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how to improve U.S. handling of Soviet defectors. Prior to my

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since 1976 and am presently professor and associate of the Center for Contemporary Russian Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.


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

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ever get from the USSR. So, why turn it down? Why

Krasnov, "Soviet Defectors" 2


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


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defectors in a book that would "break the monopoly of government bureaucrats on dealing with defectors and [...] 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

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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 tossed into



bureaucratic wastebasket... (p. 4)."

The subtitle of the book, "The KGB Wanted List," refers

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English translation, reads: "The Alphabetical List of Agents of

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Criminals." It is more than just a list, for each entry contains

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computer-assisted statistical analysis, the discussion of which forns the bulk of my book (Part Two) • 1

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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

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(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

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the Russian ethnic majority:

14) 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.

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15) 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

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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


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

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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,

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Chebotarev, a GRU major, who defected in October 1971 in Belgium.

After being brought to the United States and exposing a Soviet

spy network


NATO Headquarters he unequivocally stated


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

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


Nikolay Artamonov,

Valentin Zasimov, Aleksandr Kruglov, Irina Mamedova, and Andrey

Berezhkov. Pointing out that the above


took place under

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