The ex-Russian general who became a major in the German army-he fought on both sides during the war and has photographs and documents to prove it - is still fighting.....
The ex-Russian general who became a major in the German army-he fought on both sides during the war and has photographs and documents to prove it - is still fighting.....fighting for existence on 18/- (eighteen shillings) a week Irish national assistance.
In his one-room basement flat in Pearse Street, Dublin, Mikael Vassiliev looks back on his "turncoat in uniform"career.
"I have nothing to be ashamed off, he said. "I was neither a traitor to my country nor a collaborator with the enemy. I am merely a staunch anti-Communist".
The man who once spent so riotously the roubles and makes he earned as "top brass" in two opposing armies is now counting his Irish pennies.
In 1917 he escaped, when he was sentenced to death as a Czarist officer prisoner, and hid in a forest for almost two years..... until he was caught up in the Red Army general mobilisation. So he turned his coat for the first time.
"I had no choice but to join the army-the Red Army I detested as an anti-Communist.-under an assumed name", he said. His promotion was rapid.
With Hitler's rise to power thrent, Mikael was called up again in 1932 as a reserve major and within two years of quick-fire promotion became a three-star major-general in the Red Army.
His past caught up with him in the 1938 purge, he added. Three years later Mikael was released to fight the Germans. After the Germans captured him he was flown to Berlin on the orders of Field-Marshal Paulus. And so Mikael turned his coat for the second time in his military career.