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Full text of "Defection of a Russian seaman (testimony of Vladislaw Stepanovich Tarasov) Hearing before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-eighth Congress, first session. September 19, 1963"

DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

(TESTIMONY OF VLADISLAW STEPANOVICH TARASOV) 



HEARING 

BEFORE THE 

COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

EIGHTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS 

FIRST SESSION 



SEPTEMBER 19, 1963 
INCLUDING INDEX 



Printed for the use of the 
Committee on Un-American Activities 




JAN 8 1964 



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
23-858 WASHINGTON : 1963 



COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
United States House of Representatives 

EDWIN E. WILLIS, Louisiana, Chairman 
WILLIAM M. TUCK, Virginia AUGUST E. JOHANSEN, Michigan 

JOE R. POOL, Texas DONALD C. BRUCE, Indiana 

RICHARD H. ICHORD, Missouri HENRY C. SCHADEBERG, Wisconsin 

GEORGE F. SENNER, Jr., Arizona JOHN M. ASHBROOK, Ohio 

Francis J. McNamara, Director 
Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., General Counsel 
Alfred M. Nittle, Counsel 
II 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Synopsis 789 

September 19, 1963: Testimony of Vladislaw Stepanovich Tarasov 7'.).". 

Index i 

in 



Public Law 601, 79th Congress 

The legislation under which the House Committee on Un-American 
Activities operates is Public Law 601, 79th Congress [1946] ; 60 Stat. 
812, which provides : 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States 
of America in Congress assembled, * * * 

PART 2— RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Rule X 

SEC. 121. STANDING COMMITTEES 
***** * * 

17. Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine Members. 

Rule XI 

POWEBS AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEES 



(q) (1) Committee on Un-American Activities. 

(A) Un-American activities. 

(2) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommit- 
tee, is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (i) the extent, 
character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(ii) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propa- 
ganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks 
the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and 
(iii) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any neces- 
sary remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such 
times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, 
has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee or by any 
member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person 
designated by any such chairman or member. 



Rule XII 

LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT BY STANDING COMMITTEES 

Sec. 136. To assist the Congress in appraising the administration of the laws 
and in developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem neces- 
sary, each standing committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives 
shall exercise continuous watchfulness of the execution by the administrative 
agencies concerned of any laws, the subject matter of which is within the jurisdic- 
tion of such committee ; and, for that purpose, shall study all pertinent reports 
and data submitted to the Congress by the agencies in the executive branch of 
the Government. 

17 



RULES ADOPTED BY THE 88TH CONGRESS 

House Resolution 5, January 9, 1963 
******* 

Rule X 

STANDING COMMITTEES 

1. There shall be elected by the House, at the commencement of each Congress, 
******* 
(r) Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine Members. 

******* 

Rule XI 

POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEES 
******* 

18. Committee on Un-American Activities. 

(a) Un-American activities. 

(b) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommittee, 
is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (1) the extent, char- 
acter, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American prop- 
aganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and 
attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitu- 
tion, and (3) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress 
in any necessary remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such times 
and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, has 
recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any 
member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person 
designated by any such chairman or member. 

******* 

27. To assist the House in appraising the administration of the laws and in 
developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem necessary, 
each standing committee of the House shall exercise continuous watchfulness 
of the execution by the administrative agencies concerned of any laws, the subject 
matter of which is within the jurisdiction of such committee; and, for that 
purpose, shall study all pertinent reports and data submitted to the House by 
the agencies in the executive branch of the Government. 

v 



SYNOPSIS 

The Committee on Un-American Activities met in public session on 
September 19, 1963, in Washington, D.C., to hear firsthand the reasons 
for a Russian seaman's swim to freedom in the harbor at Calcutta, 
India, in November 1962. A summary of his testimony follows : 

Vladislaw Stepanovich Tarasov was born in the Ukrainian Repub- 
lic of the Soviet Union on June 25, 1938. In 1954, after completing 
7 years of general schooling, he joined the Komsomol (Young Com- 
munist League) because he wanted to continue his education. Most 
cf the better advanced schools were all but closed to young people 
who did not belong to the Komsomol. 

In 1956, at the conclusion of 2 years' training at a nautical school in 
Yenotayevsk, Vladislaw began working as a crewman on Soviet fish- 
ing vessels in the Caspian Sea. He soon began to doubt the economic 
advantages of being employed in a Communist state when he realized 
his pay, because of the changed price structure in the U.S.S.R., repre- 
sented less buying power than that received by seamen who had per- 
formed the same duties 4 and 6 years earlier. 

Young Tarasov also learned about the Russian seamen's unnecessary 
exposure to danger because everything in the Soviet Union has to be 
done according to top-echelon Communist planning. Ships in the 
Caspian fishing fleet were forced to go to sea at fixed times, regardless 
of their state of repair. A captain of an unsea worthy ship would 
have lost his position if he had refused to sail when scheduled to do 
so by the plan "from above." Vladislaw learned that the Soviet 
Union loses about 10 vessels a year in the Caspian Sea because of 
neglected maintenance and unsafe navigation procedures. 

The seamen's union, like everything else in the Soviet Union, is con- 
trolled by the Communist Party and cannot protect or promote the 
interests of Russian sailors. Rather, the union serves as a vehicle by 
which the Communist Party imposes its will upon the seamen. On 
one occasion when Tarasov protested conditions on his ship, .he was 
transferred to a much less desirable job on a different vessel. 

From 1959 to 1962, Tarasov studied electro-mechanical energy at 
the Kherson Nautical School. During this period he married and 
became the father of a son. He was not able to obtain an apartment 
for his family, however, so he stayed at the school during the week 
and visited his wife and child at her parents' overcrowded dwelling on 
weekends. 

In 1961 and 1962, Vladislaw Tarasov began listening to Voice of 
America broadcasts and reading copies of America, the U .S. magazine 
which is distributed in the Soviet Union under a cultural exchange 
agreement. From these sources and Russian translations of certain 
American books, he became convinced that the United States offered 
freedom and opportunity to the individual. 

789 



790 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

Also in 1962, Tarasov returned to sea duty on an oceangoing tanker. 
He had already given much thought to the possibility of defecting 
to the free world if the opportunity arose, but it was not without 
certain reservations. He had been told that Soviet defectors experi- 
enced unfriendly receptions and extreme hardships in the West. He 
was also concerned about countermeasures that might be taken 
against his relatives if he defected. He reasoned that this latter con- 
cern was groundless, however, because he had left his parents' home 
in 1954 and had never even had a normally close family relationship 
with his wife and child. Thus, he did not believe Soviet authorities 
would hold his relatives accountable for his actions. 

