Expulsion of Britons from USSR
The 14th of September 1985 AD
In spite of the gradual thaw in the Cold War in the 1980s, espionage by both sides was still the order of the day, and at times it could almost descend into a game, though still a deadly one.
After the high-ranking KGB official Oleg Gordievsky, who had been a double agent since at least the 1970s, defected to the UK in July 1985 what appeared to be a match of diplomat-tennis broke out. Gordievsky had worked as head of KGB operation in the UK, and as such was able to provide the British government with details of KGB operatives working as Soviet diplomats. The British duly expelled 25 of them on September 12 1985. Two days later the Soviets returned the serve with equal power, expelling 25 Britons from the USSR. Backing off the power slightly Britain on September 16 sent another six packing from the Soviet embassy, with a touch of spin this time, reducing the number of officials allowed at that embassy by six to 205. Again matching the British shot-for-shot the Russians expelled six more on September 18. At this juncture the rally ended, and nobody seemed to have won the point. Trade had been growing between the countries, and it suited both to end the increasingly farcical situation.
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