Detroiter Ends 13-Year “Lark” in Soviet Union
Courtesy of The Detroit News, Detroit, Michigan August 5, 1960

Self-exiled to the Soviet Union for 13 years, a 32 year old American was secreted in his Detroit home today.

His family said they feared his presence would embarrass them in the neighborhood and on their jobs--but Tom Mooradian said he has his US citizenship back.

Mooradian, who was an honor student and star basketball player in high school, arrived by air unexpectedly yesterday from Soviet Armenia, where he went in 1947. He gave up his American citizenship.

Family members said they had not expected him.

Mooradian's father, Paul, barred visitors from the home at 1108 Crawford North, saying that his wife has a heart condition.

Others of the family said that when Tom graduated with honors from Southwestern High School, he received offers, of college scholarships, but not one he wanted at an eastern university.

This was a period during which about 300 older Armenians from the Midwest were being repatriated to what had become a Soviet country, Funds for the repatriation were raised in Detroit’s Armenian colony.

“Tom thought he would go along for a lark," a relative said.  "He said if he didn't like it, he would come back.

“Within a month, he wrote that he wasn’t too happy. Then there was a period during which he apparently shouldn't write that, and he just said that he would come back as soon as he could.

“I'm afraid people will not understand something a young man did just as a lark. We are afraid of what people will say at work.”

Mooradian had won various kinds of honors-scholastic and athletic-in high school and was an all-state basketball player and member of the 1945 city championship team.

A brother said Mooradian has been struggling to return to this country for several years but could not obtain an exit visa.

So, he attended college there and taught physical culture -- mainly basketball -- throughout the Soviet Union.

The brother said Tom told him only that the exit visa had been arranged by American diplomats and that his US citizenship has been restored.