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Law Changes Threaten Jewish Activists

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The life of Jewish activists in the Soviet Union could be made harsher than it already is because of new alterations in Soviet law, says a study published here by the Institute of Jewish Affairs.

Major amendments in the Soviet criminal code were made following a decree adopted by the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet earlier this year.

Analyzing the changes, the institute, research arm of the World Jewish Congress, says they make Soviet law “considerably more repressive,” that they restore features of Stalinist legislation, and that some of the changes contradict the spirit of the Helsinki final act.

Major amendments in respect of so-called anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda provide for tougher penalties for actions committed with foreign support.

The report says this could affect dissidents and refuseniks who receive help from abroad, making them liable to more onerous punishment and discouraging them from accepting foreign help even when they lack other means of support.

These and other changes, says the institute, can be partly regarded as the restoration of provisions removed from the criminal code in the destalinization program of the late Nikita Khruschev.

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