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Igor Gouzenko Defection

September 5, 2012 by  

Igor Gouzenko Defection, Igor Sergeyevich Gouzenko (January 13, 1919 – June 28, 1982) was a cipher clerk for the Soviet Embassy to Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. He defected on September 5, 1945, with 109 documents on Soviet espionage activities in the West. This forced Prime Minister Mackenzie King to call a Royal Commission to investigate espionage in Canada.

Gouzenko exposed Joseph Stalin’s efforts to steal nuclear secrets, and the technique of planting sleeper agents. The “Gouzenko Affair” is often credited as a triggering event of the Cold War, with historian Jack Granatstein stating: “I am absolutely certain the Cold War began in Ottawa”. The New York Times described Gouzenko’s actions as having “awakened the people of North America to the magnitude and the danger of Soviet espionage.”

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