Tarasov put all reservations about defecting out of his mind once 
and for all after having an ominous run-in with a political commissar 
at sea. 

A political commissar, who is always a Communist Party member, 
is assigned to every Soviet ship to keep an eye on crew members and 
indoctrinate them with party propaganda. During Vladislaw's 
voyage to India in late 1962, he utilized every conceivable excuse to 
avoid having to attend the boring, but compulsory, political meetings 
conducted aboard the tanker by the commissar. When Tarasov re- 
turned to his ship's quarters on one occasion, he found the political 
commissar rummaging through his personal effects, including notes he 
had written. The intruder said he now understood why Tarasov had 
missed so many political meetings and implied to the seaman that he 
would never again be permitted to engage in foreign travel on Soviet 
ships. Tarasov realized he would have to escape when the tanker 
arrived in India, or probably forfeit the opportunity to do so forever. 

On the night of November 25, 1962, when the Russian tanker was 
anchored in the harbor at Calcutta, Vladislaw Tarasov escaped 
through a porthole and swam to a nearby American ship. He asked 
the captain of the American ship for asylum. 

As a means of atempting to prevent his defection, the Soviet consul 
in Calcutta falsely accused Tarasov of having stolen 700 rubles im- 
mediately before escaping from the tanker and appealed to Indian 
authorities to arrest and hold him for extradition to the U.S.S.R. 
On November 28, 1962, Indian authorities boarded the American ship 
and arrested the defector after Soviet officials had promised to produce 
witnesses to the alleged theft. Tarasov was held in a Calcutta jail. 

The Soviet authorities, realizing that theft in Indian territorial 
waters was not a ground for extradition, later dropped the charge. 
Accordingly, the prisoner was released on January 10, 1963. He was 
immediately rearrested, however, on a new Soviet charge that he had 
committed the alleged robbery aboard the Russian tanker while it was 
in international waters. Again, Soviet officials promised to produce 
evidence in support of the charges against Vladislaw. 

When the Soviets not only failed to satisfy an Indian court that 
Tarasov was guilty of their charges, but other evidence convinced the 
court that documents introduced as evidence against Tarasov by Soviet 
authorities were fabricated, he was released permanently. 

After a thorough screening by U.S. security officers, Tarasov was 
permitted to come to the United States where he hopes eventually to 
become a citizen. 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 791 

In addition to the information summarized above, Vladislaw 
Tarasov made the following interesting observations when he ap- 
peared before the Committee on Un-American Activities: 

1. Churches are permitted to function in the Soviet Union, although 
they are attended mostly by older persons in rural parts of the 
nation. 

2. Most of the crimes that occur in the Soviet Union are not reported 
in the Soviet press. 

3. Privileges enjoyed by its members, not ideology, are what attract 
most people to the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. 

4. There is widespread unhappiness among the Russian people 
concerning constant pressure exerted upon them by the Communist 
apparatus, which appears to exist for no other purpose than to exert 
such pressure. 

5. Many, many Russians would like to defect to the West, but few 
of them ever have the opportunity to do so. 



23-858—63 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

(Testimony of Vladislaw Stepanovich Tarasov) 



THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1963 

House of Representatives, 
Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D.C. 

PUBLIC HEARING 

The Committee on Un-American Activities met, pursuant to call, 
at 10 a.m., in the Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, Wash- 
ington, D.C, Honorable Edwin E. Willis (chairman) presiding. 

Committee members present: Representatives Edwin E. Willis, of 
Louisiana; William M. Tuck, of Virginia; Joe R. Pool, of Texas; 
Richard H. Ichorcl, of Missouri; George F. Senner, Jr., of Arizona; 
August E. Johansen, of Michigan; Donald E. Bruce, of Indiana; and 
Henry C. Schadeberg, of Wisconsin. 

Staff members present: Francis J. McNamara, director; Alfred M. 
Nittle, counsel ; and Donald T. Appell, chief investigator. 

The Chairman. The committee will come to order. 

A Library of Congress study of Soviet treatment of racial and 
nationality groups within the U.S.S.R., prepared for a Senate sub- 
committee, is aptly entitled The Soviet Empire: Prison House of 
Nations and Races. A totalitarian Communist empire, which is a 
prison house of nations and races, is also, by that very fact, a prison 
house of people, many millions of them — Russians, as well as those 
of other nationalities. 

Over the years, hundreds of thousands of persons have escaped 
from this prison house. They have voted against communism with 
their feet, because they have had no other way of doing so. They are- 
still doing this. Neither the wall in Berlin, nor the Iron Curtain of 
barbed wire barricades, watchtowers, and minefields that ring the 
rest of the border of the Communist empire can stop the flow. 

Each escape is cause for rejoicing, a gain for freedom, a victory for 
liberty. When the escapee is young and still has most of his life ahead 
of him, there is special cause for rejoicing. 

We Americans sometimes forget that our country is the bastion of 
liberty in a world threatened by communism and that it is so regarded 
by millions who seek our shores for only one reason — because they long 
for the freedom which we too often take for granted and sometimes 
abuse, as though it were something that could never be lost or 
destroyed. 

The committee is convened today to hear the testimony of an 
escapee from the Soviet Union — a young man who, until some months 

793 



794 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

ago, never knew those fundamental freedoms which are so essential to 
human progress and to individual fulfillment. 

The witness is Mr. Vladislaw Stepanovich Tarasov. Mr. Tarasov, 
please rise and raise your right hand. 

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will 
be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you 
God? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes. 

The Chairman. Mr. Tarasov, understandably you can't converse 
fluently in English although I am informed you understand it well, so 
we have asked Mr. Victor Fediay to act as translator. And, Mr. 
Fediay, it is necessary that I administer a special oath to you. 

Mr. Fediay, do you swear that you will well and truly interpret the 
questions and answers, so help you God ? 

Mr. Fediay. I do. 

Mr. Pool. Mr. Chairman, I would like to inquire as to the inter- 
preter's position. Is he with the State Department ? 

The Chairman. That will be developed I am quite sure. 

Proceed, Mr. Nittle. 

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Fediay, would you kindly state your qualifications 
to serve as interpreter for Mr. Tarasov ? 

Mr. Fediay. I am a translator with the Library of Congress and 
have been for 14 years. 

Mr. Nittle. Do you specialize in the Russian language ? 

Mr. Fediay. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Nittle. Have you had occasion to serve as interpreter for per- 
sons speaking Russian? 

