Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia
Wednesday, January 13, 1960: Day 6 in Minsk: The Experimental Shop
Oswald begins works at the Minsk Gorizont (Horizon)
Radio Factory. The KGB observes the factory gate from
8:00 AM. It is reported he left work at 4:25 PM and took a
series of trolley buses to his hotel, where he arrived at 5:00
PM. At 7:55 PM he comes down for his dinner in the hotel restaurant and
retires back to his room at 8:25 PM. Surveillance is suspended at
The KGB notes that Oswald is employed at the radio factory " in accordance with order No.6 (12.01.60) as a regulator, 1st grade in the experimental shop."
Source: Mailer, Oswald's Tale: KGB Chronology 13.01.60 . [my emphasis]
The same notation as above, is found in a document presented in the Warren Commission Hearings: CE 985, Volume 18, pg 435: "Assigned to experimental shop as
regulator on the basis of Pr. 6 of 1/12/60" Presumably, "Pr" stands for
"Prikaz" -- Order .
THE EXPERIMENTAL SHOP: HORIZON RADIO & TV PLANT -
It is possible that Oswald worked at two locations during his term of employment at the Horizon Minsk Radio & TV Plant. Prior to being posted in a metal lathe shop, Oswald was first assigned to the "Experimental Shop", where parts were produced for new technologies and components in research and development.
In 1992, we were not allowed to film inside the Experimental Shop, due to its sensitive work for the Russian Air Force, but we were allowed to film the exterior. The Horizon Factory, not only produced and produces today, consumer radios and televisions, but also electronic components for the Russian military and space program. The factory official giving us the tour of the facilities, could not confirm for us if the Experimental Shop was a high a security zone in 1960, when Oswald was assigned there.
However, It should be noted that in an essay on the Minsk factory,
Oswald describes the experimental shop as "a two-story building with no
particular mark on its red brick face."
I could not determine the date on which Oswald might have been transferred away from the Experimental Shop, if he was indeed transferred; I was told by witnesses that they thought it was "six weeks to several months" after his arrival; early in his Minsk part of the journey. If the Experimental Shop was a high security area in Oswald's time, then he might have been deliberately first assigned there in an attempt to "flush" him out as a spy. When after at least six weeks in a sensitive area, Oswald did not compromise himself in any manner, the KGB and factory officials probably concluded:
B. Oswald is a genuine defector, but is unskilled, uneducated, and suffers from a bad work attitude, and therefore, should be moved out of the sensitive Experimental Shop before he breaks something or drags behind important production plan quotas.
(For the record, Minsk KGB officers deny that they had anything to do with Oswald's work assignments.)
In a strange way, Oswald's employment in the Experimental Shop, eerily foreshadows his brush with another industrial security perimeter at work, that of Jaggars-Chiles- Stoval in Texas, the photo-lithography firm with military contracts, where Oswald worked from October 12, 1962 to April 6, 1963.
No employment status prior to entering Minsk radio plant.
1/13/1960: Assigned to experimental shop as regulator on basis of Pr. 6 of 1/12/60
5/18/1962: Once resigned voluntarily, according to [illegible] statement on basis of Pr. 70 of 2/17/62
|In his Historic Diary Oswald writes:
I work as a "checker," metalworker; pay, 700 rubles a month, work very easy. I am learning Russian quickly. Now everyone is very friendly and kind. I meet many young Russian workers my own age. They have varied personalties. All wish to know about me, even offer to hold a mass meeting so I can speak. I refuse politely.
Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia