Created: 5/1/1977

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The Soviet View of the Dissident Problem Since Helsinki


Worning Notica Sensitiva Intelligence Source* ond Methods Involved (WNINTEl)

NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION Unouthoriiad Diieloiura Subject to Criminal Sanctions

DISSEMINATION CONTROLfieleoioble lo foreign Naiionoli

NOCONIRACT- Noi Relaotoble to Contraclori or

Information Involved

Deportment! Only

ond Eairoeiion ot Jnlormo'ion

Controlled byIntotmoiion hai been Auihonrad tor








a Rallying Point for Soviet

Shortages and

Attack from the

In Eastern

US Human Rights


A. In Eastern

It, The Eurocommunists

C. The US

Internal Repression




The Soviet View of the Dissident Problem Since Helsinki


When Ihe Soviets dined the CSCE accords in Augusttheyalculated risk that their acceptance of Basket III would not create serious internal difficulties lor (hem. Since Hrihafrl however, several developments have heightened the concern of Soviet juthoritics about dissent within their


The human fights provisions of Uasket IIIallying poin( Ibr Soviet dissidentside range of views and concerns, thus raising the specter Tor the firsl time in many yearsnified "opposition."

Unrest in Eastern Hurope grew, particularly in Poland, Fast (iermany. and Czechoslovakia. incrcating chronic Soviet fearspillover into the Soviet Union itself.

The Eurneommunists. including the once docile French Communist Party, became much mote outspoken In their criticism of Soviei repression.

The new US administration's human rights campaign angered Soviet authorities, who fear being put In the dock this summer at the Belgrade review conference, and heartened Soviet dissidents, who were temporarily emboldened to more vigorous and open protests.

Since the bad harvestood shortages have existed in many places in theiion. Widespread grumbling and isolated instances nf active protest have increased Soviet


ff'"ul IntrihfrmrrMm* i' "

apprehension Ihut economic discontentass level might provide the smull group ol intellectual dissidentsopular base. Ilie lew instances ol violence may have also made Soviet authorities fearfulfreer movement of ideas and people" could introduce into Soviet society new and more threatening forms of protest, such as terrorism, and could leadeneral erosion ol discipline.

Objectively. Soviei dissent docs not appear toerious threat to the Soviei system. Bul Soviet authorities are extremely security minded, and they evidentlyreater danger than exists in fact. In recent months the Soviets have approached issues of ideology and social control in an increasingly conservative manner. This conservatism has been manifested) In reported Soviet pressure on some Last European governments toougher line with regard to dissent, in pressure on the Eurocommunists to cease their "carping" about human rights violations in bloc countries, in resistance to Western "interference" in Soviet internal affairs, and in somewhat harsher treatment of dissidents within the Soviet Union.

onsiderable extent, these efforts have been successful. The Soviets havethrocominunisls and Western governments to modcralc their criticisms, il only for the limeast European regimes, although employing differing milk* against dissidents.have tended lu close ranks wiih Ihe Soviet Union iu the lace ol Western criticism whether emanating from (om Minimis orhe Soviets areabout Ihe ability of Ihe Polish regime lo keep the lid on popular unrest, hut they probably remain reasonably confident thai no East lumpeun regime will turn "revisionist" to the extent of throwing in its lot with dissident elements, as happened in Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, the euphoria wiih which most Soviet dksidents initially welcomed US public expressions of concern about their plight is fading in the wake of the Vance visit to Moscow, which Ihey had hoped would somehow improve their

(liven these successes, ll is unlikelv that Ihe Soviets will see the need to deal with their dissident problem in more drasticenewal of Western criticism, combinedurther increase in internal dissent, could lead to some further ideological tightening, if necessary al the cosl of damaging their relations with Western countries. And the Soviets would not hesitate to reuctajor explosion in Eastern Euiopc wilh military force. Clearly, however, the Soviet leadership hus no desire, if indeed it has the power, to reinstitute the Stalinist terror upparatus. Although the

developments since Helsinki hive raised doubts in the minds of some leaders, most Soviet leaders probablyundamental faith in the basic loyalty of the bulk of the Soviet population. Their belief in the superiority and success of their system probably makes them generally confident of their ability to keep dissent within manageable limits by continued carrot-and-stick tactics, without reverting to Draconian measures.

