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Isaac Babel (1894-1940) was a journalist, playwright, translator and short story writer whose works include the masterpieces Red Cavalry and The Odessa Tales. He was loyal to the communist party but did not restrain from criticizing it. As a result of his long-term affair with the wife of NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov, Babel was arrested in 1939 and executed in a Soviet prison in 1940, after confessing falsely to being a foreign spy and Trotskyite.