For more than two years in the early 1960s, the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was Oswald’s home. On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, RFE/RL has comprehensive reports that chart Oswald’s time in Minsk with the people who knew him.
WATCH: Correspondent Pavel Butorin interviewed three people who befriended, studied, and worked with Oswald in Minsk. Inna Markava met Oswald at a philharmonic concert hall in Minsk and socialized with him on a number of occasions. Inessa Yakhliel was a friend of Oswald’s wife, Marina, and knew them as young parents before they traveled to the United States. Stanislau Shushkevich — who went on to become the first post-Soviet leader of Belarus — worked on product design at the same radio factory as Oswald and taught him Russian.
LISTEN: Belarus Service Director Alexander Lukashuk, who arranged these interviews, has profiled Oswald and those who surrounded him in Minsk. He spoke extensively with American writer Norman Mailer, who had been given unique access to Oswald’s KGB files and conducted extensive interviews with many of those who surrounded the American defector, and used that material in his 2011 book (available only in Belarusian), “Trace of the Butterfly.”
READ: In “The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union,” author Peter Savodnik looks at why Oswald fled America, his life in Minsk, and what ultimately led him to Dallas and to aim a rifle at Kennedy’s head. Savodnik spoke to correspondent Heather Maher.
INFOGRAPHIC: Oswald dropped out of high school seven years before he was arrested for Kennedy’s assassination. In the intervening years, he spent time in Japan, the Soviet Union, Mexico, and the southern and western U.S. Here’s a closer look at some of his travels.