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of society, emigre expertise is a critical component of our knowledge of that society.
Many emigres bring with them extraordinarily valuable information concerning the functioning of Soviet society, which is not available to Western governments and area study specialists in any other form.
Let me make an observation. I have lived on academic exchanges for more than two years in the Soviet Union, and scarcely the opportunity passes during which, when I am interviewing or talking with a Soviet emigre, I do not learn something new.
It is very difficult, even if you have had long-term experience in the Soviet Union as a foreigner, to address the kind of aspects that you can develop with the assistance of an insider, so to speak.
Simply put, we need emigres to help us interpret information. They form one of our most important gauges of openness by helping us to recognize and understand what has not been said and what has been said that might be legitimately classified as disinformation.
Fortunately, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are more open today than they were 40 years ago, however, comparative openness makes emigre expertise even more vital because the emigre perspective assists us in seeing the connection between various parts of the Soviet/East European mosaic, a reality which is of sufficient complexity to warrant the assistance of former citizens in helping us make sense of it, especially in its military dimensions.
To the extent that emigre/defectors can familiarize us with training, processes and procedures, they can be extraordinarily useful in helping us understand the Soviet approach to conventional operations. In order to exploit this potential completely, the emigre must be directed to those specialists most capable to use, that is, to interpret and analyze, their information, and this channeling cannot be haphazard but must be the result of a well-organized system. Only in this way can we be sure that we are benefiting to the fullest extent possible from emigre knowledge and experience.
It is important, finally, to keep in mind the fact that with respect to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, all-source information and research interests relate not only to the Soviet military itself but to all aspects of society, since all aspects of society, including the economy, science, technology, arts and the humanities, relate to the national power structure.
A planned, centralized economy such as exists in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe integrates all sectors of the society into the national defense effort. This has been so since the creation of the first five-year plan. Therefore, any emigre may have potentially vital information even if he or she was not directly involved in the official apparatus, that is the military, the government, formal academia, and so on.
What I would like to do now is to defer to my colleague, Mr. Toumanoff, and note that there may be themes and questions that we can develop at greater length in the subsequent question and answer period.
Thank you very much.
TESTIMONY OF VLADIMIR I. TOUMANOFF, EXECUTIVE DIREC
TOR, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SOVIET AND EAST EUROPEAN
Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting me to come and testify. It is a very welcome opportunity.
I wonder how you would like to proceed. I have submitted a written form of my testimony. Would you prefer that I summarize it?
Senator NUNN. A summary will be fine, and your written testimony will be included in the record, without objection."
Mr. TOUMANOFF. In the term Soviet emigres I include defectors of whom there are, I suppose, several hundred, and recent emigres, since the early 1970s of whom there are something on the order of 130,000 now resident in the United States. So we are really talking about a very large number.
For purposes of this discussion, and from the point of view of the value that these Soviet citizens or former Soviet citizens have for the American society, it seems to me that it makes very little difference either in terms of the information and knowledge, insight and comprehension of the Soviet Union that they bring to our society or in terms of the contribution which they can make as fully integrated, productive, creative members of the United States body politic and society, whether they come with the permission of the Soviet government or without it. So in my comments, when I refer to emigres, I would include what is technically known as defectors of whom, I think, as I said, there are several hundred at the most.
My knowledge of emigres really involves my entire life. My parents came in the first wave. My cousins and their friends came in the second wave, which was just after the Second World War.
In the middle 1950s, as a Foreign Service Officer, one of my tasks was to interview Soviet citizens who had escaped to the West for information of interest to the Department of State.
Later, when I was posted by the U.S. Foreign Service to our Embassy in Moscow, I traveled very widely, and spoke with Soviet citizens in all walks of life.
As Director of the National Council for Soviet and East European Research, I have been involved since 1978, in probably the largest systematic survey in the United States of the knowledge of the Soviet Union that the Soviet emigre community has brought to us.
In the late '70s, the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, and the academic community were both very interested in finding out from this very large body of Soviet citizens what they could tell us about the Soviet Union, which we simply didn't know or which we thought we knew but might not in fact be true or accurate.
As a consequence, they both turned to the National Council, that is, the Executive Branch and the academic community, to design, and manage a major survey. That survey has interviewed some
See p. 338.
thing on the order of 6,000 carefully selected Soviet emigres, selected on two principles.
One is a very large group, calculated to act as a surrogate for the Soviet population to the maximum extent that that can be done, taking into account the fact that they are here and not in the Soviet Union, and that there is an ethnic composition and an educational selectivity and other factors which makes them atypical. Others were selected individually for knowledge in great depth of certain specific topics, such as economic management, the political system, the statistical administration, and things like that.
That work has been almost completed. It has been completed in terms of the assembly of data, of information. It has involved 20 or more scholars at a dozen or more universities across the country, and something on the order of 150 to 200 graduate students in the field of Soviet studies. The work was done almost entirely in the Russian language. The data has been collected and it is very voluminous.
West Germany, on the basis of the undertaking here in the United States, has conducted its own survey. The data from the German emigres, that is, ethnic Germans, who emigrated from the USSR to West Germany, is being exchanged with us.
The analysis of the data has really, in a sense, barely started. There have been several books and something on the order of 40 research papers already made available, and all of these are reported to the United States Government, distributed by the National Council. But scholars will be working on this veritable mountain of data for, I suppose, the next 10 years intensively, and perhaps substantially longer than that for background information.
