Continued from Part One and Part Two.
This is another type of KGB curiosity. I am on the left with the beautiful Walter Mondale smile. On the left [is] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, famous Indian guru. Again, the legitimate question, why KGB socializes with the religious cults? Simple: we are not after Maharishi’s secrets. We are after [the] public opinion of [the] United States. If you remember the history of rock and roll music you know the name of The Beatles. They were trained in India in an ashram in transcendental meditation, and they landed in the United States and they poisoned millions of minds of your children with the strange blend of Oriental mysticism and revolutionary music. “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” My KGB supervisors were dying of curiosity: how could it possibly happen that four degenerate monkeys are so rich and famous in [the] United States?
This was the subject of our studies. You can see me infiltrating the ashram there. I am not implying that Maharishi is on a KGB payroll. I am illustrating to you people that the main objective of KGB activity is your minds.
These two gentlemen: the one on the right is now, by the way, in the United States. He is a Soviet official at the United Nations. On the left, a famous Indian communist. Both of them worked together with me in a secret department called Research and Counter-Propaganda. What we did was neither. We simply compiled information on each individual who is instrumental in shaping public opinion. Those who promote Soviet propaganda will be promoted by us to positions of power and influence by bribery, corruption and publicity. Those who resist Soviet propaganda will be listed by us for defamation, blackmail, or at the time of a people’s revolution, for this: execution.
This picture was taken in Cambodia, but the same execution happens everywhere the ‘people’s” government [is] established. In Nicaragua, in Zimbabwe, in Angola, in Ethiopia, in Bangladesh, in Afghanistan, in Cuba. Everywhere, but you have thick eyeglasses. You have bananas in your ears. Your liberals don’t explain to you what is happening. Maybe I will.
Maybe you will remember the name of a small South Vietnamese city by the name of Hue. It was occupied by North Vietnamese communists for about 10 days, but it was recaptured by the South Vietnamese and US military. They discovered to their horror that several thousand pro-American Vietnamese, your best friends, who talk too much against communism, were rounded up, taken out of the city limits, and executed this way. The CIA could not figure out how the communists could possibly round up that many people, several thousands of them. How did they know their identity, their political affiliations, and their addresses? I knew how.
Long before communists invaded that city, they had established a network of informers, Vietnamese citizens: barbers, taxi drivers, [and] teachers who acted under control [of] the Soviet Embassy in Hanoi, from the department which is called Research and Counter-Propaganda, for which I was in New Delhi doing exactly the same job. And it took me one year, because I am a thick-skulled Russian, to realize that what I was doing [was] compiling death lists for innocent people simply because they talk too much. Believe me: the same lists exist in United Stares. There may be some informers right here in this room, and you don’t need to be paranoid about this but you must KNOW about it. You have the right to know what the Soviet Embassy is doing in your country, and your media doesn’t explain it to you. The dimwits like Dr. Kissinger are appealing to you that quiet diplomacy is what you need. You don’t need any quiet diplomacy. You need LOUD diplomacy, loud and clear against what the Soviet Embassy is doing in United States.
I have no chance to explain it to Dr. Kissinger. Maybe you will have a chance. This is what we are doing. It took me one year to realize that what I was doing [might] bring irreparable damage to India. Naturally my decision was to run away and to scream at the top of my voice: “People, please wake up before this comes to your country.”
My attitude was different. I love India, I respected their culture. I meditated about marrying an Indian girl, which I could not. Naturally, my decision was obvious. Run away! It was a very painful decision.
First of all, because I have to leave behind this type of life. I was filthy rich by Soviet standards. Maybe not as filthy as your Jane Fonda, but definitely rich. My father was a big boss in the military; I was a frequent traveler. I could buy anything I want[ed]. Just one telephone call: television sets, cars, booze, girls, you name it. Try to understand leaving all this behind to run to the United States to take the side of losers: you! And what do I get for this? For the last 15 years I have been screaming, “Wake up people!” What do I get in return? More than 15 countries since my defection have been occupied by communists. And yet your media calls me paranoid, right-wing fanatic, ultra-conservative, McCarthyist, or whatever.