The Soviet View of the Dissident Problem Since Helsinki

When Ihc Sovicu signed lhc (SCI: accords inS. Iheyalculated risk that iheir acceptance of Basket III would nol create serious internal difficulties for them. Since Helsinki, however, several developments have heightened the concern of Soviei authorities about dissent within their society.'

i. The Dissident Problem

A. allying Point for Soviet Dissidents

First of all. the human rights provisions of Basket IIIommon ground for Soviet dissidentside range of viewsoncerns, thus raising the specter for the first time in many yearsnifiedusic weakness of Soviet intellectual dissent, especially in the last few years, has been its lack of unity, holh In an organizational androgrammatic sense. Most Soviet intellectual dissidentseltef in "humanut this fundamental commitment has often been inadequately articulated, and overshadowed by the substantial differences existing between dissidents. In addition, most religious and national minorities have tended to define their goals narrowly, failing to relate them lo the 'all-union struggle for civil liberties. CSCF stimulated cooperation among many of these groups.

The most important dissident group to emerge in the Soviet Union since Helsinki, the "Public Croup Furthering Ihe Implementation of the Helonki Agreement in lhcxemplified the new iendency lo draw together. This group, often called the "Orlov group" after its loading figure, physicist Yury Orlov. was set up in Moscow in6 for the express purpose of monitoring Soviet compliance with the Helsinki Accords. During the last year, branches of the Orlov group were set up in theand Leningrad. These branches were tiny -underembers ea-h- and the degree of coordination between them is not known, but the emergenceissident organizationetwork of "cells" throughout the country is unique in recent Soviet history.

More important, the Orlov group, by espousing the causeside variety of Soviet dissidents, established some claim to hcinp the centerroader protest movement. This unifying function is not entirely new. Sakharov hasimilar role, as has Khnuilka, the thief Soviet samlzUal journal. But Sakharovone Individual, and Klmmlka lias

nwmnciniliim. "the sfhiiiume piiblnlwd.


cportorial rather lhan an organizational function, while the Orlov group establishedcon tan* wiih other protest elements.

Symptomatic of the new coordination among dissident groupsublic appeal on March lb to President Carter issued byeople from three different dissident groups: the Orlov group and Sakhurov, whose wifeember of this gro ip; theundamentalist Christian sect: and the Refuseniks. as Jews denied permission to. emigrate are called. Especially mtcworthy was the pjriicipaiion of the Refuseniks. Although individual Jews haveajor rote in intellectual dissent in the Soviet Union, the Refuseniks have been concerned almost exclusively with the specific issue of Jewish emigration, evidently seeing little advantage in associating their particular causearger one. They have previously not attempted to libera, zc the system, but merely lo escape it.

Croups seeking to emulate Ihe Jewish example hy applying to emigrate from the Soviet Union are becoming particularly importanteservoir of support for the human rights movement. The Helsinki provisions encouraging free emigration have given impetus lo the emigiation impulse, as has lhc movement uf Germans from East Germany lo West Germany. Ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union appear to be applying to emigrate in ever increasing numbers.2 the Soviets have allowed0 Germans to leave the Soviet Union, as pariolicy permitting Clerman emigration for purposes of family reunification. But many of lhcillion Germans who lack family ties to West Germany, and thus are not eligible to emigrate, also want to leave. In March, forroup of ethnic Germans denied permission lo emigrateemonstration in Red Square. Soviei officialsrapplinginiseale with the same problem that East Germany facesarge scale may share the frustration of an East Genuan official who grumbled recently that "after Helsinki, they think tlicy can go anywhere theyhe Soviets may also he concerned that the emignition fever will spread to other groii|>s. In some cases, whole villages or communities of religious dissenters have sought lo emigrate. Most recently, in7 an entire Pentecostal church congregation Irom Krasnodar Kray came to Moscow and applied for exit permit*.

Other religious and ethnic groups have also become more politicized in recent years, and the Orlov group has assoeiaied tlself with many of Iheir grievances. The group's lint formal protest, for example, dealt with the sentencing of Crimean Tatar dissidenthcmilev. in distant Omsk. Dzhcmilcv had chimpioncd the right of his people, who had been deported to Central Asiao return lo their homeland. Ihe Orlov group

etition calling for Dzhcmilcvs release from prison, said to have been signed by as manyrimean Tatars. (Crimean Tatar dissidents huve suid they hone toepresentative at the Belgrade reviewlie Orlov group ulso defended the Evangelical Baptists-who are said to be excited about the prospect ofreal Baptist" in (he White House-and may have endeared themselves to Ukrainian nationalists by pledging to campaign for representation of the Ukrainian republic, an "independent" member of the United Nations, at Belgrade.

