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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June, 2007

THE CHEREPANOV CASE, 1968-1980 FOLDER 24. THE CHEKIST ANTHOLOGY

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    In this folder Vasili Mitrokhin reports that in 1968, a part-time student of the Vilnius Polytechnic University, Cherepanov, was sentenced to two years in a correctional facility for disseminating inflammatory leaflets in downtown Vilnius calling for the overthrow of the Soviet government. In 1970, he returned to Vilnius upon release and was unable to find employment. The KGB recruited Cherepanov, but in 1974 he was fired from the agency network for attempting to exploit his connection with the KGB for personal use, for behaving provocatively and making derogatory statements about the leadership of the KGB, and for intending to leave the Soviet Union. In 1978, Cherepanov met Yolanda Vachatis, citizen of Canada. They tried to get married, but the KGB intervened. In January 1980, Cherepanov attempted to leave for Israel. He applied for permission from the Office of Visas and Registration at the Ministry of the Interior, but was denied. In March 1980, Cherepanov met with Heikki A. Surye, citizen of Finland. Heikki agreed to assist Cherpanov and handed him a map marked with locations safe for escape. Cherepanov persuaded Surovets to come along. The two began collecting information critical of the Soviet regime in order to publish it in the Western press. On June 30, Cherepanov and Surovets left Vilnius for Riga. Once in Riga, Cherepanov mailed a letter to Vachatis, who resided in France at that time, saying that he was planning to meet her there sometime in July. On July 7, Cherepanov and Surovets reached the border zone. The warning system was set off, but, due to a rainy weather, footsteps could not be traced, enabling Cherepanov and Surovets to cross the border. Heads of the 11th and 2nd customs checkpoints and others were reprimanded for negligence and mismanagement of the situation. Cherepanov and Surovets were taken back to the USSR on July 24.
    "The Cherepanov Case, 1968-1980 Folder 24. The Chekist Anthology," June, 2007, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Contributed to CWIHP by Vasili Mitrokhin. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112816
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