Journal Says Soviet Reporters Harassed in United States
MOSCOW (AP) _ A Soviet literary journal complained today that Soviet reporters in the United States are victims of FBI harassment, threatening telephone calls and vandalism.
Iona Andronov, New York correspondent for the weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta, made the remarks in an article apparently aimed at countering U.S. media reports about hazards and obstacles American reporters face in the Soviet Union.
The U.S. reports were sparked by the Aug. 30 arrest and 13-day Soviet detention of Nicholas Daniloff, a correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, on espionage charges.
Daniloff has said he believes the KGB framed him to gain leverage in the case of Gennadiy Zakharov, a Soviet United Nations employee arrested Aug. 23 in New York and charged with espionage. Daniloff and Zakharov were released to the custody of their embassies on Friday. Neither has been given permission to return to his homeland.
Andronov complained the American media ″stun the public with formidable stories of American reporters accredited in Moscow about their allegedly intolerable life in the Soviet Union.″
American correspondents in Moscow assume their telephones and apartments are bugged and that the KGB secret police keep tabs on their activities. They also have complained of being tailed by plainclothes agents, receiving provocative telephone calls and letters and having their cars vandalized.
Andronov did not dispute such allegations, but accused American journalists and legal authorities of ignoring what he said was harassment of Soviet journalists in the United States.
He quoted a Tass correspondent in New York as saying, ″We constantly receive telephone calls from the same anonymous people who pour out obscene words and threaten to blow up the office and kill us. Today they already have threatened: ‘all of you already are sentenced to death.’
″The aim of the provocateurs is obvious - to threaten and demoralize us,″ the Tass reporter said.
He alleged that U.S. authorities tap Tass telephone lines, and that it therefore should be a simple matter for them to trace threatening calls and stop them.
Andronov did not name the Tass correspondent, or other Soviet reporters he quoted.
He said a New York correspondent for Moscow News reported that vandals broke his car windows and punctured his tires. He also complained he is tailed by FBI agents.
″As for the correspondent of Literaturnaya Gazeta,″ Andronov wrote, referring to himself, ″they are trying to set traps in a more tricky way.″
He said he has received anonymous letters offering to provide him with confidential information. Andronov said one letter offered information about a military team headed for Afghanistan. ″If you are not a cowardly chicken, then let’s meet and make a deal,″ he quoted the letter as saying.