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In the early 1950s Australia was rocked by the largest spy scandal in its history In April 1954 a Soviet operative called Vladimir Petrov defected to Australia His wife Evdokia followed him soon thereafter It was an instant news sensation worldwide What made it even more appealing as a news item was the fact that Evdokia Petrov was forcibly removed from the custody of Soviet field agents by Australian security forces causing an uproar in both Australia and the Soviet Union The loss of Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov caused serious damaged to the operational ability of the KGB as both defectors were specialists in encryptiondecryption and knew Soviet codes very well The Petrovs were given false identities and lived out the rest of their lives in Australia Vladimir Petrov was born in 1907 to a family of peasants living in Siberia His working life began as a blacksmiths apprentice in 1919 Soon thereafter he joined the Communist Youth Movement Komsomol and finished high school under the system of Soviet indoctrination In 1930 the young Vladimir Petrov joined the Soviet Navy but was recalled to Moscow in 1933 and allowed to enlist in the OGPU later renamed as the KGB He began serving in China in 1937 however he returned less than a year later to work in the cipher section of the OGPU as director By 1943 Vladimir Petrov was a Major He was sent to neutral Sweden where he immediately set about creating a spy network operating out of the Soviet Embassy located in Stockholm Following the conclusion of the war Petrov returned to the KGB head quarters where he spent the next several years until he received a new assignment he was to be a consul effectively spy-master in the Soviet Embassy in Canberra His assignment was to create a full-scale spy ring in Australia and then to wage an espionage campaign against the country His wife Evdokia Petrov
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