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* The TUAPSE Sailors: Diplomatic kidnapping on US soil .....
* The Barzov - Pirogov Defection and its Mysterious Ending

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Since November 1985, Georgetown, an attractive and renown district of Washington, DC, has acquired another curiosity. Clients of the French Café "Au Pied De Cochon" will find a thin engraved plaque inserted in the red leatherette backing where Vitaly Yurchenko is said to have been sitting when he told his unsuspecting escort he was going out "for a breath of fresh air." It reads:




On October 24, 1986, four émigrés held a press conference at the Soviet Information Office in Washington, DC announcing that they were returning to the Soviet Union for reasons that included homesickness, a longing for their families and disenchantment with American society (1). On November 4, 1986, a second group of 13 homesick Soviet émigrés told reporters about their wish to return to the USSR because they could not adjust to or were shunned and alienated by US society (2). On December 28, more than 50 Soviet émigrés who no longer wanted to live in the United States gathered at New York's Kennedy International airport to fly back to the Soviet Union (3).

What started out with four unhappy émigrés evolved however into a steady stream since 12 more former Soviet citizens chose to purchase a return ticket home, according to the Washington Post of January 13, 1987 (4).

This first wave of more than 80 Soviet émigrés has been presented as the tip


of the iceberg. At a news conference in Washington, DC in November 1986, Soviet spokesman Igor Bulav said that about 1,000 émigrés in the United States had already applied to return (5).

This sudden burst of reemigration to the Soviet Union occurred also at a time when the Soviet government had apparently decided to approach some prominent émigrés, including Yuri Lyubimov, the internationally acclaimed Russian theater director, to return to the USSR (6). Others like stardancers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova were invited to come to the Soviet Union to perform, events which eventually did not take place (7).

From what preceeds, it is obvious that one has to deal with two basic categories of 'returnees': defectors and émigrés. Of course, defectors and émigrés are quite different people in many regards. A Soviet bloc defector (8) is someone who escapes illegally and against the will of his government, while an émigré leaves with permission (9). The difference is still more obvious when one considers high-level Soviet bloc defectors, i.e. with intelligence value. This study will obviously differentiate where appropriate, but a closer look will show that the common aspects are not to be neglected either. The fact that defectors and émigrés chose to return has been usually highly publicized in and by Soviet bloc countries - especially but not exclusively by the Soviet Union in order to denigrate, discredit and weaken the Free World, its democratic institutions, its way of life and some specific institutions like the Central Intelligence Agency and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

As such, the exploitation of redefections and reemigrations by the

Soviets and its allies must be seen in the context of a broad range of measures


employed by the Soviet bloc countries against its adversaries with the aim of maximizing the undermining potentialities of each particular situation.

It is important to realize that the phenomenon of people returning (whether redefectors or reemigrants) to the Soviet Union and other Soviet bloc countries does not limit itself to recent years or to a few eye-hitting cases scattered over the last few decades.

One of the main points of this study is to demonstrate that this problem not only is multifaced but also characterized by a longstanding typical approach on the part of both East and West. The Soviet Union and its allies have basically not changed their philosophy towards people who decide to defect, as transpired from Viktor Chebrikov's speech before the 27th Congress of the CPSU. The present head of the KGB stated that

"In recent years a number of agents of imperialist intelligence services and renegades who have sold important official secrets to foreign organizations have been detected in certain ministries and departments. The aforesaid individuals who embarked on the path of committing state crimes have paid a strict but just penalty in accordance with the law. The same inglorious end awaits anyone who ventures to betray the interests of the motherland." (PRAVDA of March 1, 1986, 2nd ed., pp. 5 & 6 )


The basic attitide remains: a crime has been committed and a just punishment will be meted out if that squares with the interests of the Soviet Union and its allies. That much refinement has been put into Soviet bloc attitudes towards defectors that form and contents of the punitive measures will vary in function of meeting aforementioned interests under the most optimal conditions. Assassinations are not conducted anymore in the crude ways Stalin's 'wet affairs" squads used to execute his orders, but the Soviet bloc policy has acquired enough flexibility as to adapt itself in function of the particular situation of each émigré or defector. If he / she is considered clearly as an enemy of the regime, it is more than certain that he or she will be integrated, unknowingly, into 'useful' plans and used accordingly. Physical elimination is of course not excluded if the situ


ation requires it, as demonstrated by the "umbrella attacks" on Georgi Markov ( Bulgarian dissident and defector who was successfully eliminated by a poisonous pellet projected from an umbrella in London on September 7, 1978) and Vladimir Kostov, Bulgarian journalist and officer of the Bulgarian intelligence who defected in Paris in June 1977. He also, though unsuccessfully, was hit by an identical pellet shot from an umbrella in Paris on August 26, 1978. One will also recall the unsuccessful Cuban attempt to kidnapping in the streets of Madrid in 1986 Manuel Sanchez Perez who had asked Spain for political asylum in November 1985 and had allegedly worked for Cuba's G2 secret service.

On the other hand, although a few Soviet bloc countries ( Poland and Hungary) seem to have a more liberal emigration policy, every comparison being relative, the majority and certainly the Soviet Union have had a tradition continuing up to now which considers emigration to the West to be unpatriotic if not close to evil and tre-sonous.

Glasnost and peroistroika have not changed this basic thrust. The outside presentation might be different but the real hard core remains unchanged. In other words the old wine has been put into a new bottle. The new Soviet emigration policy, as embodied in the new immigration and emigration law effective Jan. 1st 1987, has been seen as a major innovation, but the ultimate goal of this new and refined approached is still to convince ( or impose) the Soviet people that going abroad is something an honorable Soviet citizen does not do. As a consequence, emigration is still kept under very tight control which can be manipulated whenever it favors the interest of the Soviet Union. The basic right of th Soviet (bloc) citizen to leave his or her homeland whenever it pleases them to do so, won't change significantly.

Once returnees are seen in this larger perspective, it becomes easier to understand that each return will, if worthwile, be exploited to the maximum exte furthering the Soviet (bloc ) interests in one way or another. This is also a

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