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I have recently been working on a timeline of Oswald in the Soviet Union. There were things in this timeline that I discovered that were new to me about Lee Harvey Oswald in the Soviet Union. They are probably things that the old hands at the Forum know, but I thought I would post this for folks who don’t know like me. The information on the Red Cross was the biggest eye opener and what the Russians gave the defector Robert Webster. January 5, 1960: Harvey Oswald went to the Red Cross in Moscow for money. He said, “I receive 5000 rubles, a huge sum!! Later in Minsk I am to earn 70 rubles a month at the factory.” Note: That is 70 rubles a month not 700. This makes one wonder if he knew the value of Russian Rubles. Or, was he being in part facetious? In the 1960s the exchange rate for rubles to dollars was different for old rubles as versus new rubles in 1960. The internet offers this information from Wikipedia: “Its parity to the US dollar underwent a devaluation, however, from $1 = 4 old rubles (0.4 new ruble) to $1 = 0.9 new ruble (or 90 kopeks).” With these figures 5000 rubles becomes $4500 and 70 rubles becomes $63.00. If my math is right $4500 was a large sum to given by the Red Cross. Why would the Red Cross do that? The $63.00 is less than what he made as a PVT in the Marines. This becomes important once he reaches Minsk and this amount of money is adjusted. January 7, 1960: Oswald left Moscow by train for Minsk, Belorussia. At this time, he wrote his mother and brother saying, "I do not wish to ever contact you again. I am beginning a new life and I don't want any part of the old." Note: Why would he say such a cruel and hateful thing? Did he hate his family? If all is true about Harvey then this was not his family. They were some folks he had to deal with in the role he was playing. Or, was this a message to his superiors that all was successful and he was to stay in Russia? And, that he was about to accomplish the mission he was sent into Russia to do. This mission was more than likely not working in a factory in Russia. January 7-January 11, 1960: Oswald arrives in Minsk and during the next couple of days meets various people there. January 13, 1960: Oswald begins work as a “checker” metal worker at the radio factory in Minsk. The amount of money he receives is adjusted. He now receives 700 rubles from the Red Cross on the 5th of the month and another 700 rubles for his job at the radio factory. This 1400 rubles is the same pay as the director of the factory. Note: This is very suspicious. What had he done to receive as much money as a factory director of an important industry in Minsk? Let’s compare what Oswald received in relation to what the most famous British double agent, Kim Philby, received from the Russians. Philby, the most important Russian spy in Britain for Russia, received 200 pounds or approximately 1670 rubles per month from the Russians when he defected to the Soviet Union. Kim Philby became a member of the Communist Party in 1912 and for many years he was a secret Russian agent. Harvey Oswald received nearly as much as the most notorious spy defector of the Cold War period. Oswald had 1400 rubles as versus Kim Philby’s 1670 rubles. To answer the question about why the Red Cross gave 700 rubles per month to Oswald is that they didn’t. That money was paid to the Red Cross to give to Oswald by the Russian MVD. The New York Times Archives June 28, 1964, Page 56 “DALLAS, June 27 (AP)— Lee Harvey Oswald said that the Russian secret police had paid half of his income during 1961 while he was in the Soviet Union, The Dallas Morning News said today in a copyright article. The article by a News reporter, Hugh Aynesworth, said the funds had been mentioned in notes made by the accused assassin of President Kennedy shortly after he had left the Soviet Union in 1962. Oswald wrote he felt the monthly 700 rubles was payment for “my denunciation of the U.S. in Moscow.” He made the same amount at a job in Minsk. in the Soviet Union. In a diary disclosed by The News, Oswald mentioned that the additional 700 rubles had been given hini by the Red Cross, but after leaving the Soviet he wrote: “When I went to Russia in the winter of 1959 my funds were very limited, so after a certain time, after the Russians had assured themselves that I was really the naive American who believed in Communism, they arranged for me to receive a certain amount of money every month.” “Oh, it came technically through the Red Cross as financial help to a poor political immigrant, but it was arranged by the MVD [secret police],” Oswald wrote.” Let’s compare what Harvey Oswald received in comparison to another defector, Robert Webster. From: THE DEFECTOR STUDY Staff Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations U.S. House of Representatives Ninety-fifth Congress Second Session March 1979 “In the last of July or early August, Webster attended what described as a serious, no drinking meeting held in a private restaurant room at the Metropole Hotel.