Although this incipient support from religious and national minorities in itselfotentialass base for human rights activists, the intellectuals remain estranged from the bulk of the working class population. Cooperation between workers and intellectuals is doubtless impeded by the general failure of the intelligentsiarticulate lower class grievances concerning living standards and material welfare. Working class discontent, which has basically economic rather than political objectives, has thus not converged with human rights activism in the Soviet Union.

B. Food Shortages and Unrest

Soviet apprehension that political and economic grievances could draw closer together, that Soviet dissent could follow the path of Poland, has evidently grown since ihe bad hurvestlthough Ihe supply of bread has increasedhortages of meat and vegetables coniinue in many places in the Soviet Union. No significant improvement in the food supply is expected until the summer harvest.

Consumerism isotent political force in lhc Soviet Union, as il is in many Eusl European countries, bul consumer expectations huve risen in recent years. The Soviei population has come toradual improvement in the standard of living.rovincial official, complaining to Moscow about (he food supply in his province, reportedly remurked tha( the people in his area had developed (he "hahil" of earing anay. The food shortages, aggravoted by an inefficient distribution syslem, have caused widespread grumbling. Over the last yearalf, there have been reports and rumors, most of Ihem unconfirmed,umber of instances of active unrest and protest.1

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The only serious incident of violent sabotage in protest of the food shortages that wc knuw took place occurred in Moscow in January, when three bombs exploded on the same day. the most damage* oneetro station. The perpetrators were reportedly young men from TuIj. who came to Moscow to buy food on the weekend, and found the food stores closed. Last year many Moscow food outlets began closing on Sunday, presumably to prevent nonresidents from shopping in Moscow on their day off.

A few other violent Incidents not necessarily related to economic conditions have occurred, especially in the turbulent republic of Georgia. Notably, there have reportedly been several assassination attempts on Shcvarnadzc, the head of the Georgian Communist Party, and inomb exploded In the Georgian Council of Ministers building. The violence In Georgia is probably related, at least in part, to Shcvarnadze's campaign against crime and corruption, but nationalist passion against Kussificalion policies runs high in Georgia, and Ihe possibilityolitical motivation behind some of the violence and turmoil in that republic certainly cannot be excluded.

The fact that the leaders have thus far not taken cmcntcncyto them to alleviate the food shortages-such as purchasingofroad-suggests tha* 'hey have considered themanageable. Clearly, however, they have been worried aboutin the country,official in

Moscowrovincial official to watch the temper of Ihe iK-ople closely. Brezhnev's trip to Tula, where hepeech in January, was reportedly prompted byctive dissatisfaction with the lack of goods.

The scattered instances of violence which have occurred have not been connected with dissident activities, and the authorities probably know this. And the authorities reportedly deckled that no dissidents were involved in the metro bombing.



The dissidents, for iheirhive wholeheariwdly disavowed any connection with violent activities, believing that they a'c vulnerable as potential scapegoats. Thus, Sakharov charged Soviet luthorttiei- with bombing the Moscow metro stationrovocation, rather dramatically comparing the incident to the Reichstag fireewish dissidents in Moscow have expressed shock and revulsion at the violent actions of Jewish extremists in New York City. They believe that such actions can only hurt their position.

Nevertheless, some reporting suggests that the Soviet leadership may not always distinguish clearly between different sorts of criticism. Some Soviet officials may vaguely sense some connection between intellectual dissent and popular discontent.

Official apprehensioneneral erosion of discipline could take place in Soviet society may also be fed by continuing morale prob'ems in the Soviet armed forces. Two recent incidents dramatized these problems: the mutiny and attempted escape to Sweden inS ofrewhip in the Baltic fleet: and the defection to Japan of MIG pilot Belenko last September. Alcoholism, desertion, and suicide are serious problems, and are recognized as Mich by high-level officials.

