Boris Solomatin Interview
Everyone in the Western world knows about John Walker. There were four books about him published in your country. There was a film, hundreds of news articles, and so on. Everybody knows but the Soviet people. Nothing was ever written here. Why? I ask you. I ask myself.
Perhaps for some in Russia, the 1960s and the beginning of 1980s were the years of social stagnation. That is what we call it here - no progress, no improvement, just stagnation. But as the John Walker affair shows, this was not true for the Soviet intelligence service. We regularly supplied the Soviet leadership with first class information. How effectively was this information used? That is not for me to say. All an intelligence professional can do is provide the information to a political leader. By the way, this problem is not only the Soviet problem, but I am sure the problem of your country too. We can only give what we know to our leaders, we cannot force them to act.
Q: So was John Walker the KGB's most important spy - is that what you are saying?
A: Was he the most important? The question has been put not correctly. Each serious source has his own specialization and to choose from them only one would not be right. As far as military strategic information is concerned - specifically information about the main component of the U.S. atomic triad, the submarines with atomic rockets - yes, he perhaps was most important. During the Cold War, you were considered our main enemy and, at the time when the nerves of the rulers of both super powers were strained to the limit, it was then that we depended on what Walker provided us. I will quote from your own documents, the memorandum for the trial that your former Director of Navy Intelligence, Admiral [William] Studeman provided to the court. I'll quote. "Walker created powerful war-winning implications for the Soviet side." You Americans like to call him the "spy of the decade." Perhaps you are right.