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Special to JTA

April 28, 1972
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Boris Kochubievsky, the 36-year-old “father” of the modern Soviet Jewish protest movement, told the Jewish Telegraph-to Agency here today that President Nixon should “definitely” raise the question of Soviet Jewish emigration and rights when he confers with the Kremlin leaders next month. The emigre and former political prisoner also criticized, though mildly, the efforts of the established American Jewish organizations on this problem.

Kochubievsky, no longer wearing the beard he has been photographed with and sporting a more mod hairdo than heretofore, was not as outspoken in the interview, however, as his publicity had suggested, although he spoke forcefully. A press release in his behalf, for example, said he would warn of “new restrictions” against emigration-mined Soviet Jews and of a Kremlin “plan to create a new ‘Iron Curtain’ against emigration to Israel.” But asked by the JTA to elaborate, Kochubievsky said only that only Soviet Jews from “border” areas were being allowed out–a development that has been reported on by the JTA for months.


On the question of private American efforts to aid Soviet Jewry, Kochubievsky at first tried to avoid evaluating and comparing the work of the Jewish Defense League and the “Establishment” organizations. The JDL, he said, could not be described as “good” or “bad.” What is needed is “all kinds of actions.” he said. Pressed on the JDL-vs.-Establishment question, Kochubievsky said with a smile: “In each orchestra there should be different instruments.” Asked then if the major organizations were virtuosos, he conceded: “They are slightly out of tune. One can do more. They can educate American Jewry and Western Jewry.”

Kochubievsky, who went to trial four months ago after serving a three-year prison term for “anti-Soviet slander” for expressing his Jewish-consciousness, told the press conference before the Interview that he had experienced “unbelievable beatings and sufferings” in the labor camp. Speaking in Russian through an interpreter, be said the non-Jewish prisoners supported the Jewish dissidents’ “holy work.”

He dismissed the criticisms of Israel by Soviet Jews who have returned to the USSR, putting their number at 20 at most and calling them “opportunists” and perhaps “plants.” Kochubievsky will participate in next Sunday’s “Soviet Jewry Solidarity Day” activities here, and will address rallies that night at Hunter College and May 1 at Yeshiva of Flatbush High School in Brooklyn. His tour of the United States will last three weeks.

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