C. Under Attack from the Eurocommunists

After Helsinki the Eurocommunists. including the once docile French Communist Party, became much more outspoken in their criticism ofSoviet' internal policies? The Spanish party has gone furthest, but the French and Italian parties-becausc of their Influence and their greater chance of coming to power- pose the more serious problem for the Soviets. From the Soviei perspective, the chief imparlance of Eurocommunism is not lhal it has diminished Soviet influence in West European Communist parlies, but that itarxist alternative to the Soviei model in Eastern Europe, and perhaps ultimately within the Sovfct Union itself. Moscow has ulto been upset by Eurocommunist support to dissidents in Eastern Europe.



diminished Soviet influence in West European Communist parties, but that itarxist alternative to ihe Soviet model in Eastern Europe, and perhaps ultimately within the Soviet Union itself. Moscow has also been upset by Eurocommunist support lo dissidents in Eastern Europe.

Over the last several years, electoral considerations have increased the desire, and greater domestic sources of financing have increased the ability, of the French and Italian parties to assert their independence from Moscow and their acceptance or Western political traditions. Specific eventsS gave impetus to this trend. The antidemocratic actions of the pro-Soviet Portuguese Communist Party impelled the Eurocommunists to shore up their credibility by pulling new stress on Iheircommitment to political freedom and Iheir patriotism.

SinceS Ihe Italian Communist Party has permitted its press to reprint items critical ofiet Union that had previously appeared in non-Communist newspapers. At the French Communist Parly Congress inhe French renounced two doctrines that once served as articles of faith for the international Communist movement: "proletarian internationalism" (which the Soviets have taken lo imply Soviet domination) and "dictatorship of Ihc proletariat" (one-party'ucc that lime the two parties have been more critical of Ihc Soviet Union than at any time since the aftermath ot the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Their denunciationseak in January of this year, when hoth Marchais and Berlinguer spoke out strongly against human rightsn the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Particularlyto Ihe Soviets was an unprecedented visit in late January of an Italian Communist delegation to dissident Marxist Roy Medvedev in Moscow. Tlie Italians presented Medvedev wilh an Italian edition ol one of his books and reportedly asked him lo wr'e articles for an Italian partj historical journal.

D. Unrest in Eastern Euruise

The growth of unrest in Eastern Europe*n Poland. Last Germany, and Czcsho>lovikia lus increased chronic Soviet fearspillover into the Soviet Union itself. The Pohsh situation, in particular, has many of the earmarksrevolutionaryragile economyegime whose sufferance depends on its ability lo satisfy orowine consumerilitary which might not piovc reliableomesticenerally hostile population, and, most important, an assertive working class whose interests are defended by two other clement*-tlic Church and ihe intellectuals.

If the lid ihould blow in Poland, the Soviets would have good cause to expeci repercussions elsewhere in the bloc. CSCEatalytic effect on East European oissent. whirh batovement cutting across national borders. Tlie Czechoslovak dissident cause.hich hasanifesto on humaned by several hundred Czechoslovak intellectuals, has to some extent servedegpoint for protest in other countries, including the Soviet Union itself. Sixty-two Soviet dissidentstatement supporting the Chartists in erriy March.

In addition, accordingecent report dissidents in several East European countries, including the Soviet Union, are evidently coordinating their activitiesimitedontacts between Polish and Soviet dissidents date from the, and emissaries from Poland are now being sent periodically to Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Vilnius, and Kaunus to coordinate actions and to supply Soviet dissidents with Western literature. The same report indicates that Lithuanian and Polish Catholic students also maintain contacts with each other, as do Polish Catholics and Ukrainianyzantineho rccoynizc the authority of the Pope iu Rome, and arc closely associated.with Ukrainian nationaleading Polish clergymen, including the head of ihe Polish Catholic church, arc reportedly sympathetic to Ukrainian Uniale congregations.

Soviet authorities have always been alert to lhc dangerolitical "virus" from Eastern Europe spreading into the polyglot borderlands of the Soviet Union. The intermingling of nationalities in some of these areas, as well as iheir geographic proximity to Eastern Europe, make them more susceptible to influences Irom that quarter.8 svmpathy for the Czechoslovaks created enough unrest in the Ukraine to make part> officials there jittery. There is evidence lhat the Soviet leadership's familiarity with Ukrainian conditions and its fearomino-effect were factors in the decision to invade Czechoslovakia.

E. The US Human Rights Initiative

A final reason for heightened Soviet concern about the dissident problem was the new US administration's human rightsfficial US protests about Soviet repression, and especially the personal involvement of President Carter in public api>eils on behalf of Soviet dissidents, angered Soviet authorities, who already feared being put in ihe dock this summer al the Belgrade review conference. At the same lime, the US humar. lights

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offensive heartened Soviet dissidents, and temporarily emboldened them to make more vigorous protests and to channel their appeals directly to the US administration.

