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Tass Reports Refusenik Protest at Peace Forum

February 15, 1987

MOSCOW (AP) _ The official Tass news agency on Sunday reported that a group of Soviet Jews denied permission to emigrate made an appeal to participants at a Kremlin-sponsored peace forum.

The unusual announcement of a protest action by ″refuseniks″ - those denied exit visas for Israel - also suggested that several prominent Jewish activists will soon be freed from prison and given permission to leave the country.

Tass accused those who signed the appeal of ″trying to poison the open and creative atmosphere of the forum″ and said the signors were aided by opponents of nuclear disarmament and detente.

About 1,300 Soviet and foreign scientists, politicians, entertainers, artists and other participants gathered in Moscow over the weekend for a series of roundtable discussions on peace and disarmament.

The protest document titled ″Address of the Jews Who Were Refused Permission to Emigrate From the USSR″ was posted in the lobbies of hotels where the forum is taking place, Tass said.

″It is signed by 10 people who assert that they are not allowed to return to their historic motherland, i.e., to emigrate to Israel,″ Tass said.

″The names under the address show that the purpose of those who signed it was not so much to go to Israel as to gain beforehand political capital in the West through the participation in such unseemly actions.″

Tass restated an announcement by the government last week that dozens of Soviets imprisoned on anti-Soviet charges have been released and other cases are being reviewed in accordance with a ″democratization process″ under way in the Soviet Union.

Some of the cases being reviewed for clemency were mentioned in the Jewish appeal, Tass said, including those of Zakhar Zunshein, Alexei Magarik, Mark Nepomnyashchy, Leonid Volvovsky, Vladimir Lifshits and Yuli Edelshtein.

″As for Zakhar Zunshein and Alexei Magarik, no one is going to keep them in the Soviet Union,″ Tass said of the imprisoned Jewish activists. ″The same is true of Edelshtein and Nepomnyashchy.″

No details of the cases were reported, but the wording suggested that those men will be freed and allowed to emigrate.

The appeal reported by Tass was not in evidence Sunday in the lobby of the Kosmos hotel, where scientists and cultural figures were meeting.

Leonid Yuzefovich said he and two women who signed the appeal managed to get through the security cordon around the hotel entrance and gave copies of the appeal to the Soviet chief of the forum press center and to Soviet writer Chingiz Aitmanov.

In a related action, a group of Soviets attempting to join family members in the West said they were under house arrest Sunday after sending a telegram to forum participants pointing out that protesters were beaten and arrested after a demonstration Friday at Moscow’s Arbat shopping street.

″We want this inhumane and illegal action against peaceful people to be known by all members of the forum, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Andrei Sakharov,″ said the telegram, sent by Galina Gerasimova, Alexander Zhdanov and Vladimir Pimonov.

Ms. Gerasimova called The Associated Press to say all three were being prevented from leaving their apartments by plainclothes security agents.

She said she was not sure whether the telegram sent Saturday, addressed to the ″president of the forum,″ was ever received.

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