(247) Webster told two Soviet chemists he could help them make the Rand spray gun he had demonstrated at the U.S. Exhibition.(248) On September 9 he was told he had been accepted by the Soviets. (249) Although he had requested to work in Moscow, Webster was informed he would be sent to Leningrad. (250 ) The following day the Soviet officials registered Webster at the Bucharist Hotel, and instructed him not to leave.(254) He was given 1,000 old rubles and asked to write a note to a Rand employee requesting the money be left for him at the hotel because he was on a tour of Russia. (252) Webster's girlfriend joined him the following day and both went on a month vacation at the Suitland Sanitarium in Sochi. (263) They returned to Leningrad and began work at the institute, where his girlfriend was employed as an assistant and translator. (264) Webster received 280 rubles per month and a semiannual bonus of 50 to 60 rubles. (265) He lived with his girlfriend in a new apartment building and had three rooms with a bath.” From Oswald’s Collective paper he said this about the average workers pay: “Here girls solder and screw the chassis to the frame attaching, transistors, tubes and so forth. They each have quotas depending upon what kind of work they are engaged in. One girl may solder 5 transistors in four minutes while the next girl solders 15 wire leads in 13 minutes. The pay scales here vary but slightly with average pay at 80 rubles without deductions. Deductions include 7 rubles, general tax, 2.50 rubles for bachelors and unmarried girls and any deductions for poor or careless work the inspectors may care to make further down the line. They start teams of two mostly boys of 17 or 18, turning the telvisions on the conveyor belts right side up, from where there has been soldering to a position where they place picture tubes onto the supports. These boys receive for a 39 hour week, 65-70 rubles, not counting deductions. Further on, others are filling tubes and parts around the picture tube itself, all along the line there are testing apparatus with operators hurriedly afix shape type testing currents, and withdrawing the snaps that fitting out a testers card, pass the equipment back on the conveyor, speed here is essential.” So, what Oswald was told originally about what he would be paid, 70 rubles, seems to be close to what the average workers at the radio factory were paid. Let’s summarize Oswald’s pay in relation to others: Kim Philby- The most notorious Cold War British spy received 1670 rubles from the Soviets when he defected. Lee Harvey Oswald- Oswald received 1400 rubles, 700 for his job and 700 more from the Red Cross (actually the MVD secret police) for a low rate job at the radio factory in Minsk. This info on the low quality job comes from fellow workers. Robert Webster- A Rand Company worker who defected to the Soviet Union. For helping them make a spray gun he had demonstrated was given first 1000 rubles and later a salary of 280 rubles per month with a semi-annual bonus of 50 to 60 rubles. Workers at the Minsk Radio factory- Average pay there was about the 70 rubles, perhaps a little higher for women, as Oswald stated he would receive at first. As you can see, whatever Oswald did for the Russians they considered almost as valuable as a spy who worked for them undercover in Britain for nearly 50 years. Philby joined the Communist Part around 1912 as a student. Philby as a top rank British Intelligence officer in MI6. So, what did Oswald do for the Soviets? One can speculate that it had to do with the U2 intelligence operations of the United States. Oswald’s whole military career revolved around aviation electronics and radar operations near the U2 at various bases he was stationed at. What did he know of value? Most claim that he didn’t have anything of value to give or trade to the Soviets. That is not true. Oswald possessed the kind of information that the Soviets would have salivated for and loved to get their hands on. He knew about military operations, equipment such as radars and planes, codes, frequencies, and general intelligence on military bases he was stationed at. He may have known more about U2s then most give him credit for. Oswald was trained in aviation electronics and repair. He worked with a Sgt. Ransberger in repair and maintenance of air craft in California. He lived in the same barracks with the U2 maintenance and repair crews. How difficult would it have been to strike up an after-hours conversation about work? He was stationed or visited some of the most secret military, intelligent bases in the US, Japan, Philippines, and Taiwan. What he knew could compromise the entire US Pacific military and intelligence operations in 1959. Knowing this one can speculate he gave the Soviets sufficient information to help them down the U2 in May, 1960. This would account for the Soviets giving him an extraordinary sum of money for a defector.