Soviet Defectors

Studies on Russian Defectors

Two prominent Soviet defectors, Anatoliy Golitsyn (defected in 1961) and Yuri Nosenko (defected in 1964), are covered in the materials concerning James J. Angleton. For those materials, click on Angleton.

Barnes, Bart. "Two Countries, Two Lives: Soviet Defector Helped CIA Understand KGB." Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2004, A1. []

KGB Lt Col. Yuri Aleskandrovich Rastvorov, who had lived life as Martin F. Simons since his defection in Tokyo in 1954, died on 19 January 2004. "After his defection, Simons settled in the Washington area and continued working for the CIA in a variety of consulting and advisory jobs."

Brook-Shepard, Gordon.

Brook-Shepard has produced two major works on Soviet defectors -- one dealing with those who defected prior to World War II and the second focused on postwar defectors. Taken either separately or together, depending on the scope of one's interest in the subject, these works are the place to start or, perhaps, to end, depending on the depth of one's interest.

1. "'Defectors': Misleading Tag -- Complex Issue." In In the Name of Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Walter Pforzheimer, eds. Hayden B. Peake and Samuel Halpern, 133-136. Washington, DC: NIBC Press, 1994.

2. The Storm Birds: Soviet Post-War Defectors. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989. Owl Books, 1990. [pb] DK268A1B76

According to Surveillant 1.3, Brook-Shepard presents "dramatic stories..., many based on previously unpublished materials and interviews." Petersen calls The Storm Birds a "useful summary of prominent cases," and notes that it includes a short annotated bibliography. Chambers sees the book as an "overview of several very important ... defectors" with "lots of useful insights."

For Cram, The Storm Birds "is not only an exciting read but is accurate in almost every respect." Brook-Shepard makes "judgments that are objective and fair." This is a "fascinating account of how and why so many senior Soviet intelligence officials defected and the impact they had on the West." Of the two most controversial cases, Golitsyn and Nosenko, "he has done a good job of sorting out the facts and arriving at fair judgments."

3. The Storm Petrels: The Flight of the First Soviet Defectors 1928-1938. London: Collins, 1977. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978. New York: Ballantine, 1982. [pb]

Pforzheimer says that The Storm Petrels provides a "well written study of early Soviet defectors from 1928 until the beginning of World War II"; this is an "authoritative and important work." For Constantinides, the book is "suspenseful and instructive," and "a rarity in English on the early history of Soviet defections. But it is still only an introduction to the subject and to the errors that occurred in handling these valuable sources of information."

Evancevich, Michael. "Defector Possibilities: Past, Present, Future." Military Intelligence 8, no. 4 (1982): 25-26. [Petersen]

Geimer, Bill. "The Handling of Defectors: Afterthoughts on the Yurchenko Case." ABA Standing Committee Intelligence Report 7, no. 12 (1985): 3-4. [Petersen]

Kessler, Ronald. Escape from the CIA: How the CIA Won and Lost the Most Important KGB Spy Ever to Defect to the U.S. New York: Pocket Books, 1991. [pb]

Clark comment: Escape from the CIA concerns the defection and redefection in 1985 of KGB First Chief Directorate officer Vitaly Yurchenko. The title clearly exaggerates Yurchenko's relative importance.

Fein, FILS 11.6, says that Kessler's "indictment of the CIA ... seems vastly exaggerated" and his "starry-eyed view of Yurchenko is ... discredited." The author "betrays an acute anti-CIA bias." Allen, DIJ 2.1, adds that Kessler is "unconvincing.... While the account reads well it often does not seem credible." On the other hand, Surveillant 1.4 finds "numerous insights" in the book, gained "from interviews Kessler had with Yurchenko in Moscow."

Dick Gay, "Yurchenko, Bona Fides or Bogus," CIRA Newsletter 31, no.1 (Spring 2006), reprints his entry on Yurchenko from Encyclopedia of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (2005), followed by his thoughts "Between the Lines," in which he suggests that the defection was an act to take the attention away from Aldrich Ames.

Krasnov, Vladislav. Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 1986.

Marbes, Wilhelm. "Psychology of Treason." Studies in Intelligence 30, no. 2 (Summer 1986): 1-11. In Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992, ed. H. Bradford Westerfield, 70-82. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995.

A CIA psychiatrist discusses the mental makeup of defectors. He makes a number of interesting assertions, one of which is that "the percentage of [major] mental disorders ... among defectors is less than one would expect to find in an ordinary population of the same size." Stated simply, defectors are no crazier than the rest of us. The Agency's psychiatrists were not able to establish a single profile that would describe all defectors, but "there are clusters of characteristics which fit most defectors."

Richards J. Heuer, Jr., calls this article "a first class piece. Recent research suggests that what is written here about Soviet defectors applies equally well to many of the American traitors ostensibly motivated by money or revenge."

Polgar, Tom. "Defection and Redefection." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 1, no. 2 (1986): 29-42.

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