COMMENTARY | Hardly anyone remembers Arnold Lockshin, a Houston cancer researcher who abruptly took his family and defected to the Soviet Union in 1986. But he seems to have resurfaced on Disqus in defense of current Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
His posts refer to the current Ukrainian government as a “puppet regime” and suggests that the United States is being hypocritical for opposing Putin’s takeover of the Crimea since American troops invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also not too complementary about Joe Biden, who recently visited Kiev, whom he refers to as “sloppy Joe Biden.”
Lockshin’s strange story begins in October, 1986 when he had been fired from Joseph hospital’s Stehlin Foundation, he says for his socialist views, the foundation says for his poor work product, according to a 2008 story in the Houston Press. He abruptly piled his family, including a wife and three children, into the family Chevy, drove to Houston Intercontinental Air Port, and flew to Moscow.
Lockshin was immediately hailed as a heroic, persecuted American who had cast his lot in with the Soviet Union. He claimed that he was being harassed and bugged by shadowy operatives. As befitted a high profile defector, the Soviet government treated Lockshin and his family well.
“The doctor and his family were given a lavish-by-Soviet-standards furnished apartment in a neighborhood then called Lenin Hills. Lockshin was also given a job at the All-Union Cancer Research Center similar to the one he had held here.”
The timing of Lockshin’s defection was exquisite, coming as it did three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Soviet Union itself fell in 1992. How Lockshin felt about that, aside by suggesting that it was part of an American/NATO plot to take over the world, and the Russian Mafia domination that followed is unknown. He seems to admire Russia’s current ruler and still retains a hatred for the country of his birth. His Disqus posts are filled with rambling denunciations of the Obama administration, American capitalists, and what he calls the “American secret police.” He blames unknown enemies for blocking the payment of his Social Security.
Lockshin seems to be a sad relic of the Cold War, much like those Japanese soldiers who used to be found hiding out on Pacific islands, still fighting in a war long since ended. He seems to be motivated less by a left wing ideology than by a paranoid rage over his circumstances. He claims that he was forced out of the United States by his persecutors and cannot return for fear of assassination.
In a footnote, as of 2008 the Lockshin children, now adults, were still living in Russia. One is a math and English teacher and another an English teacher. The youngest seems to have become some kind of entertainment journalist.