CIA turncoat Edward Howard, the only American secret agent to defect to the Soviet Union, said in a television interview Friday he feels "at home" in Russia, but "No man can live without his own people."

Howard, who is accused of singlehandedly destroying the Central Intelligence Agency spy ring in the Soviet Union because of information he revealed, said he plans to stay in Russia, but he also hopes to be able to work outside of the country as a Soviet economist.In his second public appearance since defecting almost two years ago, Howard said in the 40-minute interview he has not been confined to the Soviet Union but had traveled to the Eastern European Bloc countries of Hungary and East Germany. He said he works as an economist, doing surveys and studies on capitalist countries.

Howard, who was was fired by the CIA in 1983 when he flunked a lie detector test required for his Moscow assignment, said, "I believe that my differences with the CIA were most of all political."

Identified as a Soviet agent in the summer of 1985, Howard fled Santa Fe, N.M., on Sept. 21, 1985, and eluded an international manhunt for 11 months before surfacing in the Soviet Union Aug. 7, 1986, and being granted Soviet citizenship.

"I fled to the Soviet Union, because I felt that the Soviet Union was the only force able to stand up to the CIA," said Howard.

"They (he Soviets) did not know what to do with this strange circumstance, this strange person," he said, but denied he was put in isolation for interrogation.

Looking slimmer and with a different hair style than in the first interview he gave Sept. 14, 1986, Howard paused when asked about his future life.

"After more than a year and a half in the Soviet Union, I think much about my future, where I shall live permanently, what kind of work I shall do permanently," he said. "I want to continue working in economic research and not only in the Soviet Union."

"I feel at home in the Soviet Union, and today I must say I feel that I shall stay here," he said. "I have a good creative work, and the only wish I have is to have more friends."