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there, separated from their motherland and their home, and trampled their human rights and dignity. (...) (Those émigrés) are also victims of a single minded policy pursued by the ruling circles of the United States and other
imperialist powers, real fishers of men.
The insinuating radio voices and
other ideological subversion centers in the West invent malicious fables about our life and promise a land of milk and honey in the 'free world'. Documents
published in the White Book give a clear picture of how such fictions are fab
The causes or reasons for defection, as "advertized" by certain special retumees will markedly differ from the previously described cases because "special evil forces" were operating against certain 'honorable and loyal' Soviet citizens. Examples of such widely exploited dramas have been the Bitov* and Yurchenko affairs, regardless whether they are genuine or not
as well as the less milked instances of Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, and the returning Soviet soldiers who, while being in Afghanistan, defected to the West: Igor Ryhkov and Oleg Khlan ( to the United Kingdom ) and Nikolay Ryzhkov ( to the US ) (117).
In both form and content Bitov and Yurchenko issued similar statements
containing sensational charges that they did not defect, but while on a business trip, had been kidnapped, drugged and coerced to create a phony defection
and make slanderous statements against the Soviet Union. Both said that they
immediately conceived the idea of escaping the intensive surveillance they were under and as soon as possible had contacted Soviet diplomatic personnel.
Contrary to Bitov, Alliluyeva and Yurchenko,
tne soldiers Ryhkov and
Khlan did not appear at a press conference or on TV. Their statements were
reproduced in an IZVESTYA article with only two direct quotes, under the head* Oleg Bitov, foreign cultural editor of Literaturnaya Gazeta defected to the U
in Sept. 1983 and turned up in Moscow on Sept. 18, 1984, a few weeks before Sve lana Alliluyeva, Stalin's daughter returned to the USSR.
line "The Return" (118). Following the usual routine IZVESTYA declared that
both soldiers had not defected but had been captured ( in the West they talked
about their desertion) and subsequently drugged, beaten and chained after
trying to escape. Resisting physical and psychological pressure from Western intelligence agencies to be blackmailed and to twist facts so as to betray their motherland, they went at the first opportunity to the Soviet embassy in London.
Very little was made public by the Soviets about the retum of Nikolai
Ryzhkov who had deserted from the Soviet troops in Afghanistan in June 1983
and arrived in the US in November 1983.
He retumed to the USSR in December
1984. The official Soviet news agency TASS, deviating from the customary sce
said that Ryzhkov's case was exceptional and recognized that he had
deserted. It also alleged that he had been drugged, nearly starved and visited
by lovers of both sexes and with links to the CIA in an attempt to get him to
make anti-Soviet statements (119).
THE FATE OF THE RETURNEES.
Although it is difficult if not impossible to know what really happens to
returning defectors, some fragmentary but interesting information is available.
Simas Kudirka, the Lithuanian seman who jumped from the Soviet vessel "Sovietskaya Litva" and who obviously wanted to defect to the US Coast Guard vessel Wigilant" off Martha's Vineyard on November 23, 1970, was beaten and forcibly dragged back to the Soviet ship by Soviet sailors with permission of
the US captain. Kudirka served 3 years and 9 months of a 10 year sentence in
the hell of the Soviet Gulag for having attempted to defect to the US (120).
Moreover, Kudirka addressing on November 7, 1985 the House Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East inquiring about the Medvid incident,
"From the experience I shared with my fellow prisoners in the Gulag, I
I have every reason to believe that the same fate awaits Medvid, a
Nikolay Ryzhkov, who had deserted the Soviet troops in Afghanistan in
June 1983 arrived in the US in November 1983 and returned to the Soviet Union
in December 1984, has been said, according to stories published in September 1986 in the American press to have been sentenced on December 11, 1985 to 12
years in a labor camp for high treason and was allegedly serving his term in a camp for political prisoners in Barashevo ( Moldavia ) (122).
Not all returning defectors will necessarily be treated the hard way. Svetlana Alliluyeva, who returned to the Soviet Union in the Fall of 1984, was apparently too well known and too valuable for public relations purposes to
undergo harsh treatment.
It was obvious that her father's name protected her
from any possible prosecution, despite her renunciation of the Soviet citizen
ship and sharp criticism of Stalin and other communist party leaders.
In fact, the quality and length of the treatment given to retuming
defectors will very much depend on how the interests of the Soviet Union are
best served. Whatever lenient treatment will have been granted today, can be taken away tomorrow by discretionary decision of the authorities. In reality, discretionary power to decide the fate of a retuming citizen in the best interest of the country, will be the guiding principle behind whatever decision
A very common pattern applied in this context has been and still is, is
to promise the returning defector easy treatment; further, to use him for propaganda advantage and eventually to send him to prison. The fact that such cases are publicized without mention of punishment for acts considered a crime,
allows the homeland to encourage others to return, to give assurances that they
will not be automatically subject to prosecution after returning.
No wonder that Igor Ryhkov and Oleg Khlan were greeted in the Soviet press as 'heroes' who had withstood pressures to betray their motherland (123).
Nothing has been heard about either one of them since then.
Meanwhile Evgeny G. Kutovoy, a Soviet counselor, issued a statement on February 9, 1987, saying that Mr. Medvid recently married. "He is well and satisfied with his job. Due to these circumstances, he would like to avoid any indue attention", Dr. Kutovoy told investigators ( of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a Congressional agency ) (124).
It would be safe to say that no independent source has been able to confirm
Medvid's marital status, nor for that matter, any other status.
Soviet defectors in Prof. Krasnov's book "Soviet Defectors,
Vladimir Balakhonov, an employee of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, obtained political asylum in Switzerland, but returned to the USSR and was sentenced to 15y. in labor camps; Nikolay Cherkov, a sailor, twice sentenced to labor camps ( 2 + 3 y.); Nikolay Gilev and Vitaly Pozdeev, hijacked a small plane to Turkey; they were returned, reportedly at their own decision, to the USSR and got 10 and 13y respectively in Sept. 1972; Georgy Ivanov, a worker, crossed the border with Finland in 1967, was returned by the Finish police and served 15 months in jail; he later redefected in 1976 successfully to Sweden where he got political asylum; Mikhail Karpenok, crossed over to Turkey in 1974 or 75, was returned by the Turks and served a Ty. term in labor camp; Andrey Novozhitsky, defected to FRG in mid-1950's, returned in 1958 and got 12y. Aleksandr Shatravka, escaped to Finland in 1974, returned by the Fims and interned in mental hospital from 4 to 5 years; apparently now in labor camp; Mikhail Shatravka who defected with his brother, shared the same fate as him; Valery Yanin, engineer, asked for political asylum after crossing the Black Sea in August 1973; was later seen in Soviet mental hospitals in 1974–1978.