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December 22, 2016
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September 2, 2010
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November 23, 1983
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STAT Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/09/02 : CIA-RDP90-00552R000606510001-4 %- T C. E iPFESF.Z0 WALL STREET JOURNAL 23 November 1983 7 ! ,-tee An Eastern Defector's Family Is Taken for a Ride Home Europe No. 2 was Vladimir Kostov, who had been through it before. First victim of the by Claire Sterling secret agents famous-they attacked him ROME-Over the weekend of Nov. 12- with one in Paris, in April 1978-he was 13, the wife and young son of a Bulgarian lucky enough to survive. (His compatriot defector living in Munich disappeared at- _ Georgi Markov died after a stab in the ter boarding a train for Vienna. Suspicions. thigh with an umbrella just like it, in Lon- that they had been kidnapped by Bulgarian don, a month later.) Since then, Mr. Kos- agents were confirmed a few days later when Bulgaria's own state news agency announced that wife and son were both safe in Sofia, and "very happy" to be home. toy has been a highly effective broadcaster for Radio Free Europe in Munich. No. 3 was Velicko Peikev. Formerly with Bulgaria's state information service in Sofia, Mr. Peikev grew up with the Bul- rate more than a short wire-service item in garian national Sergei Antonov, arrested in Tl a Vest. In the precarious world of East- Rome just a year ago for alleged complic- ern Europe's political emigres, things like ity in the papal plot. On the invitation of this happen all the time. Investigating Judge flario Martella, . Mr. Yet there was an extra element of raw, Peikev visited Mr. Antonov in jail. His re- deliberate cruelty here that might be com- port of the meeting made quite a splash pared to a public flogging. The condemned in the Italian press. man must not only be punished but must Mr. Antonov was most certainly "an in- be seen to be punished, to make an unfor- telltgence agent in Rome." he later told gettable impression on his audience. the New York Times. "Antonov has lied The Bulgarian in this case is no faceless emigre. He is Col. Stefan Sverdlev, the highest-ranking officer ever to defect from the Bulgarian secret service. He has been a magnet for Western reporters since Bul- garia was first implicated in the plot to rill Pope John Paul. Lengthy interviews with Col. Sverdlev have. appeared in dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, the Reader's Digest, the left-wing Paris daily Liberation, the conservative Le Fi- garo and the Italian Socialist Party's Avanti. The burden of his message has been not only that Bulgaria was indeed be- hind the papal plot, but that its security service "is totally subordinate to Soviet policy, and entirely under the KGB's con- Col. Sverdlev has been warned that he troI." would "pay dearly" for this "treacherous behavior." Since last October, in fact, he has been No. I on a publicly circulated hit repeatedly (since his arrest), even in small things, and the Italians can prove it. .. ?. , Antonov is afraid. He knows he could spend a long time in prison. But even if he's sent back, he realizes his life would be in danger. He knows too much." No. 4 was Iordan Mantarov. A senior intelligence officer in-Bulgaria's Palm bassy who defected in 1981, Mr. antarov caused an international sensation in his in- terview with the New York Times's NicWo- las Gaze last March 23. He claimed that a still higher-ranking friend in the Bulgarian security services had told him all about the papal plot beforehand, and provided Mr. Gage with some riveting details. Officially,* Bulgaria dismissed Mr. Man- tarov as an impostor and a fraud, who had never even worked at the embassy. t(.5. intelligence analysts, tilting consistently list of four "evil Bulgarian exiles," "dan- toward Bulgaria on the whole case, also gerous traitors" taking part in "the wild__wrote off his story as "third-rate bear- and irresponsible anti-Bulgarian campaign which started in Italy." The hit list was mailed out to the entire Bulgarian emigre community in West Ger- many, on a costly engraved letterhead bearing Bulgaria's coat-of-arms, by anony- mous "intellectuals in exile." Like Col. Sverdlev, who headed the list, Nos. 2, 3 and 4 had "upset" Bulgarian leaders griev- ously-that.was the word used-by insist- ing on Bulgaria's guilt before the whole world. The story seemed too commonplace to say") Yet it hardly s me likely that Rnl- Earia would out a mere impostor and fraud mn so carefully selected a hit list as the Ine. Evidently the regime in Sofia is deter- mined to silence a very particular kind of Bulgarian emigre: the kind who can bear witness in the West to Bulgaria's role in the papal shooting. The method used for Col. Sverdlev was classical entrapment. His wife Pavlina's 80-year-old mother in Bulgaria wrote on Nov. 4 that she had miraculously gotten permission to join a bus' tour for Vienna the following weekend. This might be her last chance to see her daughter. Would Pavlina join her at the-Hotel Fuchs in Vi- enna? The Sverdlevs were not overly suspi- _cious, because Pavlina's mother had mi- raculously gotten permission to make the same trip a year before, and nothing had happened when Pavlina joined her. This time, Pavlina even took along her 13-year- old son. The pair never reached the Hotel Fuchs in Vienna. Neither did Pavlina's mother, who probably did not see through the fic- tion of her miraculous journey until it was too late. No busload of Bulgarian tourists showed up at the hotel either, nor had any reservations been made for them. While Bulgaria does not customarily publicize its successful abductions of run- away citizens, it made a point of announc ing this one. Nobody was going to be left in doubt about the fate in store for Col. Sverd- lev's recklessly talkative gang of four. "Pavlina and her son are in Bulgaria and enjoying the amnesty here," reported ' the Bulgarian telegraph agency four days after she and her son had vanished. "We have returned of our own free will .. . with the help of my mother. Our mother is capable of doing anything for the happi- ness of her child," Pavlina was quoted as saying. "We are very happy to be back and grateful for the human understanding surrounding us here. ." She had "dreamed" of coming back ever since her husband forced her to leave, added the Bulgarian news agency. Pavlina and her husband had walked many. miles through the night, carrying their five-month-old baby, to slip over the border into Greece in 1972. She did think often after that about coming back-ex- actly the way she was brought back. The thought, according to Col. Sverdlev, haunted both her and himself. Some might i call that dreaming. Claire Sterling, author of "The Terror Network," will soon publish "The Time -of the Assassins" (Holt, Rinehart & Winston), a book about the shooting of the pope. Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/09/02 : CIA-RDP90-00552R000606510001-4