In 1947 he moved with his family to Soviet Armenia, where his father, a specialist in athletic traumatology, was offered a medical professorship. However, the family soon wanted to return to France, a move the Soviet authorities refused. Maloumian was arrested in Moscow in 1948, accused of being a French spy, was convicted under Article 58 of the Soviet penal code and was imprisoned in the Gulag. The Soviet authorities allowed his family to return to France in 1954, after Stalin's death.
However, Maloumian was not freed until 1956, when he too was allowed to return home.
After his return, Maloumian wrote his memoirs of his imprisonment, Les fils du Goulag, published in French in 1976 and translated into a number of languages.