NEW YORK (Nov. 19)
Five former editors of the underground Soviet journal, “Jews in the USSR,” who now live in Israel, have issued a statement protesting the arrest of the current editor, Viktor Brailovsky, for “defaming the Soviet State and public order,” it was announced here by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.
Brailovsky was arrested Nov. 13 after leading a protest of Soviet Jews against the government’s refusal to grant them exit visas. The protest was held in conjunction with the opening in Madrid of the conference reviewing the Helsinki Agreements. If officially charged, he could face up to three years of confinement in a labor camp.
The former editors — Mark Azbel, Aleksendr Voronel, Vladimir Lazaris, Raphael Nudelman and Emma Sotnokova– stressed that the magazine “was founded as an organ of self-expression of the two million strong Jewish minority in the Soviet Union and because of its very nature it could not have, and did not, contain any material of political character.”
They charged that the “repression” against “Jews in the USSR” started when the magazine began in 1973, and continues. “All the past editors of the magazine had been subjected to searches and interrogations accompanied with threats of arrest,” they said.
The former editors declared they believe the magazine will continue publishing and that Brailovsky, a 45-year-old cyberneticist, will also continue conducting the Sunday scientific seminar in his apartment.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Concerned Scientists has sent a cable to Griffin Belf and Max Kampelman, who head the U.S. delegation in Madrid, urging them to raise Brailovsky’s arrest at the conference. “Because he courageously championed the right ‘to choose one’s country of residence,’ guaranteed in the Helsinki accords, on behalf of thousands of Jews who seek to emigrate,” he was arrested, the Committee’s cable said. “Dr. Brailovsky, like Andrei Sakborov, symbolizes the harassed, the oppressed and the abused within the Soviet scientific community.”