II. The Soviet Response

In the face of these related pressures, the Sovietsounteroffensive on all fronts. In recent months the Soviet approach to issues of ideology and social control has been increasingly conservative. This conservatism has been manifested in reported pressure on some East European governments toougher line with regard to dissent, in pressure on the Eurocommunists to cease their "carping" about human rights violations in bloc countries, in bitter criticism of Western "interference" in Soviet internal affairs, and in somewhat harshc treatment of dissidents within the Soviet Union.

A. In Eastern Europe

Over the last six months, the Soviets have been less interested inniform policy toward dissent on all the East European regimes than in insisting that these regimes somehow come to grips with the problem on their own. increasingly, however, their mounting concern over unrest in Eastern Europe has reportedly been translated into pressure on the more moderate regimes toarder line toward dissidents. Of the regimes which haveelatively moderate approach. Poland is more vulnerable to pressure than Hungary, since no serious unrest exists in Hurigary.

Scviet concern over the dissident problem was reportedly manifest at the Warsaw Pact summit in late November in Bucharest. Al this meeting Hungarian party chief Kadar and East German party head Honecker argued about how best to handle dissent. Consistent wilh their past policies, Honecker arguedougher policy, while Kadarorter approach. The Soviets may have preferred toack seat, letting Honecker make the case for harsher tactics, bul the Soviet position during this period is not clear. Kadarrip lo Moscow in December, und reportedly won Brezhnev's approval for preservationoderate line.


At the mid-December meeting of Warsaw Pact ideological officials in Sofia, the participants again disagreed, not only about polic> toward dissidents, but also about what measures should be taken against elements sympatheticuroccrr.munist ideas within East European parties. Tlte Soviets reportediy lined up with the Easl Germans. Czechoslovaks, and Bulgarians against the Hungarians, while the Poles stood somewhere between the two extremes.

As Utc as February, however. Ihe Soviets were still thrashing about in searchatisfactory approach. In Ihat month CrSU Central Committee Secretary Kapitonov traveled lo Prague, where he reportedly criticized the Czechoslovaks on two counts: for nol moving soon enough against the Chartists to nip the movement In the bud; and for then overrcucting to Ihe Chartist problem wilh heavyhunded repression, thereby stirring up more dissent, llusak must have felt that he was "damned if he did. and damned if hehe impression conveyed is that .Moscow expected the Czechoslovaks to solve :hci: problems but that the Soviets themselves hardly knew what sort of action was required.

At least by early March, when East European ideology secretaries mel again in Sofia, il appears thai the Soviets decided to come down in favorough approach. Theyhed three Central Comn .lee secretaries Ponomarev. Zimyanin. and Katushcv-lo (his meeting, an indication of the importance they atta.hcd lo it. Most reporting indicates that the Soviets pressed harder than previouslyolicy of firm repression. Although the Hungarians once again defended Iheir more flexible line, the Soviets reportedly argued for tough action. The Poles, who also were not enthusiastic aboutrackdown, have reportedly been pressed by both the Soviets and the Czechoslovaks since lite conference.

B. The Eurocommunism

In an effort to bring the Eurocommunists to heel, the Soviets have since January used every lever available to them, including the "power of thend the threat of compromising some West Euroiman parlies b> revealing details of their past collaboration wilh Moscow. The Soviets have even raised the possibility of attempting to infilIrate and split recalcitrant parties.

It is possible that some Soviet leaders have reached the end of their patience with the Eurocommunists. and have decided that for their own interests in Eastern Europe It is more desirable to have small loyal parties in Western Europe than large rebellious ones. Ponomarev in early February, referring to Bcrlinguermonstrouseportedly staled Ihat it would be "worthless" for Ihe PCI to come to power by means of an election. Ponomarev indicated that he regarded the Euroommunists as the main prop for East European dissidents, and believed their ideas were infecting the entire Communist movement.

At the Sofia meeting in December. <he Soviets are reported lo have expressed Ibe opinion lhal although the influence uf the Eurocommunists was growing, this influence was of questionable value because the

Eurocommunists had renounced Ihe principle of the "dictatorship of Ihehe Soviets also apparently rawed Ihc possibility of attempting to split some West European parties, and Ihey may have made good their threat. Whether or not Ihe Soviets were directly involved, one Western party has already divided. In late February the doctrinaire faction of the Swedish Communist Partyew pro-Soviet party: the split came over the issue of human rights. Finnish Communis! Party leaders have long suspected Ihat Moscow is providing stronger backing lo the Stalinist wing of their party.

