Imants Lešinskis

Imants Lešinskis
Imants Lešinskis

Riga, Latvia
Died 1985 (aged 49–50)
Nationality Latvian
Occupation spy
Spouse(s) Rasma Lešinska
Children Ieva Lešinska
Espionage activity
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service years 1956–1978
Rank Major of the KGB
Codename Ivar
Other work Peter Dorn

Imants Lešinskis (1935–1985) was a Latvian KGB agent and a double agent for the CIA who defected from the Soviet Union to the United States with his wife and daughter in 1978 while working for the United Nations in New York City.[1] His daughter, Ieva Lešinska, made a film about her relationship with her father called My Father the Spy.[2][3] His work mainly consisted of denouncing and defaming, both domestically and abroad, those Latvians perceived as anti-Soviet.[4][5]


Lešinskis was born in 1935, in Riga, Latvia.[citation needed]

In 1956, Lešinskis was blackmailed into joining the KGB as an informant.[6] In 1960, during the 1960 Summer Olympics, under the cover of working for a newspaper called the Homeland Voice, he was tasked with contacting Latvian athletes on the Australian Olympic Team, but he instead approached the American embassy in Rome seeking political asylum. His request was turned down, but he was offered a job working as a CIA informant, which he accepted.[7]

In 1976, Lešinskis and his wife, Rasma, were posted in New York City as part of the Soviet mission to the United Nations, with Lešinskis working as a translator.[8][9] On September 3, 1978, while still posted in New York City, he and his family defected to the West by driving themselves to Washington, D.C. and turning themselves in to the United States Department of State.[10][11] After Lešinskis' defection, Kofi Annan, who would later serve as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, sent him a letter asking why he failed to show up to his UN post.[7]

In 1982, Lešinskis testified in a court case, Kairys v. I.N.S., that a man named Liudas Kairys worked at the Treblinka extermination camp during World War II for the SS. Kairys claimed that the evidence was fabricated by the Soviet Union and Lešinskis told the court that the Soviets had done so in other cases, without commenting on the specific case.[5][12]

Lešinskis died in 1985.[7]


  1. ^ "Geopolitics, History, and the Holocaust | Khrushchev picks enemies". Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "My Father The Spy | Nacionālais Kino Centrs". Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  3. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (June 16, 2020). "'My Father the Spy' Review: To Embrace a Parent or Denounce Him?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  4. ^ "CIA AND NAZI WAR CRIM. AND COL. CHAP. 11–21" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Enstad, Robert (June 24, 1982). "Ex-KGB spy testifies in Kairys 'Nazi' trial". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  6. ^ "KGB defector talks about former job in 'ethnic espionage'". Christian Science Monitor. June 14, 1984. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Smith, Benjamin (July 6, 2001). "How a Double Agent's Daughter Dealt With Life After Defection". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  8. ^ Goshko, John M.; Writer, Washington Post Staff Writers; a Washington Post Staff (September 19, 1978). "Soviet Translator at U.N. Defects". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "Newspaper Reports KGB Agent Defecting". The Tampa Tribune. September 19, 1978. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  10. ^ "Latvians report defection to U.S. of Major in KGB". Montreal Gazette. September 19, 1978. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  11. ^ "KGB Major Defects". Casper Star-Tribune. September 19, 1978. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  12. ^ "Man Accused Of Being Nazi Guard Ordered Deported to Soviet Union". AP NEWS. Retrieved February 9, 2021.

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