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8 Leningrad Jews Arrested, 50 Homes of Jews Raided in ‘plot’ to Hijack Soviet Plane

June 23, 1970
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Eight Leningrad Jews were among 21 persons who have been arrested and 50 homes of Jews in several Soviet cities have been raided and searched according to reports from Moscow reaching here today. The reports said the arrests and searches may or not have been in connection with the attempt to hijack a Soviet plane at Leningrad Airport on June 15 by a group said to include some Jews who wanted to go to Israel. The hijacking attempt came to light only yesterday when correspondents found a brief account on the back page of the newspaper Leningradskaya Pravda in the Moscow public library. The newspaper is not sold in Moscow and does not accept subscriptions from foreigners. According to the account “a group of criminals trying to seize a scheduled airplane, was apprehended.” They were not identified. (New York Times correspondent Bernard Gwertzman in a cabled report from Moscow today quoting Soviet “dissident sources” said one of the alleged hijackers was Mrs. Silva Kuznetsov, Jewish, and her husband, Edward, described as “half Jewish.” Mr. Gwertzman’s sources said Mrs. Kuznetsov was active in Riga in trying to get permission for Jews to leave for Israel. According to the Times dispatch, seven of the Jews arrested in Leningrad in their homes or at work were identified by their last names–Kaminsky, Korenblit, Chernoglaz, Butman, Drezner, Yagman and Mogilyever. The raids and searches of Jewish homes were said to have taken place in Leningrad, Riga, Moscow and Kharkov. According to the “dissident sources” quoted by the Times correspondent, the Leningrad arrests and the searches were authorized by Article 64-A of the Russian Federation Criminal Code or its Ukrainian and Latvian equivalents. Article 64-A deals with treason and lists among treasonous crimes, “flight abroad.” Punishment under the article ranges from 10 years’ confinement to death, Mr. Gwertzman reported.)

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