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murder techniques in the early fifties (25), but the catch-and-kill abroad approach was significantly reduced, adapted and diversified.
Post WW II: Forced Returns at the End of the Second World War.
Although the present study concentrates mainly on genuine or induced returns of Soviet bloc defectors and émigrés, the historical overview would not be complete if one would omit to mention the millions of forced returnees at the end of WW II. Millions of Soviet citizens found themselves in Germany as prisoners of war ( over a million), forced laborers ( approx. 2 million ) or former collaborators who retreated with the Germans troops or simply took advantage of the general confusion to flee to the West (26).
Stalin though, was determined to get back as many Soviet citizens as possible, and, on October 4, 1944, the Soviet Council of Commissars adopted a resolution on the repatriation of Soviet citizens (27). Colonel Goliakov was citizens put in charge of the Soviet repatriation effort (28). Moreover, the Western allies formally agreed to a postwar exchange of prisoners of war and other citizens (29). These tragic events have been dubbed by some as a crime against humanity in itself because these returnees were considered by Stalin as traitors and treated as such upon their return. The result of this massive forced repatriation campaign is succinctly described as follows in the
Donovan Emergency Report:
"At the end of one year of repatriation activities, Colonel General
As the work of repatriation progressed, Soviet repatriation teams,
sometimes assisted by Allied Units, forced refugees to board box
Even after the forced repatriation campaign was over, several hundred thousands Soviet citizens remained in the Allied occupied zone of Germany. The majority of them emigrated, others settled down in Germany and tried to start a new life. Still, they remained a priviliged target for Soviet intelligence services for penetration and neutralization.
The forced repatriation campaign influenced the Soviet immigration towards the United States in a very peculiar manner. Thousands of Soviet citizens entered the US assuming false identities to escape forced repatriation under the terms of the Yalta agreement, a phenomenon later known as the "Berezov disease" (31). As such, they were at odds with the US Immigration law and could be deported. Moreover, they were perfect targets for Soviet blackmail. Senator William Jenner of Indiana introduced legislation that remedied this awkward situation (32).
The Soviet Redefection Campaign of 1955-1957.
These and other Soviet bloc émigrés and refugees started to feel increasing communist pressure during the period 1955 through mid 1957, aimed at forcing or luring them back to the Soviet Union and its satellite countries. Although the campaign began first in Europe, it was by no means confined to the "Old Continent" and refugees in the United States and South America reported similar pressures. It rapidly became obvious that one had to deal with a large-scale, well-financed and highly-integrated Communist campaign which applied a wide array of methods in a very flexible way.
But before continuing, it should be mentioned that two important documents were the basic source for the analysis of the Soviet redefection campaign as presented in this paper. First, there is the report of the Donovan Emergency Commission which, was created and sponsored by the International Rescue Committee in 1955. The Commission toured several West European countries and published its report at the end of March 1956. (33) Another report was a document produced by the Information Department of Radio Free Europe (New York) in January 1956 (Special Report # 131 ) covering the redefection campaign in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania. (34)
The Soviet bloc redefection campaign was mainly a weapon in the political warfare being carried on against the West. The Communist morale and propaganda was being increasingly discredited and undermined by the living testimony of millions of refugees (including defectors escaping across the borders) who fled the barbed-wire paradise. (35) Each successful escape was
a political victory for the West.
Thus, one of the principal objectives was to destroy the political effectiveness of the emigration by splitting the rank-and-file émigrés from their leadership, defaming and discrediting the latter in the eyes of the émigrés (36) and also in the eyes of Western authorities, while on the other hand, discrediting the West in the eyes of both the rank-and-file émigrés and its leadership (37). For, to discredit and neutralize the émigré communities abroad meant to discourage and destroy the determination of the resistance at home (38).
The Soviet redefection campaign of 1955- 1957 is characterized by 3 distinct phases of which the first one can be called the 'terrorization period'. Unlike the second stage, i.e. the actual campaign of persuasion, the first one was essrtially directed towards the émigré leadership and the political émigré organizations and consisted of terrorization and intimidation tactics applied by the MVD in West Germany and Austria. They included kidnappings and murders as well as staged redefections and personal approaches made by Soviet agents (39).
It was against this background of terrorization and intimidation that the actual redefection campaign was launched in the late spring of 1955 using essentially overt tactics of persuasion aimed especially at the rankand-file émigrés.
A so-called 'private' organization of former returnees was set up to induce redefections. The East German government quickly granted permission to a group of Soviet repatriates to establish a 'Committee for the Return to the Homeland' chaired by Major General Nikolai F. Mikhailov (40). This committee issued its own newspaper 'For Return to the Homeland' and initiated later
radio broadcasts from a station called 'Radio Return to the Homeland'.
Each broadcast ended with directions to prospective returnees on how to proceed with returning, how to contact the Committee, cross the sector in Berlin or how to help the Committee (41).
The appeal to the rank-and-file was not threatening but mild, forgiving, and highly emotional which can easily be summarized as follows: "A foreign land is the same as a wicked stepmother. Even if you crawl before her on your belly, she remains your enemy. But your motherland is one's own mother, she understands and forgives everyone of her children (42)."
To a large extent, the redefection campaign and its propaganda can be characterized as addressing itself to the human problems of individuals living in difficult economic and psychological circumstances in foreign and not always friendly 'roundings. Discussion of the communist system and the role of the Soviet Union was especially avoided in nearly all propaganda (43). Strong appeals to certain basic emotions like patriotism, nostalgia, homesickness arlove of the family were played upon.
The third phase of the Soviet redefection campaign began with official pressure from the Soviet government on its West German counterpart when Prime Minister Bulganin requested the return of "more than 100,000" Soviet citizens detained on West German territory (44). This was followed, on September 17, 1955 by the proclamation of an amnesty by the Praesidium of the Supreme Soviet for returnees "who have in certain circumstances acted in an unworthy manner toward their country (44*)."
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