First of Its Kind in the USSR 5.jewish Scientists Propose Reforms in Sphere of Emigration
Menu JTA Search

First of Its Kind in the USSR 5.jewish Scientists Propose Reforms in Sphere of Emigration

Download PDF for this date

Five leading Jewish scientists in the Soviet Union have proposed to Soviet authorities a series of concrete reforms which they said would remove the issue of emigration from “the area of arbitrary and secret actions” to the area of “open, formal rules and laws.” The proposals were the first of their kind ever made by a Jewish group in the USSR, according to Prof. Hans J. Morgenthau of City University, New York, chairman of the Academic Committee on Soviet Jewry.

The proposals were summarized in a statement prepared by mathematics Prof. Boris Moishezon, the only one of the scientific group who has been permitted to leave the USSR. According to Moishezon, he and his colleagues have asked for:

The enactment and publication of a law governing emigration, which would be identical in all parts of the USSR and under control of official Soviet organs, such as the Procurator’s Office and the Supreme Soviet; and the creation of an official public organ to be concerned with all aspects of emigration in place of the current system in which ovir offices merely accept applications and transmit decisions reached by secret commissions.

Proposals also included the recognition of the right of applicants for emigration to receive their answers in written form, instead of only orally-as is now the practice-and the right when denied permission to appeal to the courts, the Procurator’s Office, and the Supreme Soviet which normally review complaints from Soviet citizens; and the creation of an official public commission of experts to delimit areas of classified employment and determine the length of time that must pass before a person involved in secret work may be permitted to leave the USSR.

The five include, in addition to Prof. Moishezon, Professors David Azbel, a chemist; Aleksandr Voronel, a physicist; Benjamin Levich, a physicist; and Aleksandr Lerner, a specialist in automation control, the committee said.

The five originally proposed to address their demands to the Soviet authorities in the summer of 1972, but were dissuaded by the arrest and continual threats directed against the son of Prof. Levich, Evgeny. When Prof. Moishezon received an exit permit in Nov., 1972, he was charged by his colleagues with the task of publicizing their cause. Early in 1973 he was invited to lecture in advanced mathematics at Columbia and Harvard Universities. Before returning to Israel, to take up his new permanent position on the faculty of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Moishezon transmitted his colleagues’ demands to the Academic Committee on Soviet Jewry.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund