Sakharov andoviet Dilemma
APPROVED FOR RELEASE DATE:1
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of intelligence3
Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn: oviet Dilemma Introduction
As CSCE talks resume in Geneva and the US Congress considers MFN legislation, the Kremlin deliberates on how to handle its thorniestAndrey Sakharov and novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The magnitude and duration of the press campaignagainst Sakharov, andesser degree against Solzhenitsyn, had seemed to commit the regime to some follow-through action. Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, however, have upped their ante by obstinately refusing to be intimidated and by continuing to appeal toindividuals and groups for support. They havein making their plight an international issue, and the outcry from both Communists and non-Communists in the West now threatens Soviet detente policies. This memorandum examines Moscow's resulting dilemma and the regime's options in dealing primarily with Sakharov, who represents the bigger problem.
Comments and querieson the contents of thisare welcome. They may be direotedf the Office of Current Intelligence
The letter-writing campaign against Sakharov in the Soviet press came to an abrupt haltwo days later the Soviet Union stopped jamming VQA, BBC, and Deutsche Welle broadcasts for the first time since the Czech invasionB. Other less dramatic but still conciliatory moves have been made, such as the decision to allow ballet dancer Valery Panov to emigrate, and the grantingisa to pianist Svyatoslav Rikhter, who did not sign any of the anti-SaJcharov statements.
The cessation of press attacks on Sakharov has not silenced Western critics. Most alarming to the regime may be the growing support for the Jackson Amendment in Congress making MFN status for the Soviet Union contingent on free emigration. At the sameumber of private organizations have joined the fray. The US Academy of Sciences, which elected Sakharov to membership in April, has threatened not toin joint US-Soviet science projects if theof Sakharov is resumed. The American Psychiatric Association, proddedlea from Sakharov, has weighed intatement of support not only for the man but for his principles. An international symposium on psychiatry opens in the Soviet Union in October, and American psychiatrists are challenging oviet authorities to allow them at that time to ex- mine inmates of mental hospitals who claim they ar.e onfined for political reasons. Most recently, nine jj French scientists, including four Hobel prizewinners, added their protest.
In contrast to the hue and cry raised in the West, support for Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn in the Soviet Union has been expressed primarily by silence. Some notable names have been missing from the group attacks extracted from the Soviet intelligentsia. Even so, the authorities' allegation that Sakharov "opposed detente" distorts the campaign against himest of the intelligentsia's loyalty to detente policies and has probably helped enlist the support of some who otherwise would not have participated.
An unusual feature of the recent crackdown has been the broad coverage it has received in the Soviet domestic media. The result of this has been tosome of the common ignorance about the existence of intellectual dissent as well as about the substance of such opinions. This publicity appears to be partew propaganda offensive by which the regime confronts critics directly in order to disparage them. If the leadership made an earlier decision to open the foreign airwaves to theit may have found it desirable to prepare the populace beforehand for what they would hear from abroad.
Brezhnev may have seen the campaign againstin this light. The attacks on Sakharov tookremise the desirability of detente, and one day before the final wrap-up article on Sakharov appeared in the press, Brezhnev wrote an article thanking the readers who had expressed their support of detente by their letters. Brezhnev's speech in Alma-Ata onugust, advocating "victory througheemed to embrace both the ideareer flow ofand,tep-up in ideological work.
The fact that the Soviet press has not picked up this theme may indicate some disagreement within the leadership. It is conceivableifferent mix of motives led difforent leaders to approve the press campaign. Some Politburo members may have accepted the campaign as necessary to cover their flanks as they made concessions at CSCE; others may have pushed it in the hope of complicating the course of detente. As they pursue the dual goals of detonte and vigilance, Soviet leaders must now consider various options in handling the Sakharov-Solzhenitsyn case:
(1) The regime could encourage the two men to leave the country. In recentumber oftroublesome dissidents have been allowed to leave the Soviet Union, after which the authorities found pretexts for revoking their citizenship. University reportedly has sent four letters to
Sakharov offering him an academic position. The first three letters did not get through to Mm^ butourth apparently has been delivero-d, prtinnffiahj-yapproval of the authorities... Sakharov reportedly stated that he is now prepared "in principlo" tothis invitation, but that he has no hope ofpermission to bring his family to the US. His stepchildren, whose mother is half-Jewish and half-Armenian, applied for visas in February, but their applications have gone unanswered.
In the case of Sakharov, security considerations will makeifficult decision for the He states that he has not worked with classified materialshen his first aamindat essay was circulated. At that time he lost his position as chief consultant to the Soviet State Committee for'Nuclear liftergy. He has since been employedhysicist at Lebedev Institute, engaged in work on general relativity, which has been described as "the least classified subject" in his field.J
Sakharov was still engage
dox views were known, and his separation fromwork may have come in more than one stage. As however,!
case, security-conscious Soviet authorities tend to take an extremely cautious view of such thingsi they have refused to release other scientists, notably Benjamin Levich, years after their access to secret materials ended.
As for Solzhenitsyn, he has repeatedly said he will remain in Russia, regardless of the consequences.