Mr. Fediay. Yes, sir; I have served as interpreter on many occa- 
sions. Quite recently I was with the American delegation to the 
Soviet Union for several months. 

TESTIMONY OF VLADISLAW TARASOV (ASSISTED BY VICTOR 
FEDIAY, INTERPRETER) 

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Tarasov, would you state your full name for the 
record please ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). Vladislaw Stepanovich Tarasov. 

Mr. Nittle. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I was born in the Priluki area of the Ukrainian Re- 
public in 1938, 25 June. 

Mr. Nittle. Did I understand you to say 1938 was the year of your 
birth? 

Mr. Tarasov. 1938. 

Mr. Nittle. You are now 25 years old, is that correct ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Nittle. Are you presently living in the Washington, D.C., 
area ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Nittle. What is your present occupation ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I just now completed my course in the English lan- 
guage at Georgetown University. 

Mr. Nittle. Of what country are you a citizen ? 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 795 

Mr. Tarasov. I am not a citizen for any country until the Govern- 
ment of the United States will give me a citizenship in this country. 

Mr. Nittle. Of what country were you formerly a citizen ? 

Mr. Tarasov. In the U.S.S.K. 

Mr. Ni'itle. Mr. Tarasov, is your appearance before this committee 
today completely voluntary ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Nittle. Would you relate the extent of your formal education ? 

Mr. Tarasov. From 1946 to 1953 I completed the seventh grade 
level. From 1954 until 1956 I completed Nautical School in Yeno- 
tayevsk, Astrakhanskaya Oblast. 

The Chairman. How would that compare to high school education, 
below or above ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I don't know about this. 

Mr. Fediay. It would be a little bit higher than the high school 
education in the United States — high school education plus 2 or 3 
additional years. 

Mr. Tarasov. Then from 1959 until 1962 I was studying at the 
Kherson Nautical School in electro-mechanical energy. At the same 
time I completed my tenth grade by correspondence. 

Mr. Nittle. We think you should state for the record whether you 
are in the United States with the approval of the Soviet Government. 

Mr. Tarasov. No. 

Mr. Nittle. Would you state the circumstances under which you 
are here ? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). On the 25th of November I es- 
caped off the Soviet ship Chernovtsi in the port of Calcutta and 
reached the American ship that was stationed in the same port. 

Mr. Nittle. Was the Soviet vessel aboard which you were serving 
a merchant vessel ? 

Mr. Tarasov. This Soviet ship was a tanker, a Soviet tanker. 

Mr. Nittle. Do you recollect the name of the American ship in 
which you sought refuge ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). It was the SS Steel Surveyor. 

Mr. Nittle. How did you reach the SS Steel Surveyor? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). I jumped off the Soviet ship, 
from the window of the Soviet ship and porthole of the Soviet ship, 
and I swam to an American ship and went aboard it. It was at night, 
and I went aboard the American ship myself. 

Mr. Nittle. Did you then bring your defection to the attention of 
the captain of the United States vessel ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English) . Yes, I did. 

Mr. Nittle. Did you indicate to him that you sought asylum? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, I did. 

Mr. Nittle. Did you have any difficulty in obtaining asylum? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). No, I was promised asylum. 

Mr. Nittle. Having received the promise of asylum by the Amer- 
ican captain, did you have any difficulty thereafter ? 

Mr. Tarasov. The Soviet authorities in Calcutta, the consul of the 
Soviet Union in Calcutta, and the captain of the ship accused me of 
stealing 700 rubles from the Soviet ship and asked for arrest. 

They knew that I was on the American ship and asked the Indian 
authorities to arrest me for this theft. 



796 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

Mr. Nittle. Were you then arrested by the Indian authorities pur- 
suant to the charge made by the Soviet officials ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I was arrested by Indian authorities on American 
ship on the 28th of November and was put in jail in Calcutta. I was 
kept in jail until January 10, 1963, by Indian authorities. The Soviet 
authorities promised to produce witnesses of the theft. They never 
did because actually this thing did not occur. 

Then, realizing that they cannot extradite me if the theft occurred 
in the Indian territorial waters, they changed the charge. 

Then, naturally, the Indian authorities couldn't keep me any longer, 
and I was released on January 10, but immediately after I left the 
jail I was rearrested under the charge that this theft occurred in 
international waters; and then they asked the Indian authorities to 
extradite me for the trial in the Soviet Union on the basis of the theft 
in international waters. 

The Chairman. Are you indicating as a fact, or as an honest belief, 
that this charge was filed against you as a means of preventing your 
defection ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, that is exactly what it is. 

Mr. Tuck. Was he under any accusation of theft prior to the time 
he defected ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I never had any charges against me of that type. 

Mr. Nittle. Was a hearing held before the Indian authorities fol- 
lowing this second charge? 

Mr. Tarasov. Then the Soviet authorities promised to produce 12 
witnesses and documentation of the theft, and the Indian authorities 
asked for it. Witnesses were never produced. The captain of the 
ship came over, and the documents that were shown were forged, and 
the Indian authorities decided that there is no case against me. 

There was no prima facie case for extradition of any type. 

Mr. Johansen. I didn't get the significance. You said the captain 
of the American ship appeared in court. 

Mr. Fediay. It was the captain of the Soviet ship that came to the 
hearings. 

Mr. Nittle. Would you comment upon the impression you received 
as to the fairness of the trial conducted by the Indian authorities? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). I am very happy and very 
glad that the Indian courts are operating completely fairly in a very 
democratic basis. This is why I was able to escape from the Soviet 
Union. In spite of the fact that they produced documents, the Indian 
authorities made a very thorough investigation of the case and decided 
for me and decided for my freedom. 

The case was deeply analyzed by the Indian courts. I thank very 
much the Indian authorities for this type of very democratic pro- 
cedure. 

Mr. Nittle. Was it not a fact that the Indian magistrate found that 
the Soviet charges were completely fabricated? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes. In the resolution of the Indian court there is 
a statement there is no prima facie case against me and that some of 
the documents were definitely fabricated. 

The Chairman. At this point he has used the expression "prima 
facie." Do I understand that the procedure would be somewhat like 
a preliminary hearing when a charge is filed and a witness is found 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 797 

not to be in a position of ever being held because of lack of sufficient 
evidence. Is that about what the procedure was ? 

Mr. Tarasov. This extradition trial was being held and not finished, 
and they held me in the jail in India, but according to Indian law I 
understand they have to establish the case. Since the case was not 
established because of the Soviet Union not bringing the witnesses 
and all that they promised in the beginning and since the documents 
that were produced were considered by the court not to be valid 
enough, they had to drop the case immediately, and immediately when 
the case was dropped I was released. 

