Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia
An Unauthorized History from the Kennedy Assassination 

Minsk Part 2 
Oswald and the Minsk KGB

Copyright © Peter Wronski 1991-2008

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KGB IN MINSK January 1960.

Shortly before Oswald was to leave Moscow for Belorussia in January 1960, the KGB chief of counterintelligence in Minsk, received a small dossier on Oswald from Moscow Central. The file contained mostly reports by Intourist informants and officials, a summary of Oswald's request for asylum and official disposition thereof, and a report on Oswald's "suicide attempt."  No details were furnished on Oswald's military history, family, past life in the US, etc.  Oswald was characterized in the file as a disgruntled former US Marine private claiming to be a Marxist and seeking Soviet citizenship.

KGB CHIEF OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE MINSK 1960:  COLONEL GOLUBTSOV?

In Oswald's Tale:  An American Mystery Norman Mailer interviewed that Minsk KGB officer, giving him the pseudonym of "Igor Ivanovich Guzmin."  I believe that his actual name is GOLUBTSOV.  According to Mailer,  he was born in 1922 and was assigned by Moscow Central to Minsk KGB counterintelligence in 1946.   He retired in 1977 as head of  Belorussian Republic counterintelligence.  His primary assignment from 1946 to 1953 was to hunt down former collaborators with the Nazi occupation forces, although that probably included and extended to anybody Stalin wanted purged in the postwar era.  Golubtsov also would be concerned with capturing agents infiltrated by parachute or land into the Minsk area by US and British intelligence services: four such US agents were captured in 1951 alone. (These would have been former Soviet citizens working for US intelligence.)  Oswald was identified as a potential threat to the USSR and not as a possible source for intelligence.  There were express orders that Oswald was not to be formally debriefed.    The Oswald case was only one of many for which Golobutsov was responsible in Minsk   According to Golubtsov, the KGB was considering the following factors and scenarios in their analysis of Oswald's threat potential:

    Oswald's former service in the Marines was alarming, as the KGB perceived the US military as frequent recruiting ground for US intelligence agents;
    Oswald's claim of being a Marxist, was suspicious in view of his apparently poor proficiency in Maxist-Leninist theories;
    Oswald, it was feared, perhaps spoke better Russian than he let on;
    Oswald was on an intelligence assignment to check out how the Soviet authorities handle US defectors;
    Oswald was a genuine immigrant to the USSR;
    Oswald was mentally unbalanced. 

Golubtsov understood his mission as ensuring that Lee Oswald was not a threat to the USSR, without Oswald having a bad time; just in case he really was a genuine immigrant to the USSR and a potentially valuable propaganda scoop.


OSWALD MINSK KGB CASE OFFICER:  CAPTAIN ALEXANDER FEDOROVICH KOSTIKOV

Two days prior to Lee Harvey Oswald's arrival in Minsk, Colonel Golubtsov chose a case officer who would coordinate the network of informants and day-to-day surveillance operations around Lee Oswald.  Mailer gives this officer the pseudonym of "Stepan Vasilyevich Gregorieff."  His real name is ALEXANDER FEDOROVICH KOSTIKOV.  (No known connection to Valery Vladimirovich Kostikov, the Mexico City USSR Embassy resident KGB officer whom Oswald allegedly met with in 1963.  Another example of the remarkable coincidences that occur in the JFK mystery:  what are the odds that two KGB officers with the same name would become connected to Lee Harvey Oswald? ) 

Alexander Fedorovich Kostikov would remain as the case officer until Oswald's departure home, and would then be further involved in the KGB's actions in Minsk after the assassination. Alexander Fedorovich Kostikov personally ran and debriefed, all or some of the Russian informants close to Lee Harvey Oswald.

Alexander Kostikov was a local Belorussian born in the Mogilov area,  according to Mailer's account.  During the war Kostikov had supervised the interrogation of German prisoners.  After the war he revealed a talent in recognizing spies among former Soviet citizens who returned to the USSR from the West.  Although he was not fluent, he spoke and understood a little English.  He was a seasoned officer who resided with his family, as it was the custom, in comfortable apartment blocks reserved for KGB command officers. His commander was his neighbor in the same building.  On the Oswald case, Alexander Kostikov was three ranks away from reporting to the top in Moscow.


LEE HARVEY OSWALD ARRIVES IN MINSK

Friday, January 8, 1960: Day 1 in Minsk.

Oswald traveled by train from Moscow by himself unescorted. He would have departed from Moscow's Beloruski Vogzal, a few blocks outside the Ring Road on Gorky Street (now Tvesrskayaya).  Should Oswald have attempted to get off the train at any point before his destination, he would have been quickly and easily apprehended by local authorities.  Oswald arrived in Minsk either on the night of January 7 or morning of January 8.  He was met at the old Minsk station, (today no longer standing) by two Soviet "Red Cross" employees and brought to the Hotel Minsk, in the center of the city.  He was checked into room 453, a budget accommodation intended for Soviet citizens.  According to his Historic Diary, Oswald was greeted on his first day by the mayor of Minsk, who promised him an apartment and warned him about "uncultured" persons who might insult foreigners. 

Saturday, January 9, 1960: Day 2.  

According to KGB surveillance reports transcribed in Mailer's volume, Oswald exited the Hotel for forty-five minutes, from 11:40 AM until 12:25PM.  During that period he visited a few stores in the neighbourhood--a butcher, a grocery, and a bookstore. He also returned to the train station and looked at a photo display and stepped into a restaurant for a moment.  He apparently "paid attention to people entering after him." After returning to his hotel, he had lunch in the dining room and afterwards went up to his room.  At 4:40 PM he came down to the hotel restaurant and returned to his room forty-five minutes later.  The KGB suspended the surveillance at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, January 10, 1960: Day 3.

Oswald exited his hotel for 25 minutes to purchase an electric plug.  Except for taking meals alone in the hotel restaurant, he did not exit again.  Surveillance is suspended at midnight. 

In his first three days in Minsk, Oswald only steps out into the streets for a total of 75 minutes. Oswald writes in his Historic Diary"January 10, The day to myself.  I walk through the city.  Very nice."  Very much in the same way as he remained closed up in his hotel complex in Moscow, Oswald makes only brief forays into Minsk, preferring to remain in his room or the hotel restaurant below.

Monday, January 11, 1960: Day 4.

Oswald writes in his Historic Diary:

    January 11

    I visit Minsk Radio Factory where I shall work. There, I meet Argentinian immigrant Alexander Ziger, born a Polish Jew, immigrated to Argentina 1938, and back to Polish homeland (now a part of Belorussia) in 1955.  Speaks English with an American accent.  He worked for an American company in Argentina.  He is head of the department, a qualified engineer in late 40's, mild-mannered, likable.  He seems to want to tell me something.

      [ NEXT:  THE "EXPERIMENTAL SHOP" AT THE MINSK RADIO FACTORY ]

KGB surveillance photo of Lee Harvey Oswald

KGB surveillance photo of Lee Harvey Oswald and KGB confidential informant Pavel Golovachev taken on Victory Square near Oswald's apartment.

KGB HQ in Minsk  1992

KGB HQ Minsk

 
HQ on Prospekt Lenina looking north east 


Minsk Railway Station circa 1960

Minsk Railway Station circa 1960



 
Lee Harvey Oswald with
Alexander Romanovich Ziger
(Person in the center is named Anatoly)

 


Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia
An Unauthorized History from the Kennedy Assassination 

Minsk Part 2 

Oswald and the Minsk KGB

Copyright © Peter Wronski 1991-2008

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