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Basically, I've always been a big fan of Gorbachev and, knowing that the CIA spies spying on the USSR were betrayed right before his arrival on the Soviet political scene, I was wondering if he had any decision-making capability on the actual execution of those men.

Wikipedia lists a number of executed people, but no date. And it doesn't help that the period during which Gorbachev had decision-making power on such executions isn't super clear because he held a number of titles, the meaning of which, in true Soviet style, isn't crystal clear with regards to his power to either order, or suspend, an execution of known spies.

Secondarily, if the Cold War was winding down anyway, why not trade off those spies? Wasn't an exchange of burnt agents pretty much standard practice?

  • why not trade off those spies Even if the illegal activity is the same, people usually make a distinction between the person owing loyalty to your country (your own citizens) or not (foreign agents). The former are not only spies (or saboteurs, or whatever), but also traitors, and usually can expect way less leniency. – SJuan76 Feb 19 at 10:40
  • There is a list of them, on Wikipedia. – Alex Feb 19 at 12:53

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