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THE AUTHORS grew up in Poland under Soviet domination and were forced to learn Russian, which guaranteed a profound understanding of Soviet-Russian thinking and the smallest nuances of its history. Their experience is varied but pertinent: Przemyslaw Budzbon worked closely with officers of the Soviet Navy for a dozen years, as a constructor of Soviet warships; Marek Twardowski, a curator at the Polish National Maritime Museum, has an outstanding background in professional maritime history; while Jan Radziemski, thanks to a wide network of contacts among historians and maritime enthusiasts in Russia, was able to reach information and sources unavailable to official researchers.