Moscow Jewish Activists Say They Face Major Purge

The Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry (GNYCSJ) said this week that communications received from Moscow Jewish activists have confirmed that a major purge of their ranks by the authorities is currently underway. The activists characterized the new developments as “very serious” with new investigations and threats of imprisonment by Soviet officials having been undertaken within the past week.

According to activists, the refuseniks most seriously imperiled at the moment are Pavel Abramovich, Natasha Khassina and Yuli Kosharovsky, veteran leaders of the Moscow Jewish community. Dossiers are currently being assembled by the Moscow procurator’s office and it is feared that a major charge may be filed against them.

There is also evidence that the authorities intend to reveal a “Zionist conspiracy” by announcing accusations against Abramovich, Kosharovsky, and Khassina. These three refuseniks have been among the Moscow Jewish community’s most outspoken members. All three have been summoned to government offices and told that their cases are presently under scrutiny.

The activists said in their communication that they fear a plan to falsely incriminate them as fifth-columnists in order to discredit the entire Soviet Jewish movement. In this connection, a charge based on state defamation will most likely be lodged against them. They repeatedly stressed, however, that they do not condemn the Soviet system, but rather that they are seeking to repatriate through emigration to Israel.

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