Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Boris Solomatin Interview

Page 7

Moscow skyline (AP)
Moscow skyline (AP)

Q: Is there a difference between the Russians who betray their country and Americans who commit treason? Are their motives and personalities different?

A: Yes, there are great differences. Our traitors are really traitors, and these who you call your traitors, well, we call them good-willed people. (laughs) That is what both sides do. They see what they want to see. We make heroes of those who help us and give them medals and curse those who betray us.

As far as the motives, there is no romance here. It is always for the money. There was one person with me who was different and this was Souther. He came to us not for money. He really believed in the superiority of our ideology and so did Kim Philby, the famous British spy. But nowadays they are the exceptions. Most spies are men who sell their souls for cash.

Q: Do you think the Russian government owes anything to John Walker?

A: I should say when answering this question that possible steps on the part of our government to help John Walker are not my responsibility. But it is rather late for Walker to ask us now for help. What can we do? But the history of our intelligence service shows that we always help our friends. This is true of him and will also be true of men who followed him.

Q: Do you mean Aldrich Ames, who the KGB supposedly still owes $1 million?

A: You must draw your own conclusions here. But we do not turn our backs on our friends.

Jerry Whitworth, spy (CORBIS)
Jerry Whitworth, spy
Q: Please let me ask a few more questions about the Walker spy ring. John recruited his best friend, Jerry Whitworth, his own brother, Arthur Walker, and later on groomed his own son, Michael Walker, to spy. Who caused the most damage?

A. John and Jerry Whitworth were both very, very important. I cannot compare between the two of them but my opinion is that there is absolutely no comparison between the information given by them and these other two fellows - the brother and the son. Their information was inferior. Nothing compares with ciphers, which is what Walker and Whitworth gave us. I do not even remember anything of interest being given to us by the brother.

Q: Let's talk about Aldrich Ames even though you say that you know nothing about the case. Your resume shows that you were still the deputy of the First Directorate in 1985 when Ames first began to spy for the KGB.


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