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April 11, 1986 - Image 99

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-04-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

99

don't know why, but that's their
mentality."
Toth said he learned that
negotiations for Shcharansky's
release were under way at least
one month before it was • an-
nounced.
"When this defector, ,Vitaly
Yurchenko, came out, he brought
out information disclosing that
the KGB had totally set up
Shcharansky," he said. "I was
aware of this, but I didn't use it for
more than a month because I
knew it was being used privately
by our government in an effort to
get his release."
Yurchenko, identified initially
as the fifth-highest official in the
KGB, re-defected in November
and returned to Moscow.
"There were a number of things
that were going on over the many
years that I knew about and did
not write for fear they would
jeopardize his release," Toth said.
When Toth saw Shcharansky
after his release, "He was mostly
pale. But when I thought about it,
it seemed to me only natural that
someone who's just come out of
prison in the middle of Russia in
winter wouldn't have had oppor-
tunities to get some sun. The eyes
looked sunken, but obviously he
still had his wit," he said. "And
the way he handled some poten-
tially awkward political ques-
tions in Israel showed that he cer-
tainly had all of his sensitivities
and antennae, which he had be-
fore, intact."
Shcharansky's imprisonment ,
included long stretches of isola-
tion and harsh physical treat-
ment, as well as at least one
hunger strike lasting more than
100 days.
"If you survive it, you probably
have lost your fear of death," Toth
said, "Or you've so submerged
your fear in order to survive, that
I don't see how it cannot have
some effect on you. You may have
to give up a lot of other common
emotions in order to survive that
situation. I think it will take a lot
longer to decide in my own mind
how he's been