In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state in exchange for allegiance to another, in a way which is considered illegitimate by the first state.[1] More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause, or doctrine to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.[2][3]

This term is also applied, often pejoratively, to anyone who switches loyalty to another religion, sports team, political party, or other rival faction. In that sense, the defector is often considered a traitor by their original side.[4][5]

International politics

Checkpoint Charlie Memorial
A memorial to those who could not cross the Berlin Wall alive stood for ten months in 2004 and 2005 near Checkpoint Charlie.

The physical act of defection is usually in a manner which violates the laws of the nation or political entity from which the person is seeking to depart. By contrast, mere changes in citizenship, or working with allied militia, usually do not violate any law.

For example, in the 1950s, East Germans were increasingly prohibited from traveling to the western Federal Republic of Germany where they were automatically regarded as citizens according to Exclusive mandate. The Berlin Wall (1961) and fortifications along the Inner German border (1952 onward) were erected by Communist German Democratic Republic to enforce the policy. When people tried to "defect" from the GDR they were to be shot on sight. Several hundred people were killed along that border in their Republikflucht attempt. Official crossings did exist, but permissions to leave temporarily or permanently were seldom granted. On the other hand, the GDR citizenship of some "inconvenient" East Germans was revoked, and they had to leave their home on short notice against their will. Others, like singer Wolf Biermann, were prohibited from returning to the GDR.

East German Guard - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency (cropped)
East German border guard Conrad Schumman jumping the border in 1961

During the Cold War, the many people illegally emigrating from the Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc to the West were called defectors. Westerners defected to the Eastern Bloc as well, often to avoid prosecution as spies. Some of the more famous cases were British spy Kim Philby, who defected to Russia to avoid exposure as a KGB mole, and 22 Allied POWs (one Briton and twenty-one Americans) who declined repatriation after the Korean War, electing to remain in China.

When the individual leaves his country and provides information to a foreign intelligence service, they are a HUMINT source defector. In some cases, defectors remain in the country or with the political entity they were against, functioning as a defector in place. Intelligence services are always concerned when debriefing defectors with the possibility of a fake defection.

Notable defectors





  • Viktor Korchnoi, Russian chess Grandmaster, defected in Amsterdam in 1976.
  • Walter Polovchak, minor, defected to the United States in 1980 at 12. He and his parents moved to the United States from Soviet Ukraine in 1980 but later that year his parents decided to move back to Ukraine. He did not wish to return with them and was the subject of a five-year struggle to stay permanently. He won the right to permanent sanctuary in 1985 upon turning 18.
  • Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat for Britain. At an unknown date Thae defected from North Korea for his family, because he "didn't want his children, who were used to life of freedom, to suffer life of oppression". Being one of North Korea's elite, for the nation he was the highest profile defection since No Kum-sok (above) in 1953.

See also


  1. ^ "Definition of DEFECTOR". Archived from the original on 2015-02-26.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2011-03-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "de·fec·tion [dih-fek-shuhn] noun (1.) desertion from allegiance, loyalty, duty, or the like; apostasy: His defection to East Germany was regarded as treasonable. (2.) failure; lack; loss: He was overcome by a sudden defection of courage." Retrieved 22MARCH2011.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2011-03-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "de·fec·tor [dih-fek-ter] –noun a person who defects from a cause, country, alliance, etc. Origin: 1655–65; < Latin dēfector renegade, rebel, equivalent to dēfec- (variant stem of dēficere to become disaffected, revolt, literally, to fail; see defect) + -tor -tor" Retrieved 22MARCH2011.
  4. ^ "de·fect (dfkt, d-fkt) n. (1.) The lack of something necessary or desirable for completion or perfection; a deficiency: a visual defect. (2.) An imperfection that causes inadequacy or failure; a shortcoming. See Synonyms at blemish. intr.v. (d-fkt) de·fect·ed, de·fect·ing, de·fects (1.) To disown allegiance to one's country and take up residence in another: a Soviet citizen who defected to Israel. (2.) To abandon a position or association, often to join an opposing group: defected from the party over the issue of free trade. [Middle English, from Latin dfectus, failure, want, from past participle of dficere, to desert, be wanting : d-, de- + facere, to do; see dh- in Indo-European roots.]" Retrieved 22MARCH2011.
  5. ^ "defector 1660s, agent noun in Latin form from defect, or else from L. defector "revolter," agent noun from deficere (see deficient)." Retrieved 22MARCH2011. Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "1974: Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from the Soviet Union - CBC Archives". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23.
  7. ^ Bridcut, John. "The KGB's long war against Rudolf Nureyev". Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  8. ^ "Factsheets: Story of the MiG-15 Archived 2013-09-22 at the Wayback Machine." National Museum of the United States Air Force.
  9. ^ Professor Ben Kiernan (2008). The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79. ISBN 978-0-300-14434-5.
  10. ^ Dowling, Stephen The Pilot Who Stole A Secret Soviet Fighter Jet September 5, 2016 Archived February 18, 2017, at the Wayback Machine BBC Retrieved August 24, 2017

External links

Cannock Chase District

Cannock Chase is a local government district in England. It covers a large part of Cannock Chase forest and the towns of Cannock, Rugeley and Hednesford.