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Chairman, may I state that it is my understanding 
that the Indian legal system is based upon, and modeled after, the 
British system and is, hence, very close to our own. 

The Chairman. Yes, I would imagine it would be patterned after 
the English system. Proceed. 

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Tarasov, what do you believe would have happened 
to you if your escape attempt had failed, or if you had been extradited 
to the Soviet Union ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I don't know exactly what would have happened to 
me, but I know that according to the law in the Soviet Union, accord- 
ing to Article 56 of the Soviet law, anyone who refuses to go back to 
the Soviet Union without any permission of the government, anybody 
who leaves the country without the permission of the government, is 
liable to get punished 10 years of jail or be shot. 

The Chairman. In that connection, I take it there is quite a con- 
trast between the law in Russia, which prevents anyone from getting 
out of the country under the pains and penalty of severe punishment, 
and that of the United States. The students that we examined last 
week felt that they had a right to take the law into their own hands, 
to go anywhere they wanted. 

This is not a question, Mr. Tarasov. I am merely making a state- 
ment. 

Mr. Nittle. Following this second hearing, were you then com- 
pletely free? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English) . Yes, I was. 

Mr. Nittle. About how long have you been in the United States, 
Mr. Tarasov? 

Mr. Tarasov. For about 3 months. 

Mr. Nittle. Prior to your reception here, were you interviewed by 
the security agencies of the United States ? 

The Chairman. May I say that we are entering into a sensitive 
area and we cannot disclose anything about our security agencies and 
their method of operation in an area of this kind, so I don't want the 
agencies named, but I am very much interested and am insistent that 
he describe whether there were careful screening and examining 
processes. 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). Yes, I was under hearings 
in this thing and I was investigated. 

Mr. Nittle. Now would you tell the committee what made you 
jump ship and seek political asylum in the United States when you 
realized what might happen to you if you failed in that attempt? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). I would like to make a short statement 
about this. 



798 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

The Chairman. It is all right. 

Mr. Tarasov. I would like to read it in English. 

The Chairman. For the sake of accuracy and self-explanation, it 
will be perfectly all right. 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). In 1961 and 1962 I began to feel that in 
the U.S.S.R. I was only a grain of sand in the desert, which at any 
moment could be blown anywhere by the wind of the dictatorial 
powers. 

All my life I had been dependent on the whims of other people. 
When I worked for 3 years on the ships of the fishing fleet and was 
forced to perforin the orders of ignorant superiors, I kept up cour- 
age with the hope that some day in the future everything would 
change. But as I got to know reality in the Soviet Union more and 
more, this hope for freedom blew away like smoke. 

I realized that I not only had no chance of contributing to the im- 
provement of the Soviet society but, equally important, I realized that 
those higher up — the engineers and command personnel — were almost 
as repressed in their actions as the small fry. And furthermore, they 
have to defend and promote the bureaucratic directives to explain the 
party line to the masses, which means they must lie out of very fear 
of losing their means of livelihood and even their physical freedom. 

Just as a horse stops dead in its tracks when it reaches its goal, even 
though it would have been able to go on like the wind were that goal 
farther removed, so something inside me snapped when I realized that 
further study and advancement up the service ladder had no meaning 
for me. 

In 1961 and 1962 I began to listen to the Voice of America radio 
broadcasts. I was also very lucky to obtain copies of the magazine 
America? and I read a number of American books which were avail- 
able in Russian translations in the Soviet Union, such as books by 
Theodore Dreiser, Jack London, and Mark Twain. 

I began to understand that America is the leading country of the 
free world. I became convinced that there people are really equal 
under the law, that each person is able to build his own life without 
directives from above, and that each citizen through his own develop- 
ment brings good to society. 

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Tarasov, would you give us some more specific 
reasons why you decided to defect ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, I can. 

Mr. Nittle. Would you do so ? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). When I started to work inde- 
pendently in the Soviet Union for the first time I actually realized 
that you cannot improve yourself in the country. The economic 
planning is such that you are pressed all the time, you work hard but 
you have nothing for it, and that was what was the situation on the 
fishing fleet in the Caspian Sea that I was working in. 

If you consider, for instance, my pay in this fishing fleet and com- 
pare this pay with what was the pay throughout the years since 1950 — 
I was employed in 1956 and I at that time for my work got 300 rubles, 
about $300. 

The Chairman. For how long a period of time ? 



1 America Illustrated, American magazine distributed by DSIA in Russia and Poland. 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 799 

Mr. Tarasov. Five months. If you compare it with the price struc- 
ture, actually we were getting less than it was in 1952 and we were 
getting less than it was in 1950 for the same type of job, with the price 
structure that existed at that time in the Soviet Union. 

Mr. Nittle. Could you explain why this occurred? 

Mr. Tarasov. I think since all of the economic planning is done by 
the government — all the operations, all the industrial operations is 
in the hands of the government. They plan it according to govern- 
ment plans. They don't care about the people at all. 

Mr. Nittle. Would you relate in more detail the experience you 
had serving aboard the fishing fleet in the Caspian Sea ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Since everything is done according to the stiff and 
sometimes ridiculous planning, the ships for instance in my case were 
plying the Caspian Sea in disrepair conditions. The captain did not 
want to go to sea because he knew the ship was not safe, but the polit- 
ical controllers forced him to leave the shore and go into the sea, in 
spite of the fact that everybody connected with the operation knew 
that it makes no sense, but stiff planning makes them to do such a 
ridiculous thing. 

In addition to that, the only privileged class in the Soviet Union are 
the high party officials, so that is what burned me up. For instance, 
in the school where I was going, we had the son of a very high party 
official. He was completely good-for-nothing, and at the same time 
they had to keep him. 

When we were sent to school we had to have a certain amount of 
experience. He didn't have this experience. He was forced upon the 
school in a way. He was behaving badly, and at the same time they 
could not expel him. Anybody else doing that would have been 
expelled. 

The Chairman. Let me ask you this question : Were you a member 
of a seamen's union or was there a seamen's union which could speak 
for the seamen in the protection and advancement of rights, wages, 
proper living conditions, and so on ? 

Mr. Tarasov. We did have a trade union of seamen, and I was a 
member of it on the Caspian Sea, but the trade unions in the Soviet 
Union are also under the control of the party; whatever the party 
is directing the unions to do, they do. They are not defending us. 
They are defending the interests of the party, just as everything else is 
done for defending the interests of the party. 

