A Soviet Olympic champion who defected to West Germany last August was reported back in the Soviet Union today, claiming he had been drugged and lured into defection.
An interview published in the weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta quoted Vladislavas Cesiunas as saying that he was seduced and abducted by a West German woman but that eventually he made his way to the Soviet Embassey in Bonn, which helped him "to return to his homeland."
The interview, which also was distributed by the official news agency Tass, contradicted Western reports that Cesiunas, 39, was knocked unconscious by Soviet police agents on Sept. 13 and dragged back to the Soviet Union. He was reported hospitalized with serious head injuries at Vilnius, Soviet Lithuania.
Cesiunas, who was a gold medalist in canoeing in the 1972 Munich Olympics, had asked for political asylum in August while attending the world canoeing championships in Duisburg, West Germany. He was offered a place to live by the family of Ursula Forkert, a Russial-language interpreter he met a Munich. He was last seen Sept. 13.
The Soviet news agency said Cesiunas told Soviet journalists how "enemies of the U.S.S.R." sought to lure him into defecting and "how he was then swept by a strange weakness, paralyzing his will, dulling his thoughts and wishes."
The report said that the night he defected he had dinner with Forkert, "with a lot to drink." It said he had second thoughts about the defection and managed "to get to the Soviet Embassy in Bonn and to return [to the Soviet Union] with the assistance of Soviet officials."
"It's impossible that he went back voluntarily," Forkert was quoted as saying. "I'm sure he was kidnaped."
She said Cesiunas had planned to write a book about the Soviet sports system and had made it clear he wanted to remain in West Germany.
There was speculation that the lanky blond athlete might have been kidnaped by Soviet agents to prevent him from exposing illegal training methods, including drug use, by Soviets preparing for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
The unusual Soviet account of Cesiunas' return came at a time of Kremlin embarrassment concerning a recent wave of defections to the west.
The prominent defectors have included Bolshoi Ballet star Alexander Godunov, fellow Bolshoi dancers Leonid and Valentina Koslov, as well as top Soviet figure skaters Ludmila Belousoya and Oleg Protopopov.