Year 10 History - the Petrov Affair

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  • Topic: Soviet Union, KGB, Australian Labor Party
  • Pages : 3 (1205 words )
  • Download(s) : 202
  • Published : February 21, 2011
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Year 10 History essay
1. Outline all the ways in which the Labor Party was impacted on by the Petrov Affair.

The petrov affair was started when Vladimir Petrov defected to Australia from the Soviet Union on the 3rd of April 1954. The whole affair dominated Australia’s headlines and the defection came to be regarded as the most important of the cold war era. The defection occurred after ASIO was alerted to Petrov by a part time ASIO agent who met Petrov at a Russian social club. Petrov, not suspecting his ties with ASIO, confided in him his troubles at the Soviet Embassy. The details of the defection were negotiated over 6 weeks, the main concern of ASIO to obtain documents off Petrov containing evidence of soviet espionage and infiltration of Australian government agencies. When the defection was uncovered by the soviet embassy, it accused Australia of kidnapping Petrov. They then proceeded to move Mrs Petrov and place her under house arrest at the soviet embassy. Two armed couriers arrived to escort her to Sydney airport and back to Russia (presumably to punishment and possible death). The Australian public believed she was being taken by force back to Russia to be executed, as she was the wife of a communist defector. So, by the time she arrived at Mascot airport on the 19th of April, a large mob had gathered to ‘save her’. The crowd surrounded Mrs Petrov and her two escorts, attempting to grab her and stop her boarding the plane. She eventually made it aboard the plane, and meanwhile ASIO had contacted the pilot and made arrangements to offer Mrs Petrov asylum in Australia when the plane landed in Darwin. She eventually agreed. Menzies announced the defection in parliament on the 13th of April, and seized it in an effort to secure the election scheduled in May 1954. Menzies linked the petrov affair to communism by, after revealing Mr Petrov’s defection, called a royal commission to investigate evidence of espionage, in other words, he suggested that a...
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