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Soviet Jew Returns Medals in Protest

The National Conference on Soviet Jewry has learned that retired Jewish army colonel and Soviet Jewish activist Lev Ovsishcher has returned his medals to the Kremlin, in protest against not being allowed to emigrate to Israel. Ovsishcher, 57, who lives in Minsk, came to Moscow, to announce his plans. Unhindered by the police, the veteran of World War 11 went to a small delivery office of the Supreme Soviet and handed over a package of 16 awards and medals and a letter to Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.

“This is my blood, sweat and loyalty for 27 years of service,” it was reported he said. “This is a step of desperation for me.” Ovsishcher first applied to emigrate in 1972 but was rejected because of his prior military experience. He retired from the army in 1961.