Mr. Johansen. Sort of a company union, I take it, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Nittle. I believe you stated, Mr. Tarasov, that the ships were 
forced to go to sea in a poor condition of repair in order to meet the 
planning quotas. Did your vessel sustain any casualties as a result of 
the condition in which it was forced to go to sea ? 

Mr. Tarasov. You have to understand on the Caspian Sea there are 
a lot of casualties that you maybe never hear about. About 10 ships 
are sunk in a season on the Caspian Sea because of casualties and 
accidents. 

The Chairman. Because of what ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Because of accidents, neglect, not safe conditions of 
navigation. 

Mr. Nittle. Was not your seamen's union able to correct these 
conditions ? 



800 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

Mr. Tarasov. The trade union unfortunately is not in the position 
to influence those things, because everybody is under the pressure of a 
plan and, being under the pressure of a plan, they have to do those 
things according to the force that is pressing on them, the bureaucrats 
that are pressing on them. 

The result is that the captain has to do whatever he is told to do 
because he will lose his position. He is not in a position not to do 
whatever he is asked to do, because all the time he is under the direc- 
tives from above. 

The Chairman. Who owned this ship ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Everything is owned by the government. 

Mr. Pool. Did you ever speak up and protest conditions on this 
ship yourself? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, I had the chance. 

Mr. Pool. What happened after that ? 

Mr. Tarasov. As a punishment for my remarks, I was transferred 
from one ship to another. As a matter of fact, I went to the worst 
ship on the next assignment. 

Mr. Pool. In other words, you don't have any freedom of speech 
over there without being penalized? 

Mr. Tarasov. That is exactly the case. 

Mr. Nittle. Do the Soviet citizens resent the existence of the privi- 
leged class in the Soviet Union known as the Communist Party? 

Mr. Tarasov. I am sure that everybody is unhappy about it. 

Mr. Nittle. In your travels to India aboard your vessel, was there 
any evidence of carelessness in the operation of the vessel? 

Mr. Tarasov. We had, for instance, an accident on the ship when 
the mechanic of the ship, who was very high in the party structure, 
of the ship party structure, by his neglect somebody was injured and 
nothing happened to the mechanic. We complained about it, but noth- 
ing happened because he is better in the party than anybody else 
and he can do whatever he wants, so the fellow was injured and that 
is it. Nothing happens. 

Mr. Nittle. You also seemed to indicate that the pressure of the 
Communist Part} 7 is felt aboard ship. Apparently you had a political 
officer aboard ship, is this correct ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). Every ship carried a political 
commissar. 

The Chairman. Do you mean a Soviet official other than the ship's 
captain and regular officers is present on board more or less all the 
time? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, a special representative of the party whose duty 
is to watch the people. For example, on the second ship there is a 
questionnaire of what book do you read, and they look at your notes. 

Mr. Nittle. Did you personally have any experience with the ef- 
forts of the political officer to check on you, your beliefs and actions? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). I will give you a small ex- 
ample. I was a correspondent for a while of a local paper and I went 
to a factory in this city, and the workers that were working in the shop 
that I visited asked me to complain about the fact that they don't 
have any ventilation in the shop, and to publish it in the paper. It 
came back from the editor's desk, and I was told that articles like that 
should not be published at all. As a matter of fact, they reprimanded 
me for the fact that I was writing this type of article criticizing the 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 801 

working conditions instead of writing articles to promote better effi- 
ciency in the shop, to f orce them to work more and not to criticize the 
conditions. 

Mr. Nittle. While you were aboard ship, were you able to main- 
tain the privacy of your papers and belongings ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Officially, naturally, nobody controls you. Officially 
on the face of it everything is free, but naturally on the ship we had 
this specialist in political control, and once I even caught him in my 
room when he was meddling in my personal belongings and reading 
my personal notes, so I asked him what he was doing and why he read 
my notes and he said : "Now I understand why you are not attending 
the political meetings as you should. Now I understand you behave 
as you behave." And I understood from his remarks that I would 
never be given permission to go on the foreign travels anymore on 
Soviet ships, and that is actually what was the last thing that forced 
me to jump off the ship in India. 

The Chairman. At this point, you mentioned that you were not 
regularly or properly attending political meetings. Is attendance at 
them a matter of requirement ? Would you say something about that ? 

Mr. Tarasov. It is, naturally, a requirement. Under different con- 
ditions you have to attend those meetings. I always tried to avoid 
them as much as possible, because it is very boring and it is all the 
time the same thing and it is this pack of lies that you have to listen 
to all the times. So under different conditions, with different ex- 
planations, I tried to avoid those meetings as much as I could. 

The Chairman. He said, and I suppose you were translating what 
he said accurately, that it was naturally a requirement. What does 
he mean by that % 

Mr. Tarasov. It happens like that, that you actually have, almost as 
a rule, once a week a meeting like that. There is no schedule. Just 
the political officer will call the meeting, come by the crew and tell 
them to come for the meeting, and that is it. 

The Chairman. So that is it? 

Mr. Nittle. Did the crew generally find these meetings quite 
boring ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). Yes, they are boring. 

Mr. Nittle. A moment ago you mentioned the fact that, when you 
came upon the political officer searching your belongings, he then 
remarked or indicated that you would in the future probably be re- 
stricted in your travel to foreign ports aboard Soviet vessels. Did he 
explain to you why he reached that conclusion ? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). No, he doesn't have to explain 
anything to you. 

The Chairman. Coming back to these meetings, I would like to ask 
two or three questions so he can develop what I have in mind. Num- 
ber 1, were you a registered voter in the Soviet Union, did you vote, 
and was there a choice of candidates for office? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). There is just one candidate that they 
give me, and I have no choice. There was a bulletin in the box and 
that was all. 

The Chairman. Only one candidate? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, only one candidate. 



802 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

The Chairman. It makes it nice. 

Mr. Joiiansen. I assume that you were not a member of the Com- 
munist Party? 

Mr. Tarasov. No, I was not. 

The Chairman. That is important — who are members of the Com- 
munist Party, oflicial members of the party, as distinguished from 
those bound by the party's rules. Were any of the ship's crew mem- 
bers of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). About 10 percent of the sailors 
belonged to the Communist Party. 

Mr. Johansen. Is it a matter of seeking membership and being 
accepted? In other words, is it something difficult to get into? 

Mr. Tarasov. Only those can become members for whom there are 
some other members vouching, so it is a question of belonging to the 
circle. You have to have somebody to stand behind you to become the 
member. 

Mr. Pool. What percentage of the people that you came in contact 
with in Russia are unhappy because of the Communist dictatorship 
there ? 

