URGENT Precede BOSTON
URGENT Precede BOSTON
TED M. NATT JR.
Dec. 08, 1985
NEWTON, Mass. (AP) _ Yelena Bonner arrived here Saturday to a joyous greeting from family and friends and said she was ''very concerned and anxious'' about her husband, Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Andrei Sakharov, whom she left behind in the Soviet Union.
Mrs. Bonner, who was permitted to visit the United States to get treatment for a heart condition, kept a promise to Soviet authorities and refused to comment on a report that a checkup of her husband revealed ''no negative dynamics.''
''We are very, very happy our mother is here with us,'' said her daughter, Tatiana Yankelevich, 35, who had not seen her mother in more than six years.
Mrs. Bonner walked smiling off the plane at Boston's Logan International Airport with her arms around her grandchildren, Anna Yankelevich, 10, and her brother, Matvei, 12, who presented her with a bouquet of flowers.
''I am very concerned and anxious for my husband,'' Mrs. Bonner told reporters after she arrived. ''This is all I can tell you.
''It is difficult for me to talk about your questions. You all know that I gave a promise not to hold any press conferences and I cannot give any interviews. I want to thank you for such a warm and human welcome.''
Mrs. Bonner gave the promise to Soviet authorities in return for a three- month visa allowing her to get medical treatment in the West.
Mrs. Bonner's son, Alexei Semyonov, 29, who accompanied his mother to Boston from Rome, said she planned to call her husband Monday or Tuesday in Gorky, the Soviet city where he is in internal exile.
''If she cannot reach her husband in Gorky, she feels her trip will be pointless,'' he said. ''She will be worried too much to have the operation.''
He said his mother planned to meet Monday with a doctor but would not identify the physician or say where the meeting would occur.
Before speaking to reporters, Mrs. Bonner sprayed her mouth with what Semyonov said was nitrogylcerin for her heart condition. She held her daughter's hand and kept a hand around her 85-year-old mother, Ruth Bonner, who lives with the Yankeleviches in suburban Newton.
''I am very happy now to see my entire family,'' Mrs. Bonner said to the reporters. ''Your help enabled me to be here.''
Semyonov said of his mother's condition, ''Right now, she is looking much much better than she did the first day in Italy.''
He said Mrs. Bonner came to the United States for medical treatment because ''the doctors treating them in the Soviet Union were under the orders of the KGB. ... She cannot trust the doctors who perform only what the KGB tells them.''
Mrs. Bonner left Italy on Saturday morning after a visit which began Monday when she flew to Rome from Moscow. Her Italian sojourn included eye examinations for glaucoma and cataracts, a papal audience and a visit with Prime Minister Bettino Craxi.
''I am grateful to Italy and the Italians for the warmth and sympathy I felt during my stay here,'' she told reporters as she left Italy. She held what Italian reporters said was a new purse given to her by Craxi.
In Moscow, an article Saturday by the Soviet news agency Tass denied what it called ''blasphemous political speculation'' about the health of the 64- year-old Sakharov.
The dispatch said a checkup revealed ''no negative dynamics'' in Sakharov's health. It was the first Soviet news media report in more than 11/2 years about the 1975 Nobel laureate and nuclear physicist.
''We do not have confidence in the Soviet statements,'' Semyonov said after arriving in Boston. Semyonov had said in Rome that Sakharov lost 44 pounds and was ill after a hunger strike.
On Friday, Mrs. Bonner had an unannounced audience with Pope John Paul II, which, according to Vatican spokesman, she had requested and which ''was held in the strictest privacy.''
Earlier at the U.S. embassy, Mrs. Bonner received her U.S. visa and was given a welcoming letter from Secretary of State George P. Shultz.
After she left Saturday, her friend and translator throughout her Italian stay, Irina Ilovaisky Alberti, said she was ''sad to see my friend go, but happier to see her leave for the United States than for Moscow.''
Mrs. Alberti, born in the Soviet Union but now an Italian citizen, added, ''At least when she's there we can talk by telephone and we can write.''
She said Mrs. Bonner was in need of a coronary bypass operation following two heart attacks in 1984. She said Mrs. Bonner had not wanted to be operated on in the Soviet Union ''because she was afraid something would happen to her.'' She did not elaborate.
Mrs. Alberti said that Mrs. Bonner's heart condition is ''very serious,'' more so than that of her husband's, whose health Mrs. Alberti described as ''not good.''
Both live in internal exile in the Soviet Union in the closed city of Gorky, and according to Mrs. Bonner's son and son-in-law, Sakharov was on hunger strike for about six months in all to pressure Soviet authorities to let his wife leave the country to get treatment in the West.