Inevitably any discussion of the Kennedy assassination leads to the Russian angle in that the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald lived in the Soviet Union for a few years before returning to the United States with a Russian wife. He also visited the Soviet embassy in Mexico City before he finally murdered the President. It is also asserted by CIA that the consul was a KGB officer from the department responsible for sabotage and assassination. More than a little embarrassing. And that was why Anastas Mikoyan, the best foreign minister the USSR never had, was despatched to Washington post haste after the assassination to assure the Americans that Moscow played no part in the crime.
The deputy consul, KGB officer Oleg Nechiporenko, had received Oswald who, when he realised he was getting nowhere in his conversation pulled a gun on Nechiporenko, was promptly disarmed and slung out of the building. He then went off to the Cuban embassy, presumably to a better reception.
We knew all this from Nechiporenko’s published memoirs. What we do not know is the Cuban side of the picture and that has never been forthcoming, and one does wonder why. A Cuban in a position to know is quoted as having said that Oswald was a very good shot and since Kennedy had been trying to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the latter would have every reason to return the favour. The documents not released by Trump and still retained as secret by the US National Archives at the request of the US intelligence agencies do contain intercepts of Cuban communications as well as of Soviet communications to and from Cuba. We know that from the inventory released by the former NSA employee Edward Snowden.
A former Major-General of the FSB has now repeated the denial of Soviet involvement made ever since November 1963 with the words: ‘v ogorode buzina, a v Kieve dyad’ka’ – in English, ‘a cock and bull story’. An interpreter at the UN once met this phrase for the first time and hurriedly misinterpreted it as Shakespeare’s reference to something rotten in the state of Denmark. This elicited outrage from the Danish ambassador, who took everyone by surprise in launching a tirade against the evils of corruption under Soviet totalitarianism to the bewilderment of the Russian ambassador.
The question, though, remains: what is there in the Russian archives, particularly of the SVR and FSB, that could throw light on Cuba’s involvement?