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Nikolai Vasenin dies; Russian fought with French resistance in WWII

MOSCOW - Nikolai Vasenin, a Russian who fought in the French resistance during World War II, died yesterday at age 95, the Tass news agency reported.

Vasenin had been hospitalized in intensive care since Dec. 1 in Berezovsky, a town near the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, the agency reported, citing a hospital official. No cause of death was given.

A documentary film about Vasenin is scheduled to premiere in May as part of celebrations for the 70th anniversary of Victory Day.

Vasenin was captured by Nazi German troops shortly after their 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union and sent to a camp in France, but he managed to escape and joined the resistance fighters. By the end of the war, he was commander of his own unit.

When the war was over, he returned to the Soviet Union, but instead of being greeted as a war hero he was sent to a labor camp for 15 years. This was a fate shared by many Soviet soldiers who had fallen into enemy hands and as a result were seen by dictator Josef Stalin as potential traitors. In an interview in October about the upcoming documentary, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said all veterans who fought against the Nazis should be honored equally.

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