Inside the walls of the days and nights of my past I became a slave to my nightmares. I had been in the shadows of the KGB for so many years their ghosts became real and they were the masters of my mind. The encounter with the FBI raised my anxiety level. I sought psychiatric help. Stopped after one session after I found out how much it cost.
There was no place for me to hide. To run. I felt exposed. Scorned. An outcast in my own country. And I dared not reveal my secret life to my family. They would not understand.
I had always walked with confidence at my side – the two agencies took that away from me. No one, I believe, would read this prose without stamping it the work of a paranoiac. But, in the final analysis, it was my life. I know the truth.
Did the KGB make a conscious effort to follow up on the threat it had made to me in Moscow that, if I became a “tool of the capitalists” there would be repercussions?
Did the FBI interrogate me after my return?
And did the KGB walk in my footsteps when I walked the streets of Detroit?
It will be you who will judge and decide upon the evidence.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there appeared in a newspaper article published in the now free republic of Armenia that carried the headline: “What Happened to Basketball in Armenia…” In that article, which did not have a byline, the writer describes the rise and fall of the sport in Armenia and goes on to mention the names of some of the top players of the 1950’s. My name appeared in that list. For all of the others mentioned, statistics and playing information was recalled, but following my name, there were intimate details of my personal life in America. A good editor would have asked the writer: “What the hell does this all have to do with basketball” and edit the paragraph out of the story.
I do believe the KGB made a conscious effort to monitor my actions in America. It is obvious that the FBI also considered me a “person of interest” until, like their counterparts in Moscow, interest waned. But, the evil that lived and thrived throughout the 20th century – suspicion, ambition, greed, hunger, exploitation and segregation – lives on unabated in the 21st century.
Despite all of the political nonsense we hear today from those who would be president, even those who advocate “Making America Great, Again”, I have always cherished and loved my country and have celebrated its achievements.
I would say to those who celebrate our country and wish to “Make America Great, Again” that America Has Always Been Great.
Let us all work together to “Make America GREATER!”
Tom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess. Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
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