VIENNA (Sep. 23)
Soviet authorities today arrested Arkady A. Shpilberg, a 35-year-old Jew from Riga and ordered the continued detention in a psychiatric hospital of former Gen. Pyotr G. Grigorenko, 66, a leader of the civil rights movement in the USSR. Jewish sources said that both events indicated that the Kremlin does not intend to ease its policies against dissidents and Jews.
Shpilberg, who was a defendant in the Riga 1971 trial was released from a labor camp last month after completing a three-year strict regime sentence, was arrested outside the Communist Party Central Committee headquarters in Moscow while protesting the denial of an exit visa. He carried a sign reading “Let me go to my family in Israel.”
Shpilberg’s family received exit visas two months ago and have since gone to Israel. Grigorenko, who is not Jewish, was ordered kept in a psychiatric hospital despite the opinion of medical experts that he did not require “compulsory treatment.”
Jewish sources said that in light of these incidents, West European and American diplomats should act more firmly at the second stage of the European Security Conference in Geneva. This conference, proposed by the Soviet Union, and the granting of some exit visas to Jewish citizens of the USSR “were only a pretext for a free hand for the further persecution of Jews and dissidents” in the Soviet Union, the sources warned.
Grigorenko was cashiered from the Red Army in 1964 and was arrested when he joined a civil rights demonstration in Tashkent in May, 1969. Charged with slander of the Soviet Union but never brought to trial, he has been confined most of the time since 1969 to a criminal asylum near Kalliningrad. Last Wednesday he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital near Moscow.