May 28, 2012
Russia Says the Wallenberg Case Is Still Open
By the Associated Press
The chief archivist of Russia's counterintelligence
service said Monday it will continue searching for clues
about the mystery of Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg, who
vanished while in Soviet captivity.
Lt.-Gen. Vasily Khristoforov said that his agency, the
Federal Security Service, has no reason to withhold any
information about the Swedish diplomat from the public eye.
He rejected critics' allegations that his service, the main
KGB successor, could be hiding documents related to Wallenberg's
"Believe me, had such an information been known to
us, the Russia archivists would have been the first to publish
and show it," Khristoforov told The Associated Press.
"When some people say that we are defending the pride
of the uniform ... it's ridiculous. This is another state
and a different special service."
Khristoforov insisted that he and his colleagues would
have no inclination to whitewash the record of Soviet dictator
Josef Stalin's much-feared secret police, known under its
Russian acronym, NKVD.
"I doubt that any of the Federal Security Service
officers today would associate himself with the NKVD and
would try to defend the uniform of the NKVD," he said.
"That's why this argument doesn't stand criticism."
Khristoforov was taking part in an international conference
that included researchers from Sweden, Hungary, Israel and
Russia. Some of the speakers strongly urged Khristoforov's
agency to give independent researchers investigating the
Wallenberg mystery free access to their archives.
Wallenberg is credited with saving thousands of Jews in
Budapest by distributing Swedish travel documents or moving
them to safe houses.
He was arrested in Budapest by the Soviet Red Army in 1945.
The Soviets initially denied Wallenberg was in their custody,
then said in 1957 that he died of a heart attack in prison
on July 17, 1947.
The Russian government has never formally retracted the
initial Soviet version, but some officials acknowledged
that Wallenberg likely had been killed. In 2000, Alexander
Yakovlev, the one-time chairman of a presidential panel
investigating the fate of repression victims, said he had
been told by a former KGB chief that Wallenberg was killed
in Lubyanka prison.
That year, Russia also conceded that Soviet authorities
had wrongfully persecuted Wallenberg and posthumously rehabilitated
him as a victim of political repression.