Emigration has another, less serious drawback from the regime's point of view: exile would place Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn beyond Moscow's control. The thoughtiberated Sakharov, criticizing the Soviet Union from the safety of the "other shore,"
is doubtless displeasing. By encouraging orthe exit of active dissidents, Moscow risksadre of prestigious exiles whose existence could hardly enhance the regime's international On balance, however, the regime would probably be glad to be rid of Sakharov if securitydo not prevail, and of Solzhenitsyn if he will go.
he regime may resume its offensive against the two men. If the campaign against Sakharov isseveral courses are possible:
for his expulsion This may well have been of the letter-writing to this effect appeared letter, signed by acade-
(a) The regime may from the Academy of Sciences, their intention at the outset campaign. The strongest hint in Tsvestia onugust in a
mlcian G. L* Khimich, which suggested that Soviet scientists shouldober view of whether Sal ov is worthy of bearing the high title of Soviettitle respected by all the people.
academy, however, is known for its independence Only once has itember, and on occasion it has refused to admit candidates who had regime backing. The majority of the academy's members, includingf theembers of its presidium, have (no^ endorsed the crusade against Sakharov. Two academicians, chemist Benjamin Levich and mathematician Igor Shafarevitch, publicly defended Sakharov,
using considerable muscle, Soviet authorities probably could force Sakharov's expulsion, thereby cutting his income and depriving him of the prestige of his title. In the process, however, the regime would risk alienating major elements of the scientific community, on whom the country's technologicalultimately depends. This step would alsothe foreign aspects of Moscow's problem.
(b) The regime could arrest Sakharov or confine himsychiatric ward. Such action would at least silence him, but, even more than expulsion from the academy, it would risk alienation of the. scientific community as well as repercussions topolicy. Moreover, it would necessitate action against Solzhenitsyn. In the past, Solzhenitsyn has elected to fight his battles alone, but during recent weeks he has expressed his solidarity with Sakharov.
Solzhenitsyn's new willingness to associate his own case with that of Sakharov is significant, for the two men represent two distinct and persistent strains of thought in Russian intellectual history. Sakharov, rationalist and cosmopolitan in outlook, subscribes almost in toto to Western formulas for constitutional government and civil liberty. on the other hand, falls squarely in theof Russian "slavophilism." Deeply religious, scornful of the West's materialism and philistino neglect of moral values, he rejects Westernand looks to native sourcos for inspiration. The alliance of the Westernizing rationalism of Sakharov and the Russian "spiritualism" of Solzhenitsyn offers common ground onroad spectrum of Soviet intellectuals can meet.
that "nothing wiappen^^to^Saknarov and Solzhenitsyn. Oneptember, however, an article in Literary Gazette blasted the two men as "obstacles to solid peace." Two days later Valentinoviet scientist who publicly defended Sakharov, was censuredeeting of employees at his Moscow institute. open repression seems unlikely for the present, it cannot be ruled outossibility.
(c) Rather thanrontal assault, the authorities may attempt to silence Sakharov by applying pressureore subtle and indirect fashion.has stated that hi3 greatest concern is for his
B September, several Soviet officials have
family. Sakharov's first wife died He is reportedly on good terms with his son, but not with his two daughters. He now lives with his second wife and her children, who reportedly support his dissident activities. During the past year they have suffered reprisals. His stepdaughter was reportedly dismissed from her university; the stepson was denied admission and told that hemarked man." The stepdaughter's husband lost his job. These mild forms of repression, however, have not cowed Sakharov. More open action against his family would attract some of the samepublicity as action against Sakharov.
(3) Finally, Moscow may hope that the case against Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn can be allowed to wither away. Several considerations militate against this outcome. etreat may be psychologically unacceptable to party hard-liners. After giving Sak-harov's sins wide publicity and hinting broadly that the day of reckoning was at hand, the regime stands to lose face by backing off now.
More important, this approach offers no guarantee that Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn will keep quiet. Both men seem to have cast aside all restraint in their criticism of tho regime.
Even after the press campaign has ceased, they continue to make statements and offereliberate effort to keep the affair alive in the Western press. etterorwegianoneptember, Solzhenitsyn nominated Sakharov for the Nobel Peace Prize. In the same letter,he made it clear that his hostility to the Soviet regime did not imply any conversion to Western values. His denunciation of the West's hypocrisy and immorality would make it difficult for the Kremlin to smear him as an unpatriotic "tool of the international bourgeoisi Oneptember, in announcements which may have been concerted, the two men in effect challenged the regime to arrest them. Sakharov admitted that he had sent unauthorized manuscripts abroad, and Solzhenitsyn stated that he had begun underground circulation of one of his banned novels.
Tho determination of the two men has emboldenedother dissidents, such as Pavel Lifcvinov,of Stalin's foreign minister, and Lydiaovelist, to ma.ke statements of fliippewt. roup of Jewish scientists, Benjamin Levich among them, have done the same, thus associating the crusade for Jewish emigration rights with the general struggle for civil liberties. onth ago, with the trial of Yakir and Krasin, the dissident "movement" seemed to have reached its nadir. Now, largely owing to the efforts ofand Solzhenitsyn, other dissidents are showing feeble signs of new life.
The outspokenness of the two men thus places the Kremlinilemma. The initiative seems to have passed from the hunters to the hunted. By calling off the press attack on the two men and by deciding to stop jamming, the Soviet leadership is clearly holding out an olive branch to the West. Yet if Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn continue to speakthey seemtowithin the leadership who place discipline at home over detente abroad will find their case strengthened.