By Edward Limonov
M y first visit to first Secret Service in my life occurred in October 1973. Dzherzhinskaya Street, number two, in Moscow happened to be an ordinary old building, and absolutely nothing indicated that inside of it is located mighty and glorious and sinister organization: KGB. Night preceding a visit I spend terribly. I barely slept few hours, and at 7.30 in the morning KGB officer called me to remind me that he is going to wait for me at 9 a.m. Anton Semionovich forever will exist for me without family name. They never gave their family names, those KGB people. (That very tradition is valid today as ever. Recently I met two of them, of FSB, from antiterrorist squad, those two were also nameless, just Nikolai Pavlovich and Dmitri Evegenyevich.)
So at 8.50 I was there, near the entrance, wearing white jeans and leather jacket. Did I have a fear? Yes, sure, I felt as I will enter and never will exit from ordinary building. Few days before my apartment was visited by three militiamen and young tall Anton Semionovich, wearing glasses in "golden" frame. They took me to local militia precinct, where Anton Semionovich interrogated me during five hours. He proved to be a good connoisseur of my poetry (he even recited my poem "Glory To an Army") and connoisseur of underground art in general. Unfortunately he spoke also about me to become their informer, and I didn't wanted to inform for them. So, at 8.50 I felt badly, when I pushed heavy door of Dzherzhinskaya, 2, building.
Inside I have discovered two soldiers, armed with machine guns, been busy to guard two large staircases. And Anton Semionovich waiting for me. The walls were painted in weak greenish color. Later I went at that same building many times. We never made a deal. I have refused their proposition. But Anton Semionovich and his superiors are responsible for my eventual departure to the West. They pushed me that way. Almost twenty years later on June 24, 1993, I was invited to a main KGB building by two KGB generals. I visited Felix Dzherzhinsky's office, was accorded a privilege to sit in his armchair. I spoke for two hours with KGB officers. Our conversation was friendly. We just regretted that we didn't recognized each other's patriotism twenty years earlier. (But events of October 1993 put an end to a friendship between me and KGB.)
In 1977, on February 6, less than four years later of my visit to Dzherzhinskaya I was entering FBI headquarters in New York's midtown, if I am not mistaken 201 East, 69th street. FBI agent Ron Hubbard (I bet, it wasn't his name, that is name of a father founder of church of scientology) was like a twin-brother of Soviet Anton Semionovich. Also tall, young, blond, wearing glasses in fine, but metal frame. The walls of FBI were painted in same weak green, as KGB at Dzherzhinskaya, 2. I noted few minor differences, as no soldiers with machine guns at hallway, but a guardian, occupying a booth with a window. Asked by a Ron Hubbard, guardian gave me a yellow badge with a word "Visitor" on it and we went upstairs.
I found that only a table and chairs were furnished in Mr. Hubbard's office. No papers, except folder what he brought with him.
The questions, Mr. Hubbard asked me, were as innocent as Anton Semionovich's questions. My birthdate, place of birth, the names of my parents, etc. Ron know very well my articles published by emigre newspaper "Novoye Russkoye Slovo" as well as Anton Semionovich knew my poetry. Despite a fact that I was fired from newspaper a year before. Mr. Hubbard also knew surprisingly well my text, "Broadcast of New York's Radio," what was rather unbelievable, as it existed only three copies of it. However, Ron Hubbard was so kind that he explained that mystery. I found out from him that that very same day "Novoye Russkoye Slovo" published huge editor's column, where editor Andrei Sedikh practically accused me of ARSONING location of his newspaper the day before. His accusation was based on my text that he quoted, "The Broadcast..." a fantasy on the subject of revolution in New York. So, we discussed the subject.
For a next few years FBI have discussed the subject with a dozens of my friends and acquaintances, as well as with my ex-wife. In inquiry sent to Gennady G, friend of mine, I was named "Lermontov," I remember that it flattered me.
When I left Ron Hubbard's office after interrogation, I remember I saw an announcement on the wall of corridor, insignificant piece of paper actually, what stated that baseball teams of FBI and CIA were about to play. Mr. Hubbard angrily removed announcement, angrily and immediately. Probably it was a breach of FBI regulations: visitor could memorize a place of baseball fight between FBI and CIA men and could arrive at a game with submachine gun?
Because of that folder of Ron Hubbard I have received a green card not after two years of living in the United States, as is normal, but a five years later with a great difficulty and only with a help of New York City congressman. Congressman's name was also Green.
In 1985 stateless Limonov discovered that all his temporary documents have expired. So, he applied for French citizenship. Normally citizenship is given automatically to a white foreigner, a writer, wearing a glasses, author of a five books published in France. Take it monsieur! But mysterious Mr. Savenko, alias Limonov, intrigued all the secret services, so I was invited to headquarters of DST at Rue Nelaton 7, to Monsieur Bessan, and that wasn't surprise to me was rather colorless, blond, tall, young (in his late twenties or early thirties) and wearing metal-rimmed glasses. His only distinction from his KGB and FBI colleagues was that he had a cold. He frequently pressed white handkerchief to his nose. Walking with him from the hall to insides of the building I have committed mistake. I went upstairs, but he corrected me. "Downstairs, Monsieur Saven-ko." So we went downstairs, two or three floors.
On both sides of a long corridor I saw a row of doors. Monsieur Bessan have opened one of the door, looked inside, as if he wanted to be sure that room is good enough for us, then close it and choose another one. We went into room. The door was no less than foot thick. All the furniture in room was metallic and unmoveable as it was bolted to the floor. Our chairs, mine and Monsieur Bessan's also. Interrogation was easy one and similar to KGB's and FBI's. Date of birth, place of birth, names of parents, how I got out of a Soviet Union, etc. Monsieur Bessan looked from time to time into his folder. Folder he brought with him. I asked him in what extent his report on me will affect my quest for a citizenship. In great extent, he said.
Next time I met Monsieur Bessan in 1986, when Armenian terrorist organization ASALA have exploded few bombs, killing great number of French citizens. I haven't receive yet my citizenship, so Monsieur Bessan have said on telephone that he wants to know some more details about my life. But what he did during the very same questions-answers session (my birthdate, names of my parents, etc.) then constantly turning to my relationship with Armenians, in particular with a owner of Parisian art gallery (on Boulevard Raspay) Carig Basmadian. Basmadian will disappear two years later in Russia, probably killed. Monsieur Bessan again have a cold and frequently used his handkerchief.
You don't have to think, reader, that those events the only my confrontations with a secret services. No, in 1980 in Paris I was invited to restaurant by somebody called Sam Perkins, allegedly journalist of a "Reader's Digest." Few years later I found his name in "Liberation's" report on uranium's trade. It happens that my Sam Perkins was known CIA agent, using "Reader's Digest" as a cover.
When in October 1980 I went to British Embassy for visa, I was accorded unnecessary long conversation with a Mister Kew, visa officer. He had in his hands folder, and he said, smile on his face, "I know you rather well, Mister Savenko, I read your dossier." I have to say that never before had I applied for visa to England. And that five "tsiganes" or gypsies have received their visas before me without conversation with Mister Kew. But I have said nothing.