There are several parish and town councils in the district:



Brereton and Ravenhill


Brindley Heath

Cannock Wood

Heath Hayes and Wimblebury

Norton CanesCannock, which covers around 30% of the population, includes the parish of Bridgtown but the rest of Cannock is unparished.

Until the 2010 general election the parliamentary constituency of Cannock Chase consisted of Cannock Chase district plus the adjacent village of Huntington. From 2010 onwards the constituency has exactly the same boundaries as the district.

The district was formed on 1 April 1974 by the merger of Cannock and Rugeley urban districts, and both Brindley Heath from Lichfield Rural District, and Norton Canes from Aldridge-Brownhills Urban District.

Since 2011, Cannock Chase has formed part of both the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (along with neighbouring authorities Birmingham, Bromsgrove, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Solihull, Tamworth and Wyre Forest), and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Delfín Fernández

Delfín Fernández is a former Cuban spy who spent 15 years working for the Cuban counterintelligence Department 11 with the codename Agent Otto. He defected from Cuba and moved to Spain in 1999. He settled in Spain for five years, becoming one of Europe's most successful bodyguards. In 2005 Fernández moved to Miami, Florida and as of 2006 he was waiting to get U.S. residency under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Eastern Bloc emigration and defection

Eastern Bloc emigration and defection was a point of controversy during the Cold War. After World War II, emigration restrictions were imposed by countries in the Eastern Bloc, which consisted of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Central and Eastern Europe. Legal emigration was in most cases only possible in order to reunite families or to allow members of minority ethnic groups to return to their homelands.

Eastern Bloc governments argued that strict limits to emigration were necessary to prevent a brain drain. The United States and Western European governments argued that they represented a violation of human rights. Despite the restrictions, defections to the West occurred.

After East Germany tightened its zonal occupation border with West Germany, the city sector border between East Berlin and West Berlin became a loophole through which defection could occur. This was closed with the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Thereafter, emigration from the Eastern Bloc was effectively limited to illegal defections, ethnic emigration under bilateral agreements, and a small number of other cases.

Electrical grid

An electrical grid, or electric grid, is an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers. It consists of

Generating stations that produce electrical power

high voltage transmission lines that carry power from distant sources to demand centers

Distribution lines that connect individual customers.Power stations may be located near a fuel source, at a dam site (to take advantage of renewable energy sources), and are often located away from heavily populated areas. The electric power which is generated is stepped up to a higher voltage at which it connects to the electric power transmission net.

The bulk power transmission network will move the power long distances, sometimes across international boundaries, until it reaches its wholesale customer (usually the company that owns the local electric power distribution network).

On arrival at a substation, the power will be stepped down from a transmission level voltage to a distribution level voltage. As it exits the substation, it enters the distribution wiring. Finally, upon arrival at the service location, the power is stepped down again from the distribution voltage to the required service voltage(s).

Electrical grids vary in size from covering a single building through national grids which cover whole countries, to transnational grids which can cross continents.

Although electrical grids are wide spread, 1.4 billion people are not connected to an electricity grid.Electrical grids can be prone to malicious intrusion or attack; thus, there is a need for electric grid security. Also as electric grids modernize and introduce computers, cyber threats also start to become a security risk.

Grim trigger

In game theory, grim trigger (also called the grim strategy or just grim) is a trigger strategy for a repeated game. Initially, a player using grim trigger will cooperate, but as soon as the opponent defects (thus satisfying the trigger condition), the player using grim trigger will defect for the remainder of the iterated game. Since a single defect by the opponent triggers defection forever, grim trigger is the most strictly unforgiving of strategies in an iterated game.

In Robert Axelrod's book The Evolution of Cooperation, grim trigger is called "Friedman", for a 1971 paper by James Friedman, which uses the concept.

House of Representatives (Nigeria)

The House of Representatives is the lower house of Nigeria's bicameral National Assembly. The Senate is the upper house.

The current House of Representatives, formed following elections held in April 2015, has a total of 360 members who are elected in single-member constituencies using the simple majority (or first-past-the-post) system. Members serve four-year terms. The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the house.

