By Robert Manne
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Additional resources for The Petrov Affair. Politics and Espionage
F o r the Petrovs it may have been welcomed as a distraction from some of the less dignified aspects of their fall from grace. For indeed between July and September 1953 the Petrovs were far from acting as a hunted and doomed couple under the shadow of an accusation as grave as that concerning the formation inside the Embassy of a Beria faction. Rather, in these months (with the assistance of Bialoguski in Sydney) they had embarked boldly upon a series of extremely dangerous money making ventures.
Both Bialoguski and Petrov now looked towards Dr Beckett. The first meeting was arranged for J a n u a r y 15 but at the last minute Petrov pulled out. O n J a n u a r y 23, however, Bialoguski was able to get Petrov to dinner at the Becketts'. After Bialoguski discreetly absented himself Beckett offered to put Petrov in touch with someone who could help him to stay in Australia and guarantee him the necessary financial assistance and physical protection. When Beckett (quite coincidentally) spoke of the possibilities in Australia of running a restaurant or a chicken farm Petrov seemed to him 'quite enthusias30 t i c ' .
W h a t did Bialoguski want for himself? W a s he in trouble with the police or the B M A (presumably this referred to Bialoguski's abortion practice) or with the Communist Party (certainly this referred t o his undercover work for ASIO)? According t o Spry's memorand u m choosing either to deal with Bialoguski or not to deal with him had its dangers. In the latter case the danger was that Bialoguski m a y take 'Petrov and Wife to the Press'. In the former the dangers were n o less real and certainly more various.