The Soviets ulso have tried to influence Ihc Eurocommunists by peer pressure. In early January,ecret meeting in Moscow of pro-Soviet West European Communist parlies. Suslovlcdly rallied the faithful to the banner of "proletariannd warned them against being seduced by Eurocommunist ideas. The Soviets have relied heavily on the loyal Austrian Communist Party to make representations for Ihem. and sent Cunhal of Portugalour of European capitals to drum up support for their human rights stand. They even employed the head of the Uruguay Communist Party, reportedly to remind the Eurocommunists lhal thev were only one portionarger, international muvemenl centered in Moscow.

Moscow also employed more direct pressure, especially on the Italian Communis!oviet delegation lo Italy in January reportedly threatened to expose publicly past support ol Ihe Italian party fur Soviet activities, which could prove embarrassing lo the parly, if the Italians did noi cut back their criticism of Soviet internal policies. Having brandished the stick, the Soviets produced the carrot. Later in January Ihey reportedly offered generous funding to an Italian party delegation to Moscow, provided the Italians would tone down their criticism. Al this meeting Ponomarev threatened the Italian delegationublic condemnation, vowing that "if you don't stop, we will attack youeportedly, the Soviets also threatened to cut off funding of Ihe Danish Communist Party if itfoolish" position on the human rights issue. The Danes were reminded bluntly that without Soviet support. Ihey would amount to "zero."

C. The US

Meanwhile, the Soviets reacted lo US public efforts to intercede on behalf of beleaguered Soviet dissidents in an uncompromising manner, nol only by public denunciations of US "interference" in Soviet internal affairs, but also by taking actions against some of the dissidents specifically mentioned in US public protests.

Although the Soviets may not have been as alarmed and angry as their public pronouncements made them appear, they were clearly taken aback and at leut initially confused by the new US administration's concentration Qp the human rights issue. KGB chief Andupov reportedly told his"^counterpart that the leadership found President Carter's statements on the issue "bewildering."

There wasearch for ulterior motives behind the US attentionhumrn rightsstaff member told

that Brezhnev and other leaders had "closed minds" about the ;ights controversy.


Some Soviet officials chalked up the human rights "campaign" to President Carter'sailure lo recognize the structural limits to the flexibility of the Soviet system, and "misunderstanding" of the differing historical experiences of the Russian and American people. Others claimed to see the "campaign" as an effort by the President to improve his domestic political position,actical move lo lower Soviet prestige in the eyes of the world.

Still others may have believed Iheir own propaganda, and regardedrighis offensiveeliberate effort at subversion by the view put out by Soviet officials^jonversationsand East Europeantiff member

lute Fehruary that some Soviet leaders viewed the President'sundamental effort to undermine the Soviet system.officials indicated toIhe human

rights issue was seen by thr. Soviets as more damaging toToviet-US relations than the Vietnam war had been, because "then you were bombing Hanoi, but now you arc bombing Moscow."

The charge of subversion was also adopted by Soviet propagandists. On: vest to. attacked two former US embassy officers and one current officer tall of themn Ihe basis of their contacts with Jewish dissidents in Moscow, livestla charged these officers wiih engaging in espionage. In February several Jewish dissidents were arrested while entering the US embassy with embassy officers, whose company had previously

afforded them protection. In January, for the first timewas expelled from the Soviet Union, probably because ofwith dissidents. Meanwhile, the major Leningrad daily impliedcontacts of thetrGerrmrn consul general with dissidentsinvolvement In espionage. In this way, the Soviets attemptedthe access of Westerners In the Soviet Union to the

O. Internal Repression

The current campaign against dissent, however, predates the change in US administrations. It had its origin In the Soviet desire to clean house and silence the dissidents before the Belgrade review conference was convened. Indeed, some dissidents have charged that the climate In the Soviet Union worsened Immediately after, andirect result of, the signing of the Helsinki Accords. Bukovsky, among others, charged that conditions in his prison "tangibly worsened" after Helsinki. Particularly ominous have been suggestions that violence and threat; of violence against dissidents have increased since Helsinki. There have been several mysterious "accidental" deaths, and more than the usual number of beatings and anonymous death threats.

