Terror?--Still On in Russia
By Mitchell Kehetian
The Detroit Times, August 21, 1960


Visitors to Russia and even residents of the Soviet's larger cities do not realize that, in certain areas of that country, inhuman treatment, fear and persecution are prevalent.

Thomas Mooradian, 31, left his home and family here in 1947 to live in Soviet Armenia, returned two weeks ago greatly disillusioned.

Saturday he broke his silence and declared:

"The state of fear that reigned during the Stalin-Beria era has never subsided.  Innocent people still are arrested merely for asking political questions, and you pray each night, knowing you might be faced with trumpted-up and false charges before the sun rises.  There is no freedom of speech in Armenia or any other soviet republic.  You live from day to day."

Mooradian said Americans should not be lulled by the so-called open door policy instituted by Khrushchev, and added:

"The visiting tourist sees in Russia only what the Soviets want him to see.  The free world must be on guard for what goes on behind the doors that remain closed."

Mooradian defended the U-2 flight of Francis Gary Powers over Russia, saying:

"The Soviets themselves are to blame for the ill-fated flight.  Until they remove their veil of secrecy such flights are a must for the safeguarding of the world."

Mooradian was one of 300 Armenian repatriates from America who went to their ancestral homeland.

He said only a handful of the repatriates are still alive--most of them died of old age and other just disappeared.

While in Armenia, Mooradian taught physical culture and sports--mainly basketball.

The Detroiter said several months after his arrival in Armenia he wanted to return to America--The Reds said no.  

His freedom came through the intervention of the US State Department.

Mooradian graduated with honors from Southwestern High School in 1947.  He captained the school basketball team to the city championship in 1946.

“My wish now is what I prayed for every night while living under the Soviets,” said Mooradian.   “To live the remainder of my life as an American in a free society.”

He rejoined his parents, Mr and Mrs Paul Mooradian, in their home at 1108 N Crawford.