constructive edits and I believe my history speaks for itself.
3. If I am using anything other than American English please point it out as well I am American.
4. Granted, on this point, I did not use the same reference style but rather than deleting all of the useful edits, one can try to be non-confrontational and either fix them or hey here's a thought... use my talk page and let me know and I would have gladly fixed it.
5. I am not sure what your point is!!
6. Let me quote you here "I cannot verify this source therefore it will be removed." Are you for real. So if you do not have the book then it can't be used. See point about ego in beginning.
7. Thank you. I guess.
8. See point 6.
9. If that was your only objection to my edit and your only change, I would leave it alone and not make a big deal out of it, but since the big deal has already been made, see point about ego.
10. Thank you again. I guess. speednat (talk) 05:38, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
Speaking of number's of books with information, all of the books I read that state a "birth name" concur with William ...Fisher. Granted one did miss the August portion. On a side note it seems like you are a little too involved in the article. Maybe you need to take a step back, if you can't allow other people to make changes to articles that you are watching. speednat (talk) 05:54, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
One more point, then I am done for a few days, as I am not going to waste too much time on this. What do other editors that care about this article think? Please can some other parties state their opinions. If I am wrong, I will gladly tuck my tail and walk away. speednat (talk) 06:18, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
G'day all, I have previously worked on this article as a reviewer (I think at A-class), although I don't claim to be knowledgable on the subject at all. That said, it seems to me that this is simply a case of sources having information that conflicts. This, unfortunately, happens quite a bit in the area I work in mainly (military history). When that happens, I think it best to include both perspectives within reason. In this case, I think it probably would be ok to include mention of the other name that some authors list for him, even if all sources don't agree. For instance a quick sentence in the early life section would probably do it, such as: "Some authors, such as INSERT NAME, record Fisher's birth name as "William August Fisher", and state that it was changed to "Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher" when the family to the Soviet Union..." Or something similar if that is what the sources say. That would seem to me, to be a good compromise. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 10:19, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
In the next 48 hours, I'll be updating the article with AustralianRupert's suggestion of placing a note of the variation of Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher, since I have received Katherine A.S. Sibleys' book: (2004). Red Spies in America: Stolen Secrets and the Dawn of the Cold War. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1351-X; Along with other formatting changes. Adamdaley (talk) 00:58, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
The note was added last week, with corrected reference, thanks though. speednat (talk) 18:14, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

I do acknowledge a note was placed in the article concerning his birth name. Since then I've made several improvements to the article. Especially to the Early life and the KGB service. I've also added: Sibley, Katherine A.S. (2004). Red Spies in America: Stolen Secrets and the Dawn of the Cold War. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1351-X – which was placed "on hold" several weeks ago; It now has been moved to the Further reading section. Adamdaley (talk) 08:18, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Уильям Фишер августа[edit]

Whoever put this 'native' name in 'Russian' obviously doesn't speak the language as this does not even look like a name to any native Russian speaker like myself. Google Translate cannot help you in this case, believe me. Besides, if Fisher was born in the UK to UK residents and his birth name was English he could not have been officially given a 'Russian' variant of the name so it's pointless to include one in here as any 'Russian' name you could ever come up with would be your own invention (and, BTW, there could be several variants/translations, but NOT 'Уильям Фишер августа'), but not reliable, encyclopaedic and referenced information. --Garik 11 (talk) 13:11, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

That makes sense to me. Why would a British-born person have a Russian name on birth certificate, they wouldn't. Now, that doesn't mean that later in life they didn't change their name to a Russian version. But to include the Russian in the birth name section seemed odd to me too. speednat (talk) 16:19, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
You are right, although I never referenced the "Russian translation" of Fisher's name, nor did I claim Fisher ever had a Russian name on his UK birth certificate. I refer to the first paragraph in "Early career" where I explained and referenced his name change. Feel free to delete and/or the correct "Russian" spelling. Are there any reliable references stating Fisher not only consulted on "The Dead Season", but appeared in the movie? Adamdaley (talk) 07:47, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 20 December 2014[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved (non-admin closure) --Mdann52talk to me! 20:49, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Vilyam Genrikhovich FisherRudolf Abel – Wikipedia should use the most WP:COMMONNAME for the title. Even the article itself says that the person is "better known by the alias Rudolf Ivanovich Abel". Google Books search returns 49 results for "Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher" [1], 36 for "Vilyam Fisher" [2] and 11,700 hits for "Rudolf Abel" [3]. Similar situation is with Google News: 223 hits for "Rudolf Abel" [4], 35 for "Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher" [5], and 26 for "Vilyam Fisher" [6]. Vanjagenije (talk) 21:50, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Oppose – I do oppose the changing of Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher (...the current article name) to Rudolf Abel. As anyone can see I have done a lot of work for the article. All the names, aliases and codenames have been mentioned in relation to Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher and there is no confusion. Also you and for anyone else can clearly see from the article history that there has been no motion to move the article from its current name to a former deceased friend of Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher. Adamdaley (talk) 05:17, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Adamdaley, I am not talking about the confusion. The article is well written, and there is no confusion. I am talking about the WP:COMMONNAME which is a Wikipedia policy we should follow ("[Wikipedia] prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources."). Do you have any evidence to prove that English-language reliable sources prefer to use "Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher" and not "Rudolf Abel"? For more than 10 years, since the very first revision of this article [7], it includes the sentence that the subject is "better known by one of his many aliases, Rudolf Abel". And no one ever tried to remove this. That means that we have a consensus that he is best known as "Rudolf Abel". Now we just should follow the COMMONNAME policy, it's not so complicated. Vanjagenije (talk) 21:20, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
WP:COMMONNAME is not a policy; it's strategy in support of WP:RECOGNIZABILITY, which is one of the 5 title WP:CRITERIA. Dicklyon (talk) 07:32, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Actually, WP:COMMONNAME is a policy. See the top of the page: "This page documents an English Wikipedia policy". Vanjagenije (talk) 09:38, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Support Move No different than the article on Margaretha Geertruida "Margreet" Zelle MacLeod being at Mata Hari. --Lineagegeek (talk) 23:14, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Support Move agree to the argument Lineagegeek made. MisterBee1966 (talk) 07:20, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
Support move to Rudolf Abel, per nom. Dicklyon (talk) 08:12, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Code names in article[edit]

Giving the agents codenames as "MARK" and "ARTUR" seems to run counter to the manual of style on using all capitals. If its for emphasis it should be italics. GraemeLeggett (talk) 22:41, 22 December 2014 (UTC)


I've tried to fix the archiving setup so that we get numbered archives instead of monthly ones since there isn't enough traffic for monthly archives. That doesn't seem to have worked, for all I can tell; the archviebox claims that there are no archives while Talk:Rudolf Abel/Archive 1 definitely exists. I'll try to keep an eye on this page, but if anybody else sees where I went wrong, a fix would be appreciated. Huon (talk) 21:27, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Fixed, the bot maintains a separate index of archives. Huon (talk) 21:31, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

DefaultSort and Persondata[edit]

Should the DefaultSort and Persondata be upgraded to reflect the change of article name from Vilyam Genrikovich Fisher to Rudolf Abel? Adamdaley (talk) 21:33, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes, of course. Per WP:NAMESORT (The sort key should mirror the article's title as closely as possible...) and per WP:PERSON#Name_and_titles (The person's most commonly known name should be in the NAME= field). Vanjagenije (talk) 21:41, 29 December 2014 (UTC)