This morning-- I have a tape if you want to listen. This morning people on the radio called me these names, dimwits living right here in Atlanta. A “fanatic and idiot” because I am trying to wake you up.
My decision was extremely painful because, as I say, you have to be absolutely crazy to leave behind a luxurious life to come to your side, trying to save you and get spit in my face. What do I get for the last 15 years? I was driving a taxi, I was a security guard, I was a farmhand, I was a translator, [and] I also worked for Canadian Broadcasting. For the last two years I was manager of an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles. Come and visit me. A building populated by [the] chronically unemployed and people who complain about American capitalism. They sit on welfare; they don’t want to pay rent. Even to collect rent would require a machine gun sometimes! Imagine, a Soviet diplomat, a son of high-ranking military officer in USSR, changing bulbs and flushing toilets in Los Angeles. I bet you would not like to take my place…
Another reason to think twice before defection: This secret document, which is called [a] recommendation letter… every Soviet agent assigned to a foreign country has to be co-sponsored by three long-standing members of the Communist Party. Their signatures are at the bottom.
If I defect, all three of them will be fired, imprisoned, or executed. Two of them are my friends. I don’t want to endanger their lives. Because I will feel guilty. Dr. Kissinger feels OK-- he has sentenced to death half of Asia. He is OK; he is nice, fat, talking about “important social-political structure confrontation.” He is smart! He feels OK-- he charged $15,000 for one lecture. Right? He sleeps well. He has good food. No problem.
Then there is another reason: my family. Even though it was a marriage of convenience, by mistake we made a baby already. It’s a shame to leave a baby and a wife. Even in the United States where husbands leave their wives without any political reason, it’s a shame. I was feeling reluctant to defect, and I could not take my wife and my child with me. Why? Very simple. Because the Indian government, which is described in your media as a “non-aligned democratic government,” betrays defectors to the Soviet KGB. Especially after this lady defected in India-- she is Stalin’s daughter-- she defected in 1967, but she is back in Russia, by the way. The Soviet Embassy was so mad at Indira Gandhi that we forced her to adopt a law which says that “no defector from any country has a right of political asylum in any embassy on the territory of India.” Which, as you may understand, is the highest degree of hypocrisy because only Soviet defectors need political asylum.
Imagine yourself, an American citizen, in India and you want to defect to the USSR. What kind of asylum do you need? Political? No, Psychiatric! In my case, my defection would end predictably if I walked into United States Embassy. I would be taken back to the warm embrace of the KGB, and yet I had to run away.
How? This is how. I noticed there are many American hippies [with] no shoes, long hair, smoking hashish, [and] gravely annoying Indian police. And I realized that with my pale European face I would stand out in the crowd of Asians; they will catch me in two minutes. But if I dress as a hippy, and I join a bunch of hippies from the United States, a crazy Russian in a crowd of crazy Americans, [I will be] very difficult to identify. This is exactly what I did. I mixed with them.
All papers carried my picture, and [a] promise of 2,000 rupees for information leading to me arrest, as if I was a criminal or a murderer. An insult to me. And other insult was 2,000 rupees. I was sure I was worth more than that. And yet they could not find me because they were looking for this gentleman:
…and at the time of defection I looked like this:
No sensible detective would even imagine that the normal Russian diplomat would look like a total idiot and walk away from the Soviet Embassy. This is what saved my life and another thing was the American CIA which smuggled me out from Bombay airport, first to Greece. They debriefed me for six months. They gave me the name Tomas Schuman to protect my family [and] friends and keep me away from mischief for five years. I worked in Canada; I was employed by Canadian Broadcasting for six years. I was fired from there for my anti-communist jokes because I was stupid. I thought to be an anti-communist was OK in Canada. No? I was wrong. Under Pierre Trudeau it was a crime to be an anticommunist and be employed by Canadian government.
Continued in Part Four.