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Yevno Azef - terrorist double agent

Yevno Azev came from a poor Jewish family in Belarus. During his early years he participated revolutionary Jewish youth associations. He moved to Germany and in 1893, he came to Police Department with suggestions to become an informant on Russian revolutionaries - students of the Polytechnic Institute in Karlsruhe, and his offer was accepted. Azef's initial salary was 50 rubles.
In 1899 he joined the Union of Socialist Revolutionaries. After the arrest of Grigory Gershuni in 1903, Azef remained a central figure and headed the Fighting Organization of the Social Revolutionaries, which carried out terrorist acts. He organized more than 30 terrorist acts, including the assassinations of Vyacheslav Plehve in 1904 who was the Minister of Internal Affairs and the man who initially recruited him. This gave him a lot of credit in Socialist Revolutionary Party, which in turn allowed him to give away a lot of party members to the Secret Police without being suspected of treason.
In order to avoid disclosure, he prepared part of the terrorist attacks secretly from the Police Department, making every effort to carry them out. Some of the terrorist acts got reported by him in a timely manner, so they were prevented. Thanks to this, both party members and the police considered Azef one of their own. Every time someone tried to expose him, one of the revolutionaries "proved" that a person who organized so many successful terrorist acts cannot be an agent of the secret police. Azef was also of great value to the Security Department, as he gave away all initial members of Socialist Revolutionary Party. At that time, his salary from the Security Department reached 1,000 rubles a month.
Azef was preparing an attempt on the life of Nicholas II, which was supposed to be carried out with the use of special submarine and an aircraft, which should have been constructed specifically for this daring terrorist attack. However, in 1908 Azef was exposed as a provocateur by the publicist Vladimir Burtsev, who confirmed his suspicions with the former director of the Police Department Aleksei Lopukhin. Central Committee of the Socialist Revolutionary Party sentenced Azef to death, but he was able to avoid liquidation and fled to Germany, where he lived in constant fear of being recognised and killed until his death in 1918.


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