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Mrs. Bonner Talks To Family About Soviet Exile, Goes To Hospital Today

December 17, 1985

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) _ Soviet dissident Yelena Bonner and her family did some holiday shopping, relaxed and exchanged memories about their seven years of forced separation as they prepared for her brief hospital stay for a heart exam.

Mrs. Bonner, wife of Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, was to enter Massachusetts General Hospital this afternoon after meeting with Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.

The governor’s spokesman, Jim Dorsey, said Mrs. Bonner requested the private meeting to thank Dukakis for his ″continuing efforts to speak out for human rights in the Soviet Union.″

Mrs. Bonner, 62, was exiled to the Soviet city of Gorky in 1984 for unspecified ″crimes against the state.″ She was granted a three-month visa to leave the Soviet Union for medical care.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Bonner will undergo a coronary catheterization, said hospital spokesman Martin Bander.

The procedure involves inserting a catheter or fine tube into a blood vessel and guiding it to the heart, where a dye is injected to make the heart muscle arteries visible on X-rays.

The routine, 90-minute test shows whether the arteries are blocked and whether surgery is needed, Bander said.

The results of the exam should be known by late Wednesday.

Bander said Mrs. Bonner may be able to leave the hospital Thursday, but could stay through the weekend depending how she is feeling.

Preliminary tests conducted last week show Mrs. Bonner suffered a heart attack in 1983 and has ″a great deal of angina (heart pain),″ said Dr. Adolph Hutter.

Tatiana Yankelevich, Mrs. Bonner’s daughter, said the family is anxious to learn the extent of her mother’s heart problem. ″After this, everything will be clear,″ she said.

She added that Mrs. Bonner plans to call her husband sometime after Christmas. Their last call was thwarted by static as Mrs. Bonner began to tell Sakharov he was being secretly filmed by the KGB.

″She is trying to get as much rest as she can, but she hasn’t seen us for seven years, so we have to touch base on very many issues,″ added Mrs. Yankelevich. ″It has been a very tense time, and at the same time, it is a very joyous time.″

Mrs. Yankelevich would not discuss what her mother said about her exile along with Sakharov in Gorky, citing Mrs. Bonner’s agreement with Soviet authorities not to talk with Western journalists during her trip.

She said her mother was feeling well enough last weekend to spend a few hours shopping for the holidays. The family will not celebrate Christmas, but will exchange gifts around the New Year, Mrs. Yankelevich said.

″We are not observant. We are not Christians. I would say my family is what you would call agnostic,″ she said. ″We get a tree, but we don’t put any religious meaning to it. It’s just a custom.″

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