Member of the loudest exchange of the Cold War, Vladimir Bukovsky, who, in 1976, the Soviet Union exchanged for Chilean communist leader Luis Carvalhal, is responsible questions Bi-bi-si on the exchange of prisoners and spies in connection with the case Sutyagin.
Bi-bi-si: How can a process of exchange?
Vladimir Bukovsky: This tradition is very old. It began with an exchange of prisoners of war at all times. This gradually evolved into the whole procedure, the system when security forces exchanged their agents — a continuation of the same concept of the exchange of prisoners of war. During the Cold War, this model is extended to people not privy to any government action: human rights, political prisoners, ideological opponents of the regime.
Exchange of prisoners, at least, was regulated by the Geneva Convention. We were no convention did not apply. All this was done at the initiative of the States, usually behind the scenes, negotiations were under way, and once there they decide to do it.
Bi-bi-si: In your case, how did this happen?
VB: We no nothing and informed about what did not ask. Here, as I understand it, the government provided some pressure Sutyagin, something that he acknowledged and agreed with something. We talk and this was not, no one of anything we did not ask. We did not know what was happening. We simply was transferred from the detention center, as a rule, to Moscow, to Lyafortavo, and from there drove to anyone.
In my case, I have just spent the night in Lefortovo, knowing absolutely nothing — no ads I did not — and the next day already understood and knew what was happening. Even when I was put on a plane in handcuffs, I just said that her mother, who in the same plane with her sister and nephew were exported abroad.
The plane takes off from the military base, a government plane was empty, except for us and there were a dozen officers in plain clothes. As it turned out, they were officers of the "Alpha". It is written in their official history, it was their first operation. Which is pretty funny: why use the group "Alpha" — that is, the anti-terrorist group, well-trained and so on — in our export abroad? I then weighed 59 kg. I have every strong man could take under his arm and take out and I had no strength.
Bi-bi-si: Did you know that are flying to the UK?
VB: No, and I do not fly to the UK first. Exchanged in Switzerland.
Exchange took place at the airport in Zurich, Switzerland, and the UK there was nothing to do. Later, when I saw the secret documents of the Central Committee, including on its exchange, it became clear that the negotiations were more than a year between Chile and the Soviet Union by the U.S. State Department as well as in Chile and the Soviet Union at that time had no diplomatic relations.
Soviet very insisted that it was not declared as an exchange. For this to be the way they write, the simultaneous release of that being said, it is difficult to discern. But because of that the negotiations were very long, because no country has agreed to mediate if the exchange does not take place under its control. Well, the truth, if I was released somewhere in Frankfurt and Karvalyana in Geneva, who will be responsible for the fact that both parties have fulfilled their abavyazanni? Neither side would not do it.
Shveytsartsy who were asked to act as mediators, insisted that everything was done in one place. Call it what you want — exchange, the release is shveytsartsav not interested. Since they are both mediators are responsible for the exchange, they have to control the situation. And so it was: the aircraft arrived, they took in the surroundings Swiss army, and came three ambassadors with machines: the Soviet, American and Chilean. The Soviet ambassador took us back to the Soviet plane to his car, took the American Karvalyana with his wife in the Chileans and took on the Soviet side. And then drove to the Soviet car took us up and drove to the airport. That's been exchanged. And the challenge is to avoid the moment when we met with Karvalyanam. To exclude this moment was invented such a ridiculous procedure.
Bi-bi-si: Then you have not met with him ever?
VB: No, never. He said that he has banned the party to meet me, and he is a party, disciplined. So I met with him.