10 Leading Soviet Jewish Activists Detained; Panov Stripped of Title
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10 Leading Soviet Jewish Activists Detained; Panov Stripped of Title

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Soviet police have arrested 10 leading Jewish activists, according to reports reaching here from Moscow. The 10 who have been denied visas to emigrate to Israel are reportedly Alexander Slepak, Vladimir Prestin, Viktor Polsky, Valery Slepak, Dmitry Romm, Pavel Abromovich, Arkady Rutman, Leonid Khorshevoi, Alexander Limtz and Mikhail Polotski.

According to the reports, secret police picked up five of the activists on Saturday and detained the other five after they organized a small demonstration outside the offices of Intourist, the state travel agency, demanding permission to emigrate. Polsky and three of the other detainees have reportedly been charged with “parasitism.” The names of the three were not immediately available.

Polsky, a 44-year-old physicist, was arrested outside his Moscow home by two plainclothes men and driven off to an unknown destination, according to reports by his friends. He was on his way to consult with his lawyer on charges against him stemming from an incident in which a 19-year-old woman was allegedly struck by Polsky’s car and injured. According to sources the charge is a frame-up. The alleged victim. Tatyana Zhuvkova, tried to kill herself March 25 after an argument with her parents, the sources note.


Meanwhile, Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported that Valery Panov has been formally stripped of his title. “Honored Artist.” by a decree of the Praesidium of the Supreme Soviet. The move was due mainly to mounting Soviet anger at the campaign against the forthcoming visit of the Bolshoi Ballet to London, according to the sources. Those close to Panov say he fears that the withdrawal of the honorary title may only be the prelude to some more serious measure, such as a court action on charges of “malingering” or “parasitism.”

There has been a groundswell protest movement in London against the ballet company because of the Soviet treatment of dissidents in general and Jewish applicants for exit visas to go to Israel in particular. The latest development has been the disclosure to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by a spokesman at 10 Downing Street that the “Prime Minister will not attend the first night of the Bolshoi Ballet in London on June 12. He has a private dinner engagement on this night.”

Although the spokesman would go no further than this explanation for Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s decision to stay away, the reference to a “private dinner party” indicates that he does not want to lend luster to the first night of the ballet company’s performance. Under the circumstances, no senior member of the government can possibly associate himself with the Bolshoi visit, observers here noted.

Meanwhile, the decision of Maya Plisetskaya not to accompany the Bolshoi to Britain, and her vitriolic attack against the British public as “a dreary people” who adore whatever is “cheap, empty, phony, sloppy, tasteless (and) ponderous.” and against critics whom she described as “stupid, arrogant, egotistical bastards,” has not done the Bolshoi any good here.

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