Mr. Tarasov. It is very difficult for me to say any percentages here 
because it is impossible just like that, but I met a lot of people that 
were expressing openly that they were unhappy with the system, and 
with more of them you could see they were unhappy more than they 
said. 

Mr. Pool. What was their greatest complaint? 

Mr. Tarasov. Actually the most response for complaint is that 
there is a big apparatus of the party pressuring everybody in the 
whole country and doing nothing but pressuring. They are actually 
being paid for the pressure that they exert on the population and they 
don't produce anything. They are in excess of the economic life of 
the country. Actually the country has to support them only for the 
fact that they are pressuring the rest of the population. 

Mr. Pool. Would a great many others defect if given a chance? 

Mr. Tarasov. As far as I can judge, a lot of people would like to 
defect. It is very difficult, however. It is almost impossible to de- 
fect on a large scale. It is a very difficult thing to do, but as much as 
I can judge, a lot of people would like to do it. 

Mr. Nittle. Did you have any worries or apprehensions in mak- 
ing your decision to defect? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). Yes. 

(Through interpreter.) I have several points that were worrying 
me when I made the decision and that is why I was delaying the ac- 
tion on it. First of all, naturally, I was thinking about my parents. 
However, I left my home in 1954. It was so many years ago, and I 
was a small kid at that time. They couldn't have been accused of 
influencing me in any possible way because I was away from home 
for such a long time and I was entirely on my own since 1954, so this 
is what made my decision easier, that I could not hurt them in any 
possible way by defecting. 

The second thing is my wife. I was married. But with my wife 
we didn't have any family life at all. I had a son. I met my wife 
usually only on the weekends. She was living with her parents. We 
did not have an apartment, We wanted one but we couldn't get 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 803 

one. She lived with her parents, and I continued to live in a school, 
so I did not have much in common with her and she could not influence 
me much. My meetings with her were casual. 

Mr. Pool. In that connection I wanted to ask if you discussed your 
plans, your intentions, with any other members aboard the ship ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). No; you would never do things like 
that. 

(Through interpreter). The next point that I was thinking about 
was what was going to be expected of me in the Western World when 
I defect. I heard a lot of stories about it on the ship, a lot of stories 
that were naturally planted on us with a purpose, and the question 
was that so many of our sailors, after escaping, had difficulties to ac- 
commodate themselves in the Western World. 

I know it is true of someone who went to Paris and later on had 
to go back to the Soviet Union because the working conditions in 
Paris were too difficult for him. He had no profession and he did 
not know the language. This worried me. 

The Chairman. Let me say in this connection, Mr. Tarasov, be- 
cause of the Iron Curtain and because of the propaganda spread in 
the Soviet Union about the fate of defectors, we all appreciate the 
worries and fears of those who are trying to decide if they should make 
a bid for freedom. 

The one fact that I wish I could put over to all prisoners of com- 
munism is that the record proves beyond doubt that they have no 
reason to worry about the reception they will get in the free world. 

Let me point out that, as long as careful screening by agencies such 
as those which subjected you to questions — so long as this screening 
process reveals that they are not threats to the security of the free 
world, they will be received. 

Let me spell this out directly : 

From July 1, 1945, through June 30, 1962, over 43,000 persons fled 
the Soviet Union as you have, and they were received in the United 
States. 

During the same period, almost 270,000 escapees and refugees from 
the satellite nations of Europe, excluding Hungary and Yugoslavia, 
were admitted to the United States. 

Over 54,000 persons from Yugoslavia came to this country during 
those years. 

About 200,000 Hungarians fled their country during and immedi- 
ately after the 1956 revolution. Almost 38,000 of them were received 
in this country and the others all found refuge in other nations of the 
free world. 

West Germany, alone, has welcomed more than three million per- 
sons who have fled from Communist East Germany over the years. 

Since Castro seized power in Cuba, over 256,000 Cuban refugees 
and escapees have found asylum in these United States. 

When a truce was signed in Korea in 1953, which we all will recall 
or should recall, over 20,000 Chinese prisoners of war were held by 
the U.N. forces. They were given their choice of going back to Com- 
munist China or seeking freedom. Almost 15,000 of these men asked 
for freedom and were granted their request. 

The life of a refugee, defector, or escapee is not an easy one. Your 
life here will not be a bed of roses, I assure you, but I am glad that 



804 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

you, like so many thousands of others, made the choice you did. I 
am sure it was the right choice. I hope it will help to inspire others 
to do the same. 

Mr. Tarasov (in English) . Thank you. 

Mr. Nittle. In that connection, Mr. Tarasov, we might ask you 
how you now feel about your former worries, concerning the treat- 
ment you would receive in the free world ? 

Mr. Tarasov. For the first thing, I was very glad to read an article 
in an Indian newspaper that my wife now works in Moscow Univer- 
sity as a lecturer. The second reason, I found here that all my hope 
about the United States, like a free country, is really true what I 
thought before about it; and I am glad very glad to live in the country 
where the law according to which you live — not like in Russia, where 
it is only for the power of one hand, where they might just pick up a 
phone and phone to somebody and put you in jail when they like to 
do, without any law, because they have only the law on the paper and 
they never used it in their lives. 

The Chairman. When a person is subjected to an arrest in the 
United States, a written charge is filed against him giving the reason 
for the arrest. Does one receive that kind of a paper, a charge against 
one? 

Mr. Tarasov. I was not entitled to a reason. According to Russian 
constitution, since the party may change, they can do anything. 

The Chairman. You answered to one question that your wife lived 
with her parents. How many were in the household ? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). There were eight persons and 
they had four rooms altogether. 

The Chairman. What were those rooms? Did that include a 
kitchen, or what ? 

Mr. Tarasov. A kitchen and three rooms, and there were eight per- 
sons living in it. 

The Chairman. Did they own the home? 

Mr. Tarasov. This was the house that was owned by the father-in- 
law. 

Mr. Tuck. Have you and your wife communicated with each other 
since you have escaped ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English). No, I have not. 

Mr. Tuck. Where do you live now ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I am living in the Washington area. 

Mr. Nittle. Were you a member of the Komsomol, that is, a mem- 
ber of the Young Communist League ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, I was. 

Mr. Nittle. When did you join it ? 

Mr. Tarasov. In 1954. 

Mr. Nettle. Would you tell the committee why you joined it ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Because I was interested in going to nautical school 
and it is very difficult to go to the nautical school without being a 
member of the Komsomol Union. 

