Igor Gouzenko

 

Igor Gouzenko was the GRU cipher clerk in Ottawa, Canada who defected and revealed names of Russian agents in Canada.

On September 5, 1945, he left the Soviet Embassy, carrying documents with him, and walked into the Ottawa Journal building, where he told his story. 

But the daily paper felt that the scoop was both dangerous and in excess of the scope of a local paper. They suggested that he should go and see the Department of Justice the following day.

Gouzenko knew that any delay could prove fatal to him. Nevertheless, along with his family, he attempted to see the Minister of Justice, Louis St. Laurent, the following day. St. Laurent had been told about the affair by his staff, but was unable to take immediate action. 

Since diplomatic relations with the USSR were very good at the time, the Minister preferred to check out the allegations before meeting Gouzenko. He felt that he might otherwise damage the friendship between the two countries and undermine other states' confidence in the USSR.

The Soviets then tried to capture their defector, but without success. 

On September 7, Gouzenko and his family obtained political asylum, but the affair remained secret for several months, while the government collected proof.

Igor Gouzenko was given a new identity and lived with his family under police protection until his death in June, 1982, near Toronto.

Right up to his death Gouzenko would hide his face every time he made a public appearance without an alias.

 

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