Simas Kudirka

A negotiation over fishing rights took an unexpected turn when a Lithuanian fisherman jumped onto an American Coast Guard ship to seek asylum. But as investigators dug into the story of this Soviet citizen’s attempt to defect, they discovered that the defector’s legal status was far more complicated than anyone—even Kudirka himself—could have guessed.

Featured image: Photos of Kudirka taken while he was in pre-trial detention. One telling detail from the 2020 documentary The Jump: The documentarians interview one of the Soviet officers who arrested Kudirka. That man claims Kudirka was not brutalized during his capture and shows these pictures as proof that he was not tortured, even though he most definitely does appear to have a black eye in these photographs. (Image course)

The Soviet trial scene from The Defection of Simas Kudirka (1978), a dramatization of Kudirka’s story starring Alan Arkin.

A trailer for The Jump (2020), one of several documentaries about Kudirka. We recommend watching this one for a more in-depth look at what Kudirka went through after his arrest, the stories of man other people involved in his defection attempt, and his immensely compelling interviews with American journalists.