The US administration's statements defending Soviet dissidents apparently did lead to an acceleration of the crackdown. Since the turn of the year, the Soviets have moved to cripple the Orlov group and its regional subgroups, arresting leading members, encouraging others to emigrate, harassing or threatening others.

In addition, the Soviets have recently made efforts to link theiih espionage activities. In early April the mother of recently arrested *cwlsh dissident Shcharansky was told by prison officials that her son "might" be tried for treason. The hvtstia article which accused US embassy officers of engaging in espionage made similar charges against several Jewish dissidents on the basis of their contacts with US officials. And In early March,emarche to Ambassador Toon, First Deputy Foreign Minister Kornlyenko used unusually threatening language against Sakharov, denouncing himnd an "enemy of thelmost certainly, the use of such language iscare tactic. Although several dissidents were questioned as to their whereabouts on the day of the metroS newsman was unofficially told that the authorities did not intend to charge dissidents with this act. Not since Statin has an Intellectual dissident been tried for treason.

Even during the last few months, the Soviets haveew conciliatoryn March Jewish dissident Shtem was released from

prison before his teuu was up, and Leningrad dissident Borisov wis releasedsychiatric hospital. The authorities continue to-allow some dissidents to emigrate, and to try to win over those on the fringes of the dissident movement, Recently they have attempted to co-opt "unofficial" artists Into the system by relaxing restrictions on unconventional art and by offering some of the artists membership in official artists' unions. Thisontroversial symbolist play, suppressed forecade, was allowed to openoscow theater.

III. urrent Assessment

onsiderable extent, Soviet attempts to silence internal and external critics have paid off. The Eurocommunists have toned down their criticism, if only for the time being, Italian Communist Party Secretary Ccrvetti, who traveled to Moscow in late January reportedly promised the Soviets that the Italian party's criticism of East European violations of human rights "would not go toogreed to stop preparationarly critique of East European repression, and assured the Soviets that Uerlinguer would try to prevent Marchais and Carrillo from using the coming "summit" between the three Eurocommunist leaderslatform to criticize the CPSU. At the Madrid summit in early March the three Eurocommunist leadersepid communique endorsing the "full application" of the Helsinki Accords without mentioning the Soviet Union or other East European countries. The Eurocommunists will continue tohorn in Moscow's side, but for the moment they have succumbed to Soviet pressure and have retreated.

Tlie US, even before the Vance visit, began to make its statements on human rights less pointed. The Soviets must also be pleased that, generally speaking. West European governments have not enthusiastically supported this aspect of US diplomacy. Reportedly, the Soviets would have regarded the human rights controversy much more seriously had West European governments unequivocally followed Washington's lead.

Even the more Independent East European regimes have, like the Sovietirmly rebutted Western criticism-whether emanating from Communists or capitalists. Support for Eurocommunism in Yugoslavia and Romania is based essentiallyesire for independence from the Soviet Union, notommitment to human rights. Neither Tito nor Ccauscscu is likely to accept Western Communists' tutelage in this area. The Yugoslavs and Romanians are willing to be in the same camp with the Soviets inirm policy against dissidents when the only alternative is Internal Instability.

In Eastern Europe the Soviets probably continue to find it difficult toniform tough polky. Were it not for their desire torackdown elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Kadar's continued moderation would probably not disturb them, since Hungary has no major dissident problem. But making an exception In the case of Hungary weakens the Soviet caseepressive policy in Poland; the Soviets remain uneasy about Gierek's ability to keep the ltd on popular unrest. Nevertheless, they perhaps console themselves that neither Poland, Czechoslovakia, or East Germ any-the three countries where unrest has beenovernment that is disloyal to the Soviets or seriously Infected with Eurocommunist ideas. They probably remain reasonably confident that no East European regime will turn "revisionist" to the extent of succumbing to the pressures of dissident elements, as happened in Czechoslovakia

Meanwhile, the euphoria with which most Soviet dissidents initially welcomed US public expressions of concern about their plight is fading in the wake of the Vance visit to Moscow. Even earlier, Roy Medvedev had reportedly expressed the view that President Carter's statements were harming rather than helping theriticism which provoked Sakharov to calledvedev. however, had always disagreed with Sakharov about the value of nonsocialist Western support. More indicative of the changing moodtatement Aleksandr Ginsburg's wife made to US embassy officers before Vance arrived. While she applauded the US stand on human rights, she said that she now felt that only "quiet diplomacy" could bring Soviet authorities to release her husband. Since Vance's departure, other Soviet dissidents have been extremely depressed. They had expected much from the visit, believing that it "just must" improve their situation.

