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January 1, 1987 (163).

In other words, the internal policy of glasnost and perestroika has not

been extended to the openness of the Soviet borders.

However, it should be stressed that the right to emigrate, as Alan Dershow itz formulates it, "has little to do with whether the United States is 'better' or 'worse' than the Soviet Union. It has everything to do with choice. Every human being should have the right to choose where he or she wants to live. Given that, some will prefer the regimented security of Soviet society, while others will prefer the risky freedom of America." "In that perspective", adds Dershowitz, "Gorbachev's policy to let former Soviet citizens return enhances the freedom of choice. No one should ever be forced to remain in a country against his will." (164)

But that same policy will quickly loose its c dibility if it isn't accompanied by opening the "exit-door" as well, which signifies in itself not only an experiment with real choice for both immigration and emigration, but above all a serious test as to whether glasnost and perestroika are for real or only a camouflage ( "maskirovka" ) masking this Soviet action to camouflage its real intent. (165)

To establish a real choice in matters of emigration and immigration might be a unacceptable task for the Soviet leadership, which might not accept the full extent of the consequences of such a free 'come-and-go' policy. It would mean that the Soviet Union would have to accept "competing for the allegiance of its citizens." (166) That implies that the Soviet citizens would have a real choice to decide where he or she would prefer to live. But unfortunately, this means also that the pre-eminence of the communist party deciding what is good for its fellow citizens would be replaced or seriously challenged by the independent and real choice of those citizens to determine their place of living.


This poses serious problems for the Leninist state which is based on basic and unchallengeable rules. The first being that once power is won, it must never be let go and it must be used to win control of every aspect of the economy and society. Lenin's second rule centers around 'democratic centralism' which stipulates that orders within the party come from the top and must be obeyed without question further down: an ideal tool for preventing open political debate. "This is the rule that has to be bent and probably won't", wrote THE ECONOMIST, adding that "the road to a more democratic form of communism will probably in the end seem too dangerous to be pursued with the zest it deserves." (167)

And finally, one should never forget that another unwritten rule applies in every situation under communism: "Whatever is granted today, can be taken away tomorrow."

Gorbachev's new style of management was apparently partly responsible for the return of several émigrés "who perceived a liberalization" of society under the new secretary-general of the Soviet communist party. (168)

Even for the ex-KGB colonel, Rudolf A. Herrmann, "the notion of returning to Czechoslovakia turned into a plan of action after the summit meeting in Geneva last year [1985] between Gorbachev and Reagan. "Gorbachev," Herrmann stated "is a reformer in the style of (former Czech party leader Alexander) Dubcek. Since Lenin's time, no big leader would go to a factory and discuss problems with workers as Gorbachev has done. Once it starts with Big Brother, it is only a small period before such change comes to little brother." (169)

For different kind of reactions by Soviet citizens who remained in the Soviet Union to the return of former Soviet citizens, see exhibit #7.

Finally, it should be noted that of the approximately 150 people who returned to the Soviet Union in October, November and December 1986, already 5

families (if not more) or 10 to 12 people returned quietly to the US; See exhibit #8.



As previously stated in this study, the basic official Soviet bloc attitude towards émigrés and defectors has consisted in emphasizing that 1) an honorable citizen does not leave his homeland; 2) emigrating, and a fortiori, defecting are an insult to the Motherland and therefore, 3) if a citizen emigrates or defects, he or she will achieve only misery, decadence and sometimes death; often will he or she have to sell his or her soul to the enemy and blacken the name of his / her Motherland. As for the ones who have succeeded, very often they will be characterized as "persons without any morals looking only for profit and money."

These basic points are of course fully affirmed and substantiated by émigrés and defectors -genuine or fake, high-level or not- during public appearances, at press conferences, on talk shows or at round tables and very often in articles for the written press, under the supervision or inspiration of Soviet bloc authorities. As will appear in this segment, the internal and external propaganda value and other gains at stake are worth it.

The intensity and the methods of propaganda will differ in function of the historical circumstances and will also vary among the different Soviet bloc countries.

The Soviet redefection campaign of 1955-57 had different overall objectives and also more specific ones tied to the individual East European countries. This well-financed and organized campaign was mainly a weapon in the political warfare being carried out against the West. The communist morale and propaganda was being increasingly discredited and undermined by the living testimony of millions of refugees (including defectors) who fled the barbed-wire paradise. Each successful escape was a poltical victory for the West. Also the communists


were trying to promote at that time the idea of peaceful coexistence between East and West. Consequently, the many thousands mute -and not so muteSoviet bloc citizens who were arriving in the West were rather an extremely embarrassing presence proving quite the contrary, i.e. the fallacy of the idea of coexistence (170).

Thus a logical consequence was to try 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 and also in the eyes of the Western authorities, and on the other hand, by discrediting the West in the eyes of both the rank-and-file émigrés and its leadership (171). At the same time, to discredit and neutralize the émigré communities abroad would discourage and destroy the determination of the resistance at home (172). Finally, if life in the West was so miserable, an argument still used today, Soviet bloc authorities might convince their citizens not to emigrate or defect to the West.

The propaganda exploitation goals had sometimes more nationalistic connotations. The first amnesty in Czechoslovakia concerning anti-communist refugees was granted by communist President Clement Gottwald on June 19, 1948. The regime had at least three good reasons for this policy decision (173):

First, it was necessary to halt, or at least to slow down, the flow of refugees from the country, for the exodus in the late spring of 1948 was assum ing mass proportions.

Secondly, it was an attempt to offset the effects of the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 promulgated by the US Congress. This law contained a special quota of 2,000 visas for Czechoslovak escapees.

And thirdly, there was the wish to make Gottwald appear as a kind man and

a popular president. Accordingly, the amnesty was announced five days after his



It would be wrong to dismiss Cold War events and attitudes as "old stuff" that happened 30 to 40 years ago. It is still in the highest interest of Soviet bloc countries to combat the image of their countries as being places that many people want to leave for a variety of reasons. The still prevailing approach is to put severe restrictions on emigration, mingled with press articles about the evils of capitalist societies, how life in the West is over and over again cruel and oppressive and how perfidious the people are who leave. The story of a Soviet man who became a broken person by emigrating to and living in the US and, after his return in the Soviet Union, threw his elder sister out of the window and committed suicide, is still very much predominant (174).

It is only recently that a certain experimental approach was tried on Soviet television where a an uncensored, uncut American television documentary titled "The Russians Are Here" was shown about the life of Soviet émigrés in Brighton Beach ( Brooklyn, NY ), openly discussing their problems not only with the society they joined but also with the one they had left.

The theme stressed by the Soviet anchorman and correspondents in the US, was that the idealized America to which émigrés believed they were headed often proved to be a complex, alien and even hostile land, in which someone reared in the security of the Soviet system felt lost or shunned. Although the theme was not new, the open discussion of both the American and the Soviet systems, with the pluses and minuses spelled out in terms not heard before. In the commentary that followed the program, the journalist who presented the documentary concentrated on the disappointments and difficulties of life in America and on the nostalgia for the security and camaraderie of Soviet life (175).


Whatever propaganda method is used -the older one stressing the evils of capitalism, the cruelty and oppressive life in the West, or, the more sophistic

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