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Thank you very much for inviting me to testify concerning how to improve U.S. handling of Soviet defectors. Prior to my defection in Sweden in 1962 I served as an editor at Radio Moscow's Foreign Broadcast Division. I have been U.S. citizen since 1976 and am presently professor and associate of the Center for Contemporary Russian Studies at the Monterey Institute of

International Studies in California.

As a former Soviet propagandist I am acutely aware that Soviet leaders view the problem of defection with utmost alarm. They are always anxious to silence, to downplay, and to distort the true nature of every case of defection as well as to conceal from their adversaries that the problem worries them. Ever since my own defection I have been wondering why the free world, and the United States in particular, is so uncertain, inept and apologetic in its handling of Soviet defectors? It seems to me that Soviet defectors are the only wind-fall of information that the West can ever get from the USSR. So, why turn it down? Why

Krasnov, "Soviet Defectors" 2

not use this God-given human resource in the interests of U.S. national security and for the advancement of the cause of liberty throughout the world?

Since 1978 I have been able to study the phenomenon of defection professionally. My study resulted in a book, Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List, which was published last year by the Hoover Institution Press. The purpose of my study was to assemble all factual information about post-World War Two defectors in a book that would "break the monopoly of government bureaucrats on dealing with defectors and [. 1 open the matter of defection... to public scrutiny." I expressed the hope that my book "would do what the government has failed to do: it would help (1) to establish a public tally of past, present, and future defectors; (2) to emphasize their importance for our understanding of the USSR; and (3) to assure future defectors all the publicity they deserve, since publicity has proved to be the only guarantee that their human rights are not tossed into a bureaucratic wastebasket... (p. 4)."

The subtitle of the book, "The KGB Wanted List," refers to one of my major sources, a KGB document smuggled out from the USSR by a prominent emigre organization, the NTS (Alliance of Russian Solidarists). The full name of this document, in my English translation, reads: "The Alphabetical List of Agents of Foreign Intelligence, Traitors to the Motherland, Members of Anti-Soviet Organizations, and Other Wanted


Criminals." It is more than just a list, for each entry contains half-a-page summary of the KGB files on these

an about

Krasnov, "Soviet Defectors" 3

"criminals." Having found my own entry and convinced of its 470 cases of post-war defection (1945

authenticity, I selected

1969) from among other "criminals" and subjected them to a computer-assisted statistical analysis, the discussion of which forms the bulk of my book (Part Two).1

Among my major findings are the following:

(1) Defection, defined as leaving the country or staying abroad contrary to the wishes of the Soviet government, is inherent in the totalitarian nature of the Soviet regime and thus a consequence of a fundamentally defective system;

(2) Defection has plagued the regime from its very inception; during the post World War Two period it became part and parcel of popular discontent, a form of protest that seeks an outside outlet because there are no provisions for its domestic


(3) Unlike the dissident and human rights movement which have been mostly confined to Soviet intellectuals, defectors come from all walks of life, all social, professional, and ethnic groups, including members of the Soviet elite, Communist Party, KGB, and the Russian ethnic majority;

(4) Before August 1961 when the Berlin Wall was constructed and the Western borders of the Soviet empire fortified, the majority of defectors were ordinary conscripted soldiers (mostly

Part One contains an overview of what has been written about Soviet defectors, of what defectors have written about themselves, and of the State Department interviews with defectors during the 1950s. Part Three, based on newspaper accounts, discusses defections between 1969 and 1984.

Krasnov, "Soviet Defectors"

of peasant and workers' background) from Soviet troops in


(5) Since 1961, members of the Soviet elite (intellectuals, artists, and officials permitted to travel abroad), merchant sailors, and fishermen have displaced soldiers as the predominant defecting groups;

(6) Despite a sharp drop in the number of death penalties meted out by Soviet courts, in absentia, for the mere act of defection (prior to 1961 virtually all soldiers and many civilians were routinely sentenced to death), the Soviet government has continued to strengthen preventive and punitive measures, such as fortification of the borders, stricter laws, tighter selection procedures for travellers abroad, hostaging of relatives, keeping tabs on defectors, coaxing them into returning home, seeking a speedy return of would-be-defectors by foreign authorities, and making propaganda lessons of their return;

(7) In spite of the above, there seemed to be, at least until November 1985, a trend toward a higher annual rate (an average of about 20 for the entire period, with about 25 defecting in 1984) and higher social caliber of defectors. Unless the Soviet regime is fundamentally reformed so that basic human rights, including the right of emigration and freedom of expression, are respected, defection will continue to afflict it as a hemorrhage afflicts a hemophiliac.

Although the handling of Soviet defectors on this side of the iron curtain was not a primary focus of my study, I found ample evidence to suggest that such treatment has been usually

Krasnov, "Soviet Defectors" 5

less than satisfactory, often inept, and sometimes abominable. I drew particular attention to a number of questionable practices employed by U.S. officials in respect to would-be Soviet defectors during the era of detente, beginning with the

scandalous return to the USSR of the Soviet sailor Simas Kudirka on November 23, 1970. In spite of the new regulations issued on the order of President Nixon in the wake of the Kudirka incident, subsequent handling of Soviet defectors continued to show signs

of ineptitude.

I questioned, for instance, the handling of Anatoly Chebotarev, a GRU major, who defected in October 1971 in Belgium. After being brought to the United States and exposing a Soviet spy network at NATO Headquarters he unequivocally stated on December 21, in the presence of a Soviet representative, that he "had come to the United States of his own free will and had no desire to return to the Soviet Union." Yet, two days later he disappeared from his Washington area safe house, and the next day the Soviet Embassy phoned the State Department that Chebotarev was in their custody and eager to return to the USSR. On December 26, after a brief interrogation by a INS officer at Kennedy Airport, Chebotarev was allowed to be flown to Moscow. Why were U.S. officials so cooperative with the Soviet efforts to sweep the incident under the rugs?

I also questioned the handling of and attitude toward such other defectors and would-be-defectors as Nikolay Artamonov, Valentin Zasimov, Aleksandr Kruglov, Irina Mamedova, and Andrey Berezhkov. Pointing out that the above cases took place under

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