NEW YORK (May. 9)
A corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences at Moscow admitted today that Jews were among the Soviet citizens recently convicted for “economic crimes,” but insisted that the convicted persons “justly received their deserts under a court sentence.”
The statements were made in a letter to the New York Times, dated Moscow, signed by Mikhail Strogovich, who identified himself as a corresponding member of the Academy in Moscow. He responded to a letter printed by the Times nearly two months ago, from the Rev. Dr. James A. Pike, Episcopal Bishop of the California Diocese, who had charged the Soviet Union with persecuting Jews. Bishop Pike had reported that at least 13 Soviet citizens recently sentenced to death for “economic crimes” were Jews.
Objecting to “sundry slanderous articles about the life of Jews in the Soviet Union,” Mr. Strogovich insisted in his letter that the USSR guarantees the equality of all citizens, pointed out that “outstanding Jews” have been elected “as deputies to supreme and local organs of state power,” and stated:
“The conviction of a small group of state criminals–large-scale pilferers of public property who justly received their deserts under a court sentence–among whom there were different nationalities including Jews–gives no ground to draw unwarranted conclusion as to the supposed widespread character of these crimes in the USSR.