Mr. Tuck. Have you secured employment anywhere since you have 
been here? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). No, I have not had a chance 
to work yet. I was attending the school at Georgetown University. 

The Chairman. Did you speak English before you came to the 
United States? 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 805 

Mr. Tarasov. In practical terms ; I knew a few terms but I did not 
know the language. 

The Chairman. I will say you have made amazing progress. 

Mr. Nittle. Are all young people required to become members of 
the Komsomol, or is it a matter of choice with them? 

Mr. Tarasov. Nobody officially forces you to go to Komsomol, the 
Young Communist League, but if you are not a member, most of the 
better schools will be closed to you, so you are closing the door to your- 
self for better education if you are not a member. 

Mr. Nittle. What is the age limitation on membership in the 
Komsomol ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Between 14 and 24. 

Mr. Nittle. Based on your experience in the Soviet Union, would 
you tell the committee why most Communist Party members join the 
party? Is it because they are dedicated believers in Marxism and 
Leninism ? 

Mr. Tarasov. It is a question of education. You immediately be- 
come a party member and you get a lot of privileges coming with it. 
I don't think most of them are dedicated Communists. They just 
joined the party for privileges. 

Mr. Nittle. Do the party members actually accept, and believe in, 
the doctrines of Marxism and Leninism ? 

Mr. Tarasov. As far as I understand, they don't. 

Mr. Bruce. May I pursue a point here ? 

The Chairman. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Bruce. Are you speaking now on an assumption or on know- 
ledge that those who are in the Communist Party are there because 
they desire privilege and not because they believe in the Communist 
program ? 

Mr. Tarasov. It is very difficult to answer this question, but I spoke 
to many party members in the Soviet Union. I was among them for 
quite some time, and mostly they don't give the impression to be dedi- 
cated Communists in private relationships when you are with them. 

Some of them would not actually know what Marxism and Leninism 
is. They would be able to repeat sentences at times but they don't 
understand it. 

Mr. Bruce. Is it your impression, then, that those that you have 
associated with are being used by dedicated men at the higher level 
in the Communist apparatus ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I must admit that I don't think the people up in the 
higher levels are even dedicated Communists. 

Mr. Bruce. For one who has lived under a Communist state, how 
can you then explain the fanaticism of the Communist parties through- 
out the world where they are not under the domination of the Soviet 
Government ? 

Mr. Tarasov. My impression is that international communism is 
possible only because most of those who are far away from what the 
real life in the Communist country means are still idealists who think 
they are promoting a good idea. Those that are in the country itself 
and that see this thing being realized in the country are losing the 
belief and are losing their Marxism-Leninism doctrine. 

The further you are from the center, the more you are easily in- 
doctrinated in this theoretical type of Marxism. 



806 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Tarasov, in your opinion, how effective was the 
Komsomol, at least the unit you belonged to, in winning Soviet youth 
to communism? 

Mr. Tarasov. It would be difficult to answer this. There is no 
specific indoctrination, as a matter of fact, in the younger organi- 
zations. 

I don't think they have a very great interest. 

Mr. Nittle. Apparently your views appear to be substantiated by an 
article published in KomsomoVshaya Pravda on May 16 of this year, 
not long after you were freed by an Indian court. This article was 
written by the deputy head of the section for the Industial Komsomol 
Organizations for Union Kepublics of All-Union Komsomol Central 
Committee. I will read just a few excerpts from this article. 

The Chairman. That is an article from what ? 

Mr. Nittle. It is written by the deputy head of section for In- 
dustrial Komsomol Organizations for Union Kepublics of All-Union 
Komsomol Central Committee. 

The Chairman. What is "Komsomol organizations" ? 

Mr. Nettle. The Young Communist League. 

I will read a few excerpts from this article, Mr. Tarasov, and then 
ask you to comment on them : 

* * * it is especially important to indoctrinate young sailors with a sense 
of Soviet patriotism and an acute implacability toward bourgeois ideology and 
morals. This is the first word for Komsomol leaders. * * * 

* * * The Komsomol activists of the steamship line and the port cities — 
Odessa, Nikolayev, Batumi, and Novorossiysk — have given no thought to how 
best to acquaint the young sailors with the achievements of the Soviet people, 
or with the work in enterprises, at construction sites, and on kolkhozes and 
sovkhozes. 

In its decree, the All-Union Komsomol Central Committee suggested that Kom- 
somol organizations of sea transport, rayon Komsomol committees, city and 
oblast Komsomol committees, and the Komsomol Central Committees of union 
republics strengthen ideological and political work among the youth of the fleet 
and train them in the spirit of principles of the moral code of builders of Com- 
munism. 

Young sailors have distant and long roads. Their ideological training and 
their moral stability must be safe and without the slightest "gap" ! 

Do you believe, Mr. Tarasov, that your defection may have had 
something to do with the publication of this article and the decree men- 
tioned in it? 

Mr. Tarasov. It is quite possible. 

Mr. Nittle. Do you have any other comments to make on the 
article? 

Mr. Tarasov. It is a usual procedure when something like that hap- 
pens. They usually have meetings and articles of that type to disci- 
pline the Communists. 

Mr. Nettle. Now that you are in the United States, will you tell 
the committee what your plans for the future are ? 

Mr. Tarasov. First of all, I would like to continue my education. 
I started my education in electronics in the Soviet Union and I hope 
I can get a scholarship of some kind and I would like to finish my 
education first, to become a useful citizen. 

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Chairman, that concludes the staff interrogation. 

The Chairman. Mr. Tarasov, obviously you were not a big name 
in the Communist world in your struggle with its bureaucracy, but 
there are many others like you in this country. You will not be alone 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 807 

and you, as an individual, will now have opportunities within your 
reach which you never had in the Soviet Union. This committee is 
completely satisfied that your disillusionment with communism is 
complete because of information we have received from the very 
thorough screening you have gone through with the security agencies. 

With that, good luck. 

Mr. Schadeberg. I have just a few questions on some unrelated 
matters I have been saving up. 

Were you allowed liberty, when you served aboard the ship, in other 
ports ? 

Mr. Tarasov. We did not have too much freedom as sailors in the 
Soviet Union when we went to a foreign port. Usually we were 
grouped into groups of four or five, and one of them is usually a senior, 
and he must be a Communist and he is responsible for the group, as 
such, to come back to the ship. 

We go to some places like markets and what not, shop in the win- 
dows, and then we come back to the ship. 

Mr. Schadeberg. Do you serve on a ship by your own request, or are 
you sent there by authority? Do you have a right to choose your 
own job? 