The Soviets originally believed that they could afford toreater degree of contact between their citizens and the outside world, or they would never have entered into the Helsinki agreement, allowed greater contact between East and West Germany, or stopped jamming some Western radio broadcast to the Soviet Unionhe events of the past yearalf, however, have given the Soviets pause, and reason to reexamine their policies. Some leaders have probably decided that acquiescence on Basket IIIistake.


Objectively, Soviet dissent docs not appear toerious threat to the Soviet system, but Soviet officials mayreater danger than

exists in fact. Both Russian historyLeninist Ideology impel them to exaggerate Ihe potential importance of opposing groups, however small. They have always been preoccupied with problems of control.

It Is not merely intellectual dissent that disturbs the Soviets. They fear ihat the MiMCf movement or people and ideas" which they conceded on paper at Helsinki, and whichertain extent the circumstancesodem technological world force upon them, will open their societyhole host of ideas and influences from the West that are. in their view, not only politically subversive but socially disruptive and morally unhealthy. Identifying Western concepts of liberty with license, they arc apprehensive thai extensive contact withecadent" West will expose the Soviet people not only to alien political ideas bul also lo crime, terrorism, pornography, and drugs, which could combine toeneral breakdown of order and discipline. To the extent that they are concerned about the stagnation of their economy, the Soviets may ulso fear that consumer dissatisfaction willore serious political problem in future years.

Differences exist within the leadership as to how besthandle dissent. Ironically, there is some reason lo suspect thai KGBndropov is less inclined lo move in Ihe direction or more repression. Senior party secretary Suslov. the chief party ideologist, and Ponomarev. head ol Ihe Central Committee International Department,arder ideological line at home.

The importance Ihe leadershiphole attaches to dissent can be seen by the fact that decisions about individual dissidents are sometimes made at the Politburo level. Over the last few years Politburo members have reportedly made the decisions on such matters as conductor Rostropovlch's applicationassport extension, and artist Ncizvestny's application to emigrate,

Soviet leuders probably realize they cannot eradicate dissent altogether. They could round up several dozen of the more visible dissidents and forcibly deport them, butsurgical strike" would only temporarily cripple the dissident movement. Dissent has become endemic lo Soviet society; new dissidents would appear to replace those who had departed. Indeed, except for Sakharov. the most Important individual involved in dissent sincean who was unknown lo ihe West two years ago. In any event, campaigns of repression are difficult tu sustain for long periods, since they run Ihc danger of aggravating the problem they were

intended to solve. Thus, the Soviets have not attempted to "solve" their dissident problem, but merely to control itombination of coercive and conciliatory measures.

In view of their recent successes. It is unlikely that the Soviets will sec the need to deal with the dissident problem in the Soviet Union in more drasticenewal of Western criticism, combinedurther increase in internal dissent, could lead to some further ideological tightening ond to further restrictions on contacts between Westerners and Soviet citizens, If necessary at the cost of damaging relations with Western countries. The Soviets could, for example, begin jamming Western broadcast* again, prohibit dissident meetings with Western newsmen and diplomats altogether, and prevent correspondence and telephone calls from reaching dissidents.

Clearly, however, the Soviet leadership has no desire, if indeed it has the power, to move in the direction of reinstituting the Stalinist terror apparatus. The bureaucracyuffered greatly in the past from arbitrary and irregular proceedings, and feels more secure with the modicum of legality which now exists. Probably the most important restraint on Soviet behavior toward dissidents is the world view of Soviet leaders themselves. Allhough the developments since Helsinki have raised doubts about the popular mood in the minds of some leaders, most Soviet leaders probablyundamental faith that their policies are generally accepted by the bulk of the Soviet population. Their belief in the superiority and success of thefr system probahly makes them generally confident of their abilit> to keep dissent within manageable limits by continued carrot-and-stiek tactics,eversion to Draconian measures.

The Soviet appraisal of the dissident problem in Eastern Europe is much more pessimistic. Last winter some Soviet leaders were probably genuinely alarmed that post-Helsinki conditions were creating an unstable situation there, especially in Poland, where the climate is still tense.ajor explosion yet occur in Eastern Europe, the Soviets would not hesitate to respond with mililary force, accompanied by harsh prophylactic measures against dissidents within the Soviet Union itself

Original document.

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