Kirkpatrick Sees Hope for Refuseniks in the New Soviet ‘glasnost’ Policy

Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, just returned from Moscow, said at a press conference here that the new Soviet openness (“glasnost”) gives new hope for separated spouses, refuseniks and others who want to emigrate from the USSR. She mentioned by name several prominent Jewish refuseniks.

Kirkpatrick, whose militant anti-Communism was a hallmark of her tenure at the UN, visited the Soviet Union last week as part of a private delegation that included two former U.S. Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance. They had a three-hour meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. She said she was hopeful that the Soviet leadership will give serious reconsideration to the problem of refuseniks denied the right to emigrate, denied religious expression, and, in some cases, imprisoned and suffering malnutrition and lacking desperately needed medical care.

In that connection, she cited the case of Iosif Begun, a Prisoner of Conscience who was imprisoned for teaching Hebrew and confined to a punishment cell for wearing a yarmulke; and Yuli Edelstein, who, with a broken pelvis, lacked minimum medical care, as a result of which he will suffer a lifelong disability.

Kirkpatrick also referred to Chena Golworth, 55, whom she described as a private citizen of no political consequence, who is alone and without employment in Moscow. The former UN envoy expressed hope that Golworth will soon be allowed to join her two daughters and grandchildren in Israel.

Later, addressing a session of the 43-member United Nations Human Rights Commission here, Kirkpatrick said she heard from high level Soviet officials some extremely interesting accounts of changes planned and changes already underway inside the USSR. She said they spoke of new thinking, of democratization, though they add of course, democratization Soviet style, within a one party system.

“We hope they travel this road to its end,” Kirkpatrick said, adding, “We can assure them, from our own experience and our study of history, that economic development and prosperity are reliable by-products of the move to democratization.”

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