[At this point, Senator Sasser entered the hearing room.)
Mr. TOUMANOFF. In addition to that major survey, the National Council has sponsored about a dozen smaller research projects focused on data provided by emigres, that is, based on emigre interviews, and some 20 research projects actually conducted by Soviet emigres themselves.
We have done quite a lot. We have done much more than scratch the surface of the knowledge which this very large group has brought to us, but there is just a great deal more information available which has not been tapped or made generally available. Let me give you two very quick examples.
A Soviet citizen was found recently, who emigrated legally, whose task was to transmit messages to and from the Soviet submarine fleet. He was found just recently, and to my knowledge he still has not been interviewed in depth, I suppose you could say, certainly not intensively in terms of his experience.
A recent finding, based on emigre information, suggests strongly that the Soviet military arm seems to function no more efficiently than the civilian economy, than the civilian segment of the society. It is a very significant finding, and it is one which comes as something of a surprise, I think to most Americans, including Sovietologists, including even some of our military specialists.
If it is indeed true, and it needs to be verified and researched further, I think that the significance of it lies in the fact that the civilian side of the system is working so ineffectively as to drive the Soviet leadership to radical measures of reform. If the military arm operates equally ineffectively, that matters and it matters a good deal. Those are two examples of the kinds of information which are still there in this community.
Senator COHEN. Who made that finding?
Mr. TOUMANOFF. Professor William Zimmerman of the University of Michigan on the basis of this emigre survey project. It was reported to the Chicago Convention of the American Political Science Association.
I think the next major point, which I should make for you today is that as great as this contribution of knowledge and understanding is, and as great as is the benefit which the American society can derive from that knowledge, and that insight, and that comprehension from their countinuing contacts, I think that that is the lesser of the contributions which Soviet emigres can make to the United States.
These are highly educated by and large, highly motivated, skilled, experienced, talented, above average, people. My clear impression is that there is almost nothing that they hope for and desire more than to become fully productive, fully assimilated members of our society. If this most recent wave and future waves follow the pattern of previous waves of Soviet emigres, then that is precisely the area in which they will make, ultimately, their greatest contribution to America.
That, I think, is terribly important. It is important because of the two elements which, it seems to me, have been identified in the testimony in these hearings. One of them is how to make available to the American society the knowledge and the information, the continuing comprehension and insight, which these people have. The other one is how to help them in that assimilation, how to help them make that transition from their society to ours, which is very very different from what they are used to.
I think there is a good deal which could be done, but, as you know from General Odom's testimony and others, it is a very complicated picture, this entire emigre community, and what can be done and how it can be done is equally complex.
A great deal is being done. There are all kinds of programs of assistance and resettlement, and a variety of programs, in fact, which tap into their knowledge and their comprehension. Whatever additional program or activity might be generated should avoid reinventing the wheel, or duplicating what is already in existence. But it might be possible-let me see if I can find that part of my written testimony.
There may be some measures which Congress might wish to consider taking to ease and speed the transition and the contribution which the emigres can make. We are all aware, and I suppose Members of Congress are perhaps aware most of all, that ours is a much more complicated society today than that facing the two previous waves of emigres from the USSR in the 1920s and the 1940s. In spite of that, the great majority of recent Soviet emigres, after the first shock and confusion, adjust, adapt, and begin to make their way. They do so with a variety of help, private and public, organized and casual.
Some individuals, however, and their families, find it especially difficult and get blocked. This is apt to be true particularly among certain groups.
Former professionals, in vocations that either do not exist in America, or which require extensive, expensive retraining and recertifications, such as law, medicine, engineering, and others.
Older people have a more difficult time.
Former professionals who arrive with little or no knowledge of English, especially if the practice of their profession in America requires written and spoken fluency.
Defectors, in the technical sense of the word.
This comes about not by any fault or lack of effort on their part, most frequently, but sometimes through unfamiliarity with the multitude of different private and public assistance programs available, and most frequently through simple economic necessity.
We know of civil engineers working as draftsmen, physicians who are hospital orderlies, eminent defense attorneys employed as paralegals, and bank managers who are driving taxis. The point these cases drive home to me is that each can tell us much about the Soviet reality, and as a national resource of proven ability and skills, they are being wasted.
A measure you might push to consider would be a program of grants in aid, or something you might call national resource fellowships, which could address both sides of the problem; make their special knowledge of the USSR generally available and, at the same time, provide such temporary assistance, if appropriate, as could help them rise closer to their potential and their hopes.
The program would need to be very carefully designed and administered, but I am confident it could be done in such a way as to make a genuine contribution to the intellectual capital of the country and to its productivity. The details of such a program are really much too long a topic for today, but some of the features I think worth mentioning are as follows:
It could and should be modest, less than $1 million a year, aimed toward awards of something on the order of 10 or 20 individuals or families per year.
It could and should start slowly. It should be considered a pilot project, experimental at first.
It should have some assured duration from the start, say, five years or ten years, either through some kind of multiple year appropriation, or a modest revocable trust in the U.S. Treasury. Annual uncertainty would probably doom its quality and it would be a costly break of faith to start and then suddenly to stop. Better not to start at all.
It should not be conducted by the intelligence community, but probably would be best administered by some private organization with experienced expertise on the USSR and competence in the Russian language.
It should not be done at the expense of existing Federal support for the American profession of Soviet area studies, and I have in mind Title VIII, lest it alienate a component of the American society whose sympathy would be essential to the success of the pro