Mr. Tarasov. In my case, I was undergoing a year's practice ex- 
perience. I was off school for a year and this year was necessary. It 
was part of my education, so I was assigned to the ship on the basis 
of my vocation. Basically, however, you have to have an open visa, 
so-called, as it is called in the records in the Soviet Union, so you do 
have to be reliable enough to get this sailor's open visa. 

Mr. Schadeberg. What about tours in general ? In your mind, do 
you think that most Soviet citizens would like to travel abroad, either 
permanently or otherwise? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English) . I think so, but it is not available. 

Mr. Schadeberg. In other words, it is not possible, generally, for a 
citizen to get a tourist visa to go abroad; and if they do go abroad, 
what about the ones who do travel — how are they chosen, if you know ? 

Mr. Tarasov (through interpreter). I don't know anything about 
it. I never had a chance to meet people of that type. 

Mr. Schadeberg. I have another unrelated question. In your own 
mind and in your own experience, do people in Russia believe what 
they read in Izvestia, Pravda, and so forth ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I don't think so. 

Mr. Schadeberg. What sort of feeling do you believe exists between 
the various people of Russia like the Russians, Georgians, and so forth, 
in the different parts of Russia ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I don't think there is any hatred between those 
nationalities. 

Mr. Schadeberg. This is a personal matter. Were you exposed in 
your earlier life to any religious life in the church or the doctrines of 
the church ? 

Mr. Tarasov. I believe in God. That is what I know, but I never 
was exposed to any religious training. 

Mr. Schadeberg. Is that because of the training of your parents, or 
is that just an innate thing? 

Mr. Tarasov. No, it is my own belief. I read the Bible and I was 
interested in this thing. It is my personal belief. 



808 DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 

Mr. Schadeberg. Could you read the Bible in Russia if you wished ? 

Mr. Tarasov. The Bible is available. 

Mr. Schadeberg. Are there churches open in the various cities, or 
are there communities where there are no churches open ? 

Mr. Tarasov. There are churches in the Soviet Union and they are 
attended. 

Mr. Schadeberg. Do many people attend them ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Specifically in the rural areas the churches are 
attended very regularly. 

Mr. Schadeberg. By young and old alike ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Usually it is just people who are older who go to 
church. 

Mr. Schadeberg. Is there any unemployment, as such, in Russia ? 

Mr. Tarasov. There is no such term as "unemployment" in the 
Soviet Union. It is not in existence. 

Mr. Schadeberg. Everyone w T ould be taken care of by the state. 
There Avould be none in need of it ? 

Mr. Tarasov. That is right. Everybody is employed in the Soviet 
Union. 

Mr. Schadeberg. I have one other question. It is about crime. 
We hear in various parts of the world about crime. Is there crime or 
theft, and so on, in the Soviet Union ? 

Mr. Tarasov. It is difficult to say. I have no statistics. Naturally 
there are thefts, and we hear about them, but our press never wrote 
anything about it so it is very difficult to make a judgment about it. 

Mr. Bruce. I would like to join the chairman in welcoming you 
as a refugee from a total state onto the shores where we regard the 
rights of the individual as being sacred. The few questions I have are 
asked only for the purpose of gaining a perspective and evaluating 
the depth of testimony here in certain areas. 

As I understand it, you have not been a member of the Communist 
Party in the Soviet Union ? 

Mr. Tarasov (in English) . No. 

Mr. Bruce. Have you ever received any courses in the period of 
your education, which has been identified as higher than our high 
school, on such subjects as dialectical materialism ? 

Mr. Tarasov. No, I never had a course like that. 

Mr. Bruce. Have you ever had any courses in the period of your 
education on Marxism-Leninism, as such ? 

Mr. Tarasov. No. 

Mr. Bruce. Then, to summarize : Your testimony here is that of a 
citizen who was enslaved by a total state but not as an expert on the 
theory of Marxism-Leninism ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, sir ; that is exactly the case. 

Mr. Bruce. Thank you very much. 

Mr. Ichord. I understand your wife was a member of the Com- 
munist Party? 

Mr. Tarasov. No, she was not. 

Mr. Ichord. I was rather interested in the political officer aboard 
ship. What kind of quarters did he have on his ship ? What was the 
nature of his quarters ? 

Mr. Tarasov. He is the first assistant to the captain of the ship and 
has no other duties but the political indoctrination and control. 



DEFECTION OF A RUSSIAN SEAMAN 809 

Mr. Ichord. He had no other duties ? 

Mr. Tarasov. No other duties but the political indoctrination and 
control. 

Mr. Ichord. He was considered as inferior to the captain so far as 
command was concerned ? 

Mr. Tarasov. Yes, he was under the captain, as his right hand. 

Mr. Ichord. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. Mr. Tarasov, would you care to make a final state- 
ment in your own words before we come to a conclusion? If it is 
easier, you can say it to the interpreter. You may be able to express 
your thoughts better that way, if you care to. 

Mr. Fediay. He wants to make it himself. 

Mr. Tarasov. I appreciate all of the efforts of the people who have 
helped me to come to the United States of America, which is a free 
country, and I would like to be a good citizen of the United States of 
America. 

The Chairman. You couldn't have said anything better. Thank 
you very much. This will conclude the interrogation of this witness. 

(Whereupon, at 11 :45 a.m. Thursday, September 19, 1963, the com- 
mittee adjourned, subject to call of the Chair.) 



INDEX 



Individuals 

Page 

Castro, Fidel 803 

Dreiser, Theodore 798 

Fediay, Victor 794 

Loudon, Jack 798 

Tarasov, Vladislaw Stepanovich 789, 790, 794-809 ( testimony ) 

Tarasov, Mrs. Vladislaw Stepanovich 802-804,808 

Twain, Mark 798 

Organizations 

All-Union Komsomol Central Committee. (See entry under Young Communist 

League, Soviet Union.) 
Industrial Komsomol Organizations for Union Republics. (See entry under 

Young Communist League, Soviet Union ; Ail-Union Komsomol Central 

Committee. ) 
Komsomol. (See Young Communist League, Soviet Union.) 

Moscow University 804 

U.S. Government, U.S. Information Agency, Voice of America 789, 798 

Voice of America. (See entry under U.S. Government, U.S. Information 

Agency.) 

Young Communist League, Soviet Union (Komsomol) 789,804,805 

All-Union Komsomol Central Committee 806 

Industrial Komsomol Organizations for Union Republics 806 

Publications 

America Illustrated 789, 798 

Izvestia 807 

Pravda ■-— 807 

Soviet Empire: Prison House of Nations and Races, The 793 

i 

o