NEW YORK (Dec. 28)
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported today it had learned that Valery Panov, the ousted member of the Kirov Ballet, and Leonid Tarrasuk, former curator of the Heritage Museum of Leningrad had been summoned by the KGB secret police and warned they would be prosecuted for “libeling the state” if they did not stop making overseas calls for assistance.
Both have attracted particular attention and interest from figures in the arts in other countries who have sent appeals and expressions of support on their behalf to Soviet officials. The NCSJ also said Panov had been told he could perform in provincial towns but not in Leningrad, apparently with the Kirov Ballet Company from which he was expelled when he applied for an exit visa for Israel.
The NCSJ said his wife, Galena Ragozinka, a ballerina, who is not Jewish, and who was demoted and subsequently resigned in pretest, was told she could perform in Leningrad but not while she was under the “bad influence” of her husband.
United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim was urged this week to investigate “through an appropriate UN agency the penal conditions and institutions of the USSR” in which 40 Jewish prisoners of conscience are jailed. The plea was contained in a letter from Harold Ostroff and William Stern, president and executive secretary respectively of the Workmen’s Circle. The two Jewish leaders also asked Waldheim to “appeal to the heirs of those who founded the USSR to grant amnesty to those now languishing in these dungeons of brutality and degradation.”
Israel’s Cabinet decided Sunday to establish a regional center in the Raffah approach, just below the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, to provide services for the new settlements in the region and for Israel defense units in and around the area. Israel Galilee, Minister Without Portfolio, told the Cabinet that plans call for settling 305 families in the regional center by 1975. Absorption Minister Natan Paled of Mapam voted against the plan. Mapam’s official policy is that the settlement plan in the Raffah approach is politically and economically unwise.