Between the end of the Russian Civil War in 1921 and Stalin’s death in 1953, the Soviet secret police sentenced over 4 million persons on political grounds. Over 800,000 were shot and millions died in the slave camps of the Gulag system. At the height of the mass-repression – the Great Terror of 1937/38 – foreigners were in great jeopardy. Knowing that a major war was coming, Iosif Stalin and his cohorts decided to rid Soviet society of all perceived or potential ‘enemies’. Among the putative ‘Fifth Columnists’ were non-Russian ethnic minorities, political refugees from fascism and foreign-born Communists. At least three of these countless victims were of Irish nationality. This book describes their social background, how and why they entered the semi-clandestine world of Communism and the reasons for their residence in the USSR. Patrick Breslin was a graduate of the International Lenin School who turned to journalism and translating. Brian Goold-Verschoyle’s visits to Moscow were periodic until his masters in the Soviet espionage service sent him to the Spanish cockpit in 1937. Finally, McAteer was given political refugee status in the new Russia in 1923 after his flight from Scotland Yard. He used his language skills to proselytize sailors for the world revolution or to teach students the rudiments of English in exotic Odessa. Each man in turn knew by time of arrest that the secret police NKVD rarely released or acquitted anybody; and the fabricated charges they were faced with increased their sense of isolation and hopelessness. This realisation was all the more bitter considering the faith they had placed in the Soviet experiment.