KGB files show details of Oswald's Soviet stay

NEWLY RELEASED Soviet files may shed light on one of America's most enduring mysteries, the assassination in 1963 of President John F Kennedy. The documents concern Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot the President in Dallas. Many Americans still suspect Oswald was part of an elaborate conspiracy.

The former US marine lived briefly in the Soviet Union, leading to speculation that he was a Soviet agent - and counter-speculation that he was a convenient patsy for American right-wingers. The files - assembled at the request of the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin - were handed to the US at the weekend during the G8 summit.

They are unlikely to prompt any great revelations. "The Russians opened their files to Norman Mailer and Lawrence Schiller years ago, resulting in Mailer's Oswald biography," said John Locke, an independent researcher on the assasination. "Some details may emerge, but they won't be central." Large parts of the KGB files were revealed in Izvestia several years ago. But they will provide new information on one of the strangest eras in Oswald's life.

Oswald was a source of great fascination for the KGB, which concluded he could not possibly have been the only assassin: he must have been part of a larger conspiracy. But the Izvestia reporter, Sergei Mostovshchikov, said this was partly professional jealousy. They could not understand how a man under their noses for so long and disregarded, had emerged as such a significant figure.

Oswald arrived in the Soviet Union in October 1959, having flown from London to Helsinki. He claimed political asylum and when the authorities tried to throw him out, he slashed his wrists. They let him stay.

He was under heavy surveillance while he lived in Minsk, now the capital of Belarus, because the KGB believed he worked for the other side. They were extremely interested when he bought a rifle in August 1960 and joined a hunting club because they suspected he would use this as an excuse to visit secret facilities while out on "hunting" trips. In fact he sold the rifle shortly afterwards and was a poor marksman.

He had a job as a low-level worker at a radio factory, and in March 1961 he met 19-year-old Marina Prusakova at a dance. They married and had a child.

The KGB was increasingly suspicious that Oswald missed "numerous union meetings and cultural events", and doubted his political commitment.

When he finally returned to America in 1962, disillusioned by his experiences, he said to a neighbour: "You go on building your communism by yourselves. You can't even smile like human beings here."

The authorities decided that he was of no interest as adversary or ally.

Oswald came to the attention of the KGB again when he visited the Soviet embassy in Mexico City, wishing to return to the Soviet Union. He was fed up with being followed and harassed by the FBI, he said. The KGB brushed him off. The next time they heard of the former employee of Department 25 at the Gorizont radio factory was 22 November 1963, the day that Kennedy died.

Izvestia and Mr Mailer say the Oswald files contained no big new secrets. After Belarus became a separate state, the files caused a wrangle with Russia. Now it is up to the US what is released. Whatever is made public, addicts of conspiracy theories will continue to believe still more has been hidden.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game