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Jewish Red Army Colonel Renounces Citizenship, Hands Back Medias

March 22, 1974
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A retired Soviet army colonel dramatically renounced his citizenship and handed back his medals today in the reception room of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow, it was reported here. Col. Naum Alshansky, who is Jewish, said he was protesting the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union and the refusal of the authorities to grant him a visa to emigrate to Israel.

“I consider it a disgrace to wear the orders and medals of your country which does not have any respect for me, my people or their State,” Col. Alshansky declared as he returned his 13 decorations including the Order of the Red Banner, one of Russia’s highest awards.

Alshansky first applied for an exit visa in 1971 and soon afterwards was stripped of his rank and deprived of his officer’s pension. He and another former officer, Lev Ovsishcher, announced last Dec. that they planned to renounce their Soviet citizenship. Col. Alshansky. 56, served in the Red Army for 26 years including four years of combat in World War II.

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