Igor Gouzenko

Igor Sergeyevich Gouzenko (Russian: Игорь Сергеевич Гузенко [ˈiɡərʲ sʲɪrˈɡʲejɪvʲɪtɕ ɡʊˈzʲɛnkə]; Ukrainian: Ігор Сергійович Гузенко [ˈiɦor sɛrˈɦijovɪtʃ ɦuˈzɛnko]; January 13, 1919 – June 28, 1982) was a cipher clerk for the Soviet embassy to Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. He defected on September 5, 1945—just three days after the end of World War II—with 109 documents on Soviet espionage activities in the West. This forced Prime Minister Mackenzie King to call a Royal Commission to investigate espionage in Canada.

Gouzenko exposed Joseph Stalin's efforts to steal nuclear secrets, and the technique of planting sleeper agents. The "Gouzenko Affair" is often credited as a triggering event of the Cold War, with historian Jack Granatstein stating it was "the beginning of the Cold War for public opinion" and journalist Robert Fulford writing he was "absolutely certain the Cold War began in Ottawa". The New York Times described Gouzenko's actions as having "awakened the people of North America to the magnitude and the danger of Soviet espionage".

List of Soviet and Eastern Bloc defectors

Soon after the formation of the Soviet Union, emigration restrictions were put in place to keep citizens from leaving the various countries of the Soviet Socialist Republics, though some defections still occurred. During and after World War II, similar restrictions were put in place in non-Soviet countries of the Eastern Bloc, which consisted of the Communist states of Eastern Europe.Until 1952, however, the lines between Communist East Germany and the western occupied zones could be easily crossed in most places. Accordingly, before 1961, most of that east-west flow took place between East and West Germany, with over 3.5 million East Germans emigrating to West Germany before 1961. On August 13, 1961, a barbed-wire barrier, which would become the Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin, was erected by East Germany.Although international movement was, for the most part, strictly controlled, there was a steady loss through escapees who were able to use ingenious methods to evade frontier security. Numerous notable Eastern Bloc citizens defected to non-Eastern Bloc countries.The following list of Eastern Bloc defectors contains notable defectors from East Germany, the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Albania before those countries' conversions from Communist states in the early 1990s.

Martin and Mitchell defection

The Martin and Mitchell Defection occurred in September 1960 when two U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) cryptologists, William Hamilton Martin and Bernon F. Mitchell, defected to the Soviet Union. A secret 1963 NSA study said that: "Beyond any doubt, no other event has had, or is likely to have in the future, a greater impact on the Agency's security program."Martin and Mitchell met while serving in the U.S. Navy in Japan in the early 1950s and both joined the NSA on the same day in 1957. They defected together to the Soviet Union in 1960, and at a Moscow press conference they revealed and denounced various U.S. policies, especially provocative incursions into the air space of other nations and spying on America's own allies. Underscoring their apprehension of nuclear war, they said: "we would attempt to crawl to the moon if we thought it would lessen the threat of an atomic war."Within days, citing a trusted source, Congressman Francis E. Walter, chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), said Martin and Mitchell were "sex deviates", prompting sensational press coverage. U.S. officials at the National Security Council privately shared their assumption that the two were part of a traitorous homosexual network. Classified NSA investigations, on the other hand, determined the pair had "greatly inflated opinions concerning their intellectual attainments and talents" and had defected to satisfy social aspirations. The House Un-American Activities Committee publicly intimated its interpretation of the relationship between Martin and Mitchell as homosexual and that reading guided the Pentagon's discussion of the defection for decades.

N-player game

In game theory, an n-player game is a game which is well defined for any number of players. This is usually used in contrast to standard 2-player games that are only specified for two players. In defining n-player games, game theorists usually provide a definition that allow for any (finite) number of players. Changing games from 2-player games to n-player games entails some concerns. For instance, the Prisoner's dilemma is a 2-player game. One might define an n-player Prisoner's Dilemma where a single defection results everyone else getting the sucker's payoff. Alternatively, it might take certain amount of defection before the cooperators receive the suckers payoff. (One example of an n-player Prisoner's Dilemma is the Diner's dilemma.)

Parliamentary system

A parliamentary system is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a person distinct from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.

Countries with parliamentary democracies may be constitutional monarchies, where a monarch is the head of state while the head of government is almost always a member of parliament (such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Japan), or parliamentary republics, where a mostly ceremonial president is the head of state while the head of government is regularly from the legislature (such as Ireland, Germany, India and Italy). In a few parliamentary republics, such as Botswana, South Africa, and Suriname, among some others, the head of government is also head of state, but is elected by and is answerable to parliament. In bicameral parliaments, the head of government is generally, though not always, a member of the lower house.

Parliamentarianism is the dominant form of government in Europe, with 32 of its 50 sovereign states being parliamentarian. It is also common in the Caribbean, being the form of government of 10 of its 13 island states, and in Oceania. Elsewhere in the world, parliamentary countries are less common, but they are distributed through all continents, most often in former colonies of the British Empire.

Petrov Affair

The Petrov Affair was a Cold War spy incident in Australia in April 1954, concerning Vladimir Petrov, Third Secretary of the Soviet embassy in Canberra.

