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Soviet Cities Holding Olympic Events Cleaned of ‘undesirables’ by Kgb

July 21, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The KGB the Soviet secret police, used the last few weeks before the Olympic Games officially opened in Moscow yesterday to "houseclean" cities holding Olympic events of any "undesirables," it was reported by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ). Among those classified as "undesirables" were Jewish activists.

According to the NCSJ, many were told that July and August were good months to "take a vocation." Others were flatly ordered to leave their city or face prosecution. Included among those listed were two Hebrew teachers, Pavel Abramovich and Boris Gurevich, both of whom were called in by militiamen last month. Both men have since left.

The NCSJ reported that Hanna Elinson, 63, a Jewish refusnik and activist from Moscow, had also received a formal request from Soviet authorities to leave the city during the Games. Her answer was a resounding "nyet." Two other Moscow refusniks, Mikhail Kramen and Evgeny Liberman, were requested to sign their names to an official document promising to "behave accordingly" during the Olympics.

Of all the five Olympic cities, the persecution of Jewish activists has been most severe in Kiev, according to the NCSJ. In April, Ivan Gleinik was sentenced to one year in prison for alleged "hooliganism." In May, five Kiev refusniks, surnamed Knizhnik, Makhilis, Kanevsky, Bernshtein and Zubko were arrested by the police Kanevsky was taken to prison; Zubko and Knizhnik were sentenced to 15 days in jail and the rest were released after one day. Earlier this month Valery Pilnikov, a Jewish activist, was sentenced to five years of hard labor for allegedly assaulting his neighbor.


The last few months have been extremely difficult for Jewish activists, refusniks, and Jews applying to emigrate from the Soviet Union, the NCSJ reported. Soviet authorities have already indicated that exit visa offices in the Olympic cities, as well as in some major Soviet cities with a high concentration of Jews, will neither accept applications for emigration, nor process applications already submitted, from now until September.

For example, in Riga and Kishinev, those families who received permission to leave were instructed to complete all necessary documents by the first week in June or face a departure delay of several months, the NCSJ said.

Evelyn Minsk, no applications will be accepted until September. No one has been allowed to leave or enter the city from June 15. In Zhitomir, in the Ukraine, the exit visa office will remain closed until October. As of July 10, Moscow has been off limits for all Soviets except those who can prove they live and work there.

Earlier this month millions of Soviet television viewers were warned of alleged Western plans to use the Olympic Games for espionage and the distribution of subversive literature. An hour-long documentary entitled "Lies and Hatred" said Western "Zionist and pro-fascist" groups, directed by the Cental intelligence Agency in the United States, were planning acts of psychological warfare, subversion and sabotage. The program attacked movements in defense of Soviet Jews, including those on behalf of Anatoly Shcharansky. It also berated human rights activist Andrei Sokharov for "shielding" Shchanransky.


Meanwhile, it was reported today that Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat visited the Olympic Village in Moscow accompanied by a dozen Soviet officials. He denounced the American-led boycott of the Games as "shocking, a disgrace. " Palestinians were admitted to the international Amateur Wrestling Federation, as a non-national association, it was announced today in Moscow by the Federation’s president, Milan Ercegan. The Palestinians are now members of five world federations: weight lifting, table tennis, handball and basketball, in addition to wrestling.

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