In politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance
An allegiance is a duty of fidelity said to be owed by a subject or a citizen to his/her state or sovereign.-Etymology:From Middle English ligeaunce . The al- prefix was probably added through confusion with another legal term, allegeance, an "allegation"...

 to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.

This term is also applied, often pejoratively, to anyone who switches loyalty to another religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, sports team, political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

, or other rival faction. In that sense, the defector is often considered a traitor.

International politics

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
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

, or working with allied militia, usually does 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
Exclusive Mandate
An exclusive mandate is a government's assertion of its legitimate authority over a certain territory, part of which another government controls with stable, de facto sovereignty...

. The Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 and fortifications along the Inner German border were erected by the Communist East German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

 in 1961 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 the border in their Republikflucht
"Republikflucht" and "Republikflüchtling" were the terms used by authorities in the German Democratic Republic to describe the process of and the person leaving the GDR for a life in West Germany or any other Western country .The term...

 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
Wolf Biermann
Karl Wolf Biermann is a German singer-songwriter and former East German dissident.-Early life:Biermann's father, who worked on the Hamburg docks, was a German Jew and a member of the German Resistance....

, were prohibited from returning to the GDR.

During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the many people illegally emigrating from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 or Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 to the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 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
Kim Philby
Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby was a high-ranking member of British intelligence who worked as a spy for and later defected to the Soviet Union...

, who defected to Russia to avoid exposure as a KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 mole, and 22 Allied POWs (one Briton and twenty-one Americans) who declined repatriation after the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, electing to remain in China.

When the individual leaves his country and provides information to a foreign intelligence service, he is 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.

Famous defectors

No Kum-Sok
No Kum-Sok
No Kum-Sok is a former lieutenant of the North Korean Air Force during the Korean War who defected to South Korea...

 (later Kenneth Rowe) is known for having been a lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 in the North Korean Air Force
North Korean Air Force
The Korean People's Army Air Force, , is the name of the unified aviation forces of North Korea. The KPAF is the second-largest branch of the Korean People's Army with an estimated 110,000 personnel. It possesses between 1,600 and 1,700 aircraft of different types, mostly of Soviet and Chinese...

 during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 who defected to South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. On September 21, 1953, he flew his MiG-15 to the Kimpo Air Base in South Korea, claiming that he wanted to get away from the "red deceit" and is often associated with Operation Moolah
Operation Moolah
Operation Moolah was a United States Air Force effort during the Korean War to obtain through defection a fully capable Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter. The MiG-15 was introduced by Communist forces on November 1, 1950 over the skies of Korea...


See also

  • Sociological definitions of apostasy
  • List of Cold War pilot defections
  • List of Soviet Union defections
  • North Korean defectors
    North Korean defectors
    A number of individuals have defected from North Korea. Since the division of Korea after World War II and the end of the Korean War , many people have defected from North Korea, mainly for political, ideological, religious and economic reasons...

  • Eastern Bloc emigration and defection
    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 Eastern and Central Europe...

  • Martin and Mitchell Defection
    Martin and Mitchell Defection
    The Martin and Mitchell Defection occurred in September 1960 when two National Security Agency cryptologists, William Hamilton Martin and Bernon F. Mitchell, defected to the Soviet Union...

  • Bobby Fischer
    Bobby Fischer
    Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author...

  • Nevozvrashchentsy
    Nevozvrashchentsy is the Russian term for citizens of the USSR who refused to return to their country from the trips abroad.- Origin of the term :...

  • Treason
    In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

  • Renegade
    - Games :*Command & Conquer: Renegade, a 2002 first-person shooter video game*Renegade , a 1986 video game*Renegade Legion, a 1990 board game series including the video game Renegade: the Battle for Jacob's Star...

  • Turncoat
    A turncoat is a person who shifts allegiance from one loyalty or ideal to another, betraying or deserting an original cause by switching to the opposing side or party...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.