Either a Soviet resident or an American spy: a non-trivial story of a double agent
Journalist and intellectual, security officer and defector. Either a Soviet resident, or an American spy, or a Latvian, or a German, or Imant, or Peter Friedrich. Still on his grave near Washington - a made-up name, reports'Present Tense'.
In Riga, there are only a couple of declassified documents in the national archive and conflicting memories of relatives and friends. Former friends - there are no other spies. An unknown story about the oath and betrayal, flight and treason, told by the daughter of a former Soviet intelligence officer who asked for political asylum in the United States, in a documentary by Gints Grube and Yaak Kilmi.
Film available on site 6 to April.
Cemetery of the small town of Vienna, West Virginia. Peter F. Dorn. Years of life: December 17, 1931 - December 23, 1985. At least these numbers do not lie.
Imant Leshchinsky was buried here, he died suddenly when he was 54 years old. The woman at the grave is his daughter, Ieva Leszczynski-Geiber. According to her memoirs, diary entries, travels through archives and places of memory, the shard after shard is restored, the story of a girl who has become an involuntary victim of spy games is collected from a broken family service.
There is still no clear version of the death of the double agent Leschinsky. An autopsy was not performed. The funeral was secret. And his lifetime memoirs completely disappeared mysteriously. As soon as the iron curtain collapsed, lovers of historical conspiracy theories began to race to guess - did the people from the Lubyanka kill the scout or were secret agents of the CIA? What secrets did he take with him?
“I wasn’t particularly happy. It's like, you know, when you walk down the street, and everyone says to you - smile! Well you smile. Just because it has to be done, ”she says.
What was her childhood, Ieva does not remember well. She was born in Latvia, then - the most "European" of the Soviet republics. Socialist Riga is probably the only place where one could feel like a "Western" person, and jazz could be heard from the windows of cafes on the cobblestone streets. Ieva's parents divorced when the girl was six. She stayed with her mother. But in the family album there are photographs where the whole family is assembled. There are also very early pictures - they show little Ieva smiling in a carriage. These black and white frames are more than half a century old. History has torn the edges.
Innocent photos. One detail - they were made not by a loving dad, but by specially trained people in uniform, those from a separate service to create myths and legends for secret agents of the KGB. Cut all unnecessary, missing faces - paste. Collage of fictional life.
“I didn’t have a special relationship with my father, except perhaps my fantasies. I saw him once every two or three months. We went to a cafe or restaurant together. He was always well dressed - in a nice suit, nice hat, smelling of expensive perfume. But who was he? What did he do? All I knew was that my father was an important person. "
We recruited an intellectual, a lover of literature and history, Imant Leshchinsky back in the 1950s. He was not even thirty then. First, he and his family had to go to Germany under the guise of a German born in Koenigsberg. Spy on the Soviet state. But that story did not come true.
“When I was 7 months old, my parents took me in an armful and transported me to Moscow. To be trained by the KGB and become spies. My mother only told me that my father worked for the KGB when I was about sixteen years old. A huge secret. But she never said that I was also part of the KGB ”.
Old audio tape. The inscription on the cassette: March 30, 1984. Washington. Voice recording dad. He speaks English with absolutely no Soviet accent:
“I had three spy missions related to the Olympic Games. My mission was to collect intelligence information, to establish contacts with influential people ... "
In 2003, a book by Janis Liepinsh “I collaborated with a double agent of the KGB and CIA Imants Leszczynski” was published in Latvia - a bestseller, a spy detective based on real events. For the first time, it was there that the story of a double agent was described.
Recruited by the KGB in 1956, Leshchinsky volunteered to cooperate with the American CIA back in 1960, when he was in Rome as part of the Soviet delegation at the Olympic Games. That is, in fact, all the work of the Chekists in the area of Latvian emigration from the very beginning was controlled by the Americans.
What did Leshchinsky do? After the annexation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union, the local intelligentsia massively left their homeland. Many have left for the United States. Among them, to propagandize the Soviet idea and build a loyal attitude towards the USSR was the key task of Leshchinsky. First, from Riga, regularly visiting western countries and meeting with prominent representatives of Latvian emigration. Then - from New York.
Identity card of Imant Leshchinsky, UN mission employee. Expires 1981. Issued 1976. It was in that year that he was transferred to work in the States. An intellectual with horn-rimmed glasses, for a long time headed the magazine for emigrants Dzimtenes Balss (Voice of the Motherland), gave lectures in Latvian clubs around the world. He quickly climbed the career ladder and became the chairman of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Compatriots Abroad. A very high position in the hierarchy of the "propaganda department" of the KGB. As a double agent, he persuaded the most popular Latvians from the diaspora to return to the Soviet Union. Then in his diaries he recalled:
"I let the genie out of the bottle, and now I need to drive it back."
Until now, the attitude towards the role of Imants Leshchinsky among the Latvian intelligentsia is very ambiguous. One of the most emotional scenes in the film is when Ieva calls her father's friend. But before he can introduce himself, he hears in response (politely, but categorically): “I don’t think you will enjoy talking to me. I won't tell you anything good about your father. ” Short beeps.
In the fall of 1978, Imant Leshchinsky commits an incredible act. Suddenly, for the Soviet mission in the UN, for his leadership in the KGB, he asks for political asylum in the United States. He is forced into a confrontation with the staff of the Soviet embassy. They persuade him to change his mind. But he “chooses freedom”. Shortly before this act, he draws up documents for his daughter - a visa to America and permission to leave the Soviet Union. The daughter, who first appeared in the United States, without suspecting anything about her father, remains in America.
“I believed Soviet propaganda, what I saw on TV - these stories about the fact that every American carries a pistol in his pocket, that there is a sex show at every turn.”
America in the eyes of a Soviet girl - what is it? One-story and poor - in the provinces, depraved and dirty - among New York skyscrapers, where cops with clubs bathe between sex workers in tattered stockings.
Of course, everything turned out to be completely different. “It was like I was in heaven,” - with these words Ieva now recalls the first sensations from the city of freedom. And the smell - for some reason, soap in the shower.
Probably one of the most striking scenes of the film is a description of hugs. How does the spy greet you? Even if he is your father? Not too emotional. It seems to be warm. But still detached. Whether you are at least a daughter, at least an enemy agent, the movement of the hands of a Chekist (or a prince) is always honed and memorized. They have such a job that they have to leave warmth and love in the same place where their real name is.
On the subject: Great and powerful: what shockes Americans studying Russian
One day (without waiting, not preparing for this) Ieva Leszczynski also had to become a different person. The father chose the name Peter Friedrich Dorn. Dorn means thorn in German, he wanted to be the thorn that would stab the Soviet Union. Allegedly, he was engaged in publishing. According to legend, Ieva was born in East Berlin, after the construction of the wall she moved to West Berlin. She became Evelina Dorn, to be abbreviated as Eve - almost Ieva's real name. And it was she - Evelina Dorn - Ieva Leszczynski was until her father's death. And until her death, she did not ask him questions about why he chose to be a spy, why he made her a prisoner of his decision, without asking permission. Both she and you can find the answer to the question in the film.
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