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s p o t l i g h t a u t h o r
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My father, Vladimir Mikhailovich Smirnovski, was a professor of mathematics in the Stalingrad Industrial Pedagogical Institute, a key institution. His work was well known. What was little known—except to the KGB—was that his father, Mikhail Petrovich Smirnovski, came from a noble family and had been a Tsarist general. Fortunately for the general and his relatives, he had joined the new Red Army in 1918, had become a Soviet general and retired before Stalin executed his top officers in 1937. The general died peacefully during World War II, having escaped execution or the Gulag. His grandson met a different fate.