Religious disaffiliation

Religious disaffiliation is the act of leaving a faith, or a religious group or community. It is in many respects the reverse of religious conversion. Several other terms are used for this process, though each of these terms may have slightly different meanings and connotations.Researchers employ a variety of terms to describe disaffiliation, including defection, apostasy and disengagement. This is in contrast to excommunication, which is disaffiliation from a religious organization imposed punitively on a member, rather than willfully undertaken by the member.

If religious affiliation was a big part of a leaver's social life and identity, then leaving can be a wrenching experience, and some religious groups aggravate the process with hostile reactions and shunning. Some people who were not particularly religious see leaving as not ‘all that big a deal’ and entailing ‘few personal consequences’, especially if they are younger people in secularized countries.

Riyad Farid Hijab

Riyad Farid Hijab (Arabic: رياض فريد حجاب‎; born 1966) is a Syrian politician. He was Prime Minister of Syria from June to August 2012, serving under President Bashar al-Assad. From 2011 to 2012, he was Minister of Agriculture.

On 6 August 2012, the Syrian government released a statement saying that Hijab had been dismissed. Shortly thereafter a man describing himself as Hijab's spokesman and several news organizations stated he had resigned and defected to the rebel side in the Syrian civil war. Information minister Omran al-Zoub's later remarks about "the flight of some personalities" were interpreted by The Guardian as referring to Hijab. Hijab is the highest-ranking defector from the Syrian government.

The Defection of Simas Kudirka

The Defection of Simas Kudirka is a 1978 American made-for-television drama film based on actual events, featuring Alan Arkin as Simas Kudirka, a Lithuanian merchant seaman in Soviet-era 1970 who attempts to defect to the United States by jumping onto a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. Among the movie's awards are two Emmys and another three Emmy nominations. The movie was directed by David Lowell Rich.

The Hunt for Red October

The Hunt for Red October is the debut novel by Tom Clancy, first published on October 1, 1984 by the Naval Institute Press. It depicts Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius as he seemingly goes rogue with his country's cutting-edge ballistic missile submarine Red October, and marks the first appearance of Clancy's most popular fictional character Jack Ryan, an analyst working for the Central Intelligence Agency, as he must prove his theory that Ramius had intended to defect to the United States. The book was loosely inspired by the mutiny on the Soviet frigate Storozhevoy in 1975.The Hunt for Red October launched Clancy's successful career as a novelist, especially after then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan remarked that he had enjoyed reading the book. A film adaptation was released on March 2, 1990, and several computer and video games based on the book have been developed. Since then, the book has become instrumental in bringing the book genre of techno-thriller into the mainstream.

The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz

The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz is a 1968 DeLuxe Color (Deluxe Entertainment Services Group) American comedy film directed by George Marshall and starring Elke Sommer, Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer and Leon Askin. An East German athlete defects to the West by pole-vaulting over the Berlin Wall.

Vladimir Petrov (diplomat)

Vladimir Mikhaylovich Petrov (Russian: Влади́мир Миха́йлович Петро́в; 15 February 1907 – 14 June 1991) was a member of the Soviet Union's clandestine services who became famous in 1954 for his defection to Australia.

Wedge issue

A wedge issue is a political or social issue, often of a controversial or divisive nature, which splits apart a demographic or population group. Wedge issues can be advertised or publicly aired in an attempt to strengthen the unity of a population, with the goal of enticing polarized individuals to give support to an opponent or to withdraw their support entirely out of disillusionment. The use of wedge issues gives rise to wedge politics. Wedge issues are also known as hot button or third rail issues.

Political campaigns use wedge issues to soften tension within a targeted population. A wedge issue may often be a point of internal dissent within an opposing party, which that party attempts to suppress or ignore discussing because it divides "the base". Typically, wedge issues have a cultural or populist theme, relating to matters such as crime, national security, sexuality (e.g. gay marriage), abortion or race. A party may introduce a wedge issue to an opposing population, while aligning itself with the dissenting faction of the opposition. A wedge issue, when introduced, is intended to bring about such things as:

A debate, often vitriolic, within the opposing party, giving the public a perception of disarray.

The defection of supporters of the opposing party's minority faction to the other party (or independent parties) if they lose the debate.

The legitimising of sentiment which, while perhaps popularly held, is usually considered inappropriate or politically incorrect; criticisms from the opposition then make it appear beholden to special interests or fringe ideology.

In an extreme case, a wedge issue might contribute to the actual fracture of the opposing party as another party spins off, taking voters with it.To prevent these consequences from occurring, the opposing party may attempt to take a "pragmatic" stand and officially endorse the views of its minority faction. However, this can lead to the defection of supporters of the opposing party's majority faction to a third party, should they lose the debate.

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