One of the most easily refuted claims in John Armstrong’s book Harvey & Lee is that Lee Harvey Oswald (“Harvey” per Armstrong) spoke no Russian in the Soviet Union. One purpose of this silly allegation is to prove that Marina spoke English while in Russia and she was therefore a spy. The following excerpt is from page 334.
NOTE: 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 this time you were speaking in 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 [emphasis in original] who said that Oswald spoke Russian while in Russia. Ana Ziger, who saw Oswald three or four times a week during the 2 1 /2 years he lived in Minsk, said he never spoke a single word of Russian. All of Oswald's male friends spoke English and he associated with girls from the foreign language institute who spoke English. Oswald, as a cold war spy in a hostile country, would never dare to speak Russian to Marina or anyone. Therefore when Oswald and Marina met it is almost certain she spoke English with Oswald.
But Armstrong’s own witness, Ana Ziger, does not confirm his allegation. In 1995, Ziger told an Argentinian publication that “Nobody could say anything [about lies LHO told] because he spoke Russian poorly Dad would translate ...” So, LHO certainly did speak Russian, albeit poorly at the time, and Alexander Ziger translated as a matter of convenience.
There is, of course, a mountain of additional evidence refuting the assertion. The definitive article debunking the claim was written by John Delane Williams.
As Williams points out, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of individuals in Russia who could testify to the fact that LHO spoke Russian. Ernst Titovets knew LHO well in Russia and stated that he spoke Russian. Upon learning of Armstrong’s claims, Titovets interviewed the following people who knew LHO and confirmed that he spoke Russian:
· Vyacheslav Stelmakh
· Vladimir Zhidovich
· Dr. Alexander Mastykin
To sum up, another bold assertion by Armstrong is completely without merit.