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Martin Simons and Yuri Rastvorov
Two Birthdays
Two Lives
One Man

On July 11, 1921, a man by the name of Yuri Aleskandrovich Rastvorov was born in the Kursk province of central Russia. On September 1, 1924, another man was born in Tehran, Iran by the name of Martin F. Simons. They both died on January 19, 2004 in Potomac, Maryland, because they were in effect, the same man.

Yuri Rastvorov became Martin Simons in 1950, when he defected from the Soviet Union and became "a friend" of the CIA. In the 1930's, Rastvorov's grandfather was accused of being a large landowner and the Soviet government confiscated his land, which was just part of their collectivization of Soviet farms. The grandfather eventually died of starvation in the ensuing famine and this traumatic event was not lost on young Yuri.

Rastvorov's father was an officer in the Red Army and eventually Yuri would be drafted as well, trained as an espionage agent, and assigned to Tokyo in 1946. Here,under the guise of an official of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, Rastvorov would recruit other Soviet agents. During this time, Rastvorov married Galina Godova, a ballerina, and they had a daughter named Tatyana. In 1954, he was recalled to Moscow and fearing for his life, with the help of the CIA, he defected, leaving his wife and child behind. It was here that he became Martin Simons.

The CIA provided Rastvorov with a new identity, one whose father was a Dutch petroleum engineer, working in Tehran and Iraq, and whose mother was Russian. He settled in Washington, D.C., and in the winter of 1954, Life Magazine published a series of articles by "Rastvorov", detailing political operations in the Kremlin, Soviet pressures on China, and his defection. With the exception of a Senate investigation subcommittee in 1956, Yuri Rastvorov was never heard from again.

Rastvorov was now Martin F. Simons. He continued working for the CIA and would frequently go on long flights with unknown destinations. He married again and had two children, who until they were 10 and 13, knew nothing of their father's early years. Without Simon's permission, they were told by their mother;

Your father has two birthdays. He is not who you think he is. He is a Soviet defector.

By a special act of Congress in 1959, Martin Simon became a U.S. citizen, with a U.S. passport and a social security number. So for the last fifty years, Martin Simons lived in the D.C. area, known by his friends as an ebullient, athletic, and fun loving man, who dressed well, drove expensive cars and supported charitable causes. To the Soviet Union, he would always be Yuri Rastvorov, a traitor who had been sentenced to death in absentia, shortly after his defection, fifty years ago. To the CIA, Rastvorov/Simons was a valuable asset, providing insights into the KGB and the Soviet government as well as helping them (the CIA) to understand that KGB officers were humans after all, not stereotypical ogres.

One of the most important pieces of information ever given by Rastvorov, was given to Eisenhower administration officials in a private January 28, 1955 meeting, wherein he claimed that "U.S. and other U.N. POWs were being held in Siberia." Yes, American prisoners of the Korean War, were being secretly taken to Siberia to be "exploited" for Soviet Intelligence. To this day, the Soviets still deny this report, a report that while not proving that POWs were smuggled into Siberia, certainly adds weight to claims that it did occur.