In one of those mysterious bits of sleight of hand they love so well, the Russians last week switched their occupation of East Germany from military to civilian control—something the Western allies did four years ago. The brass-heavy Soviet Control Commission was abolished, and General Vasily Chuikov, top man in East Germany for nearly four years, was nominally reduced to mere command of Soviet occupation troops in East Germany.

As new occupation boss, or "supreme commissar," Moscow appointed bald Vladimir Semenov, a personable or non-Vishinsky type of diplomat, until recently chief political adviser to Chuikov and Soviet ambassador to the East...

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