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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

ricated. (116)".

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).




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,

said that

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"From the experience I shared with my fellow prisoners in the Gulag, I
can testify that:
Victor Shchibalkin defected in Spain in the late sixties. Political
asylum was granted by the Spanish Government. The Soviet embassy tracked
Shchibalkin down at his residence and showed him letters from his mother
imploring him to retum home. They even paid for phone calls to his mother.
The Soviets granted him freedom from any persecution if only he returned
home. Upon return, he was met at the airport by the KGB, arrested, put on
trial and sentenced to 10 years in the strict regime concentration camp.
He never saw his mother. Shchibalkin told this to me in the summer of 1971
in the concentration prison camp no.3 located near the village of Baras-
hevo, Mordavia, USSR.
Victor Zaitsev, attached to the fishing fleet, who in the late sixties
attempted to defect to the US off the coast of Alaska, was caught lowering
a lifeboat, arrested and transported back to the Soviet Union in handcuffs.
There he was secretly tried for treason and sentenced to 10 years in a
strict regime concentration camp. I met him also in Mordavia in the summer
of 1971.
Peshchany, a Ukrainian Soviet fighter pilot, betrayed by a fellow pilot
as he prepared to fly his plane to freedom, he was tried for treason and
sentenced to 10 years in a strict regime labor camp. When I met him at the
camp no.3 in Mordavia in 1971 he had already contracted tuberculosis follo-
wing 8 months of intensive interrogation and torture by the KGB.


I have every reason to believe that the same fate awaits Medvid, a
long path to a slow death (121)."

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

is taken.

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.
Finally, we have some additional indications about the fate of some returning

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Soviet defectors in Prof. Krasnov's book "Soviet Defectors,

(p. 207-210):

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.

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