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Lee Harvey Oswald’s closest English-speaking friend when Oswald lived in Minsk, then part of the Soviet Union, from 1959-1962. “Erich [Ernst Titovets]…is my oldest existing acquaintance…a friend of mine who speaks English very well …” as Oswald would put it in his Historic Diary. In his book Oswald: Russian Episode, Dr. Ernst Titovets investigates the Russian period of life and activity of Lee Harvey Oswald. Excerpts of a blogpost. Did Oswald Speak in Russian while Living in the Soviet Union? John Delane Williams and Ernst Titovets () When Titovets learned that Armstrong stated that Oswald spoke no Russian while in the Soviet Union,  Titovets was amazed. Titovets stated, “It was a cause of genuine surprise on the part of my old friend Vyacheslav Stelmakh, Ph.D., a senior researcher at the Belorussian State University who knew Oswald at the Radio Plant and was also friends with Oswald’s first love Ella German, when I told him a researcher in the States doubts the fact that Oswald spoke Russian. There are still many Russians here in Minsk who would confirm the fact.” () Ernst Titovets apparently decided to read Harvey and Lee for himself, presumably to answer the question, how did Armstrong conclude that Oswald spoke no Russian in Russia? Titovets then sent me an e-mail  addressing only those portions of Armstrong’s book that pertained to Oswald’s being in Russia and only those portions that was familiar to Titovets. TITOVETS VS ARMSTRONG (The Armstrong quotes are from HARVEY AND LEE) Armstrong:”I wanted to be sure I understood her answer and said, “Ana you knew Oswald from the time he arrived in Minsk until the day he and Marina left for the United States. You and your parents accompanied them to the train station and took photographs (published in the Warren Volumes). During that time he never spoke any Russian, even up to the day he left Minsk?” Ana, once again replied, “No,-not a word. My father always interpreted for him-he was the only person in the family who spoke English…” (p. 288)…“An English-speaking medical student, Erich (Ernst) Titovets, first met Oswald at the Hotel Minsk and later was a regular visitor to his apartment.” (p. 289). Titovets: Actually, I met Oswald not at the Hotel Minsk, but at the Zigers' apartment. It was in the presence of the whole family: Alexander Ziger, his wife Signora Anna and his two daughters, Anita, and Eleanora. Oswald spoke Russian and there was no need to interpret for him- Armstrong: “At the factory Oswald met another person who spoke English. Pavel Golovachev, the son of a famous Soviet Air Force General…After Pavel and Oswald began spending a lot of time together the KGB asked him to report on Oswald’s activities. He dutifully informed of his contacts with Oswald and kept them apprised of his movements.” (p. 289). Titovets: Pavel Golovachev did not speak English at all. Once he confided in me that he wished he did and he was sorry he did not speak the language. Armstrong “On October 18  Lee Harvey Oswald celebrated his 21st birthday. Ella Germann, a girl from the Horizon factory who Oswald had been dating the past two months, and spoke very good English, attended a small birthday party at his apartment.”(p. 311). Titovets: Ella Germann did not speak English at all. Armstrong:”It is clear that Marina associated with Americans, spoke English with Webster and almost certainly spoke English with Oswald… Marina’s ability to read, write, and speak English fluently before she left Russia is indisputable.” (p. 340). Titovets: Marina did not speak English at all. It would be really surprising if she would have spoken English with Oswald and completely ignored me even when the three of us were together. Armstrong : “When Oswald and Marina met, danced, and agreed to a date the following Friday they spoke a common language. Was it Russian or English? The HSCA asked Marina, ‘At the time were you speaking Russian together?’ She answered, ‘Yes. He spoke with an accent so I assumed he was from another state.’ Oswald came in contact with hundreds of people in Russia, but Marina is the only person-THE ONLY PERSON who said that he spoke Russian while in Russia.” (p. 334). Titovets: Armstrong is right about there were so many people who met Oswald in Minsk. There are still many living who would have testified to the fact that Oswald spoke Russian to them. In the book Oswald: Russian Episode one can find an illustration with Oswald’s longhand in Russian on the inside cover of a book where Oswald contemplates the names for his future child. Incidentally, Oswald signed his writings. When a date-line does not fit Armstrong’s he dismisses it as an error and suggests his “correct” one. To give an example: Armstrong: “NOTE: We will soon see the date of March 17 is in error.” (p. 333). Titovets: It is the night at the Trade Union Palace when Oswald first met Marina Prussokova. The date of March 17, 1961 is correct. Two recent interviews were conducted by Ernst Titovets with persons who had known Oswald when Oswald was living in Minsk. The first interview was with a neurologist Dr. Alexander Mastykin, MD., Ph.D. on March 20, 2013. Mastykin was a medical student at the time he met Oswald. Mastykin was learning Spanish and practiced the language at the Spanish-speaking Zigers family. He knew Anita Zigers very well. Titovets: Did Anita Ziger speak English at the time she knew Oswald? Mastykin: I never heard a single English word ever drop from her lips! Titovets: John Armstrong wrote a book Harvey and Lee and there, according to John Armstrong, Anita would say to him in an interview that Oswald did not speak Russian at all while he was in Minsk. Mastykin: It would be Anita all over! I wouldn’t put it past her that she might well invent things and say anything on the spur of the moment, unnecessary true, just for kicks. It might well depend on her mood, how she was approached and if the question was a suggestive one. Titovets: Did Oswald speak Russian? Mastykin: To say the truth there was not much love lost between the two of us; I mostly tried to steer away from him. I did not speak English while Oswald did not speak Spanish so it was Russians on those rare occasions when we happened to meet. ----------- The second interview was with Vladimir Zhidovich, a leading engineer at the Radio and Cosmic Technologies Department of the Bylorussian State University in Minsk. This interview took place on March 19, 2013. Zhidovich worked together with Oswald at the same shop in the Radio Plant in Minsk. Titovets: Vladimir, do you know English? Zhidovich: No, I do not. Why ask? You know that I don’t speak the language! Titovets: Never mind. I’ll tell you later. Just answer my questions! Did Oswald speak Russian? Zhidovitch: Russian was the only language we could communicate with him. He was not a talkative person and his Russian needed much brushing up. But he understood most [of] what he was told to and reacted accordingly. Titovets: Did anyone at the Radio Plant speak English to him? Zhidovitch: No way! Nobody knew English around [there] and I never heard anybody speaking English to Oswald at work. Even Stanislav Shushkevich, when he happened to drop over on business to the shop, spoke Russian to him. Now, tell me what’s this all about? Titovets: A John Armstrong in his book Harvey and Lee insists that Oswald did not speak Russian while those around him spoke mainly English. We both know perfectly well that Oswald did speak Russian and I just wanted to hear it from you to oblige an American friend and researcher who wants to check the fact. Zhidovitch: First I thought it was some kind of trick question. Of course Oswald did speak Russian! KK
It is with pleasure (because of the difficulty locating and/or purchasing this work) that I offer this (with John's general permission and/or encouragement via Len Osanic's BlackOp Radio show #857, timestamp 1:15:46~1:16:28) to any and all who wish to further research but found this book extremely costly or difficult to find. Included within the link is the supplemental CD-ROM that was included with the actual book. A very special thanks to John Armstrong for his actually encouraging uploads and use of his book and to the original uploader years ago here at the Ed. Forum. Again, it is with general or impersonal permission from Armstrong himself that I post his work for download and research. Harvey & Lee PDF/Book Harvey & Lee CD-ROM Please let me know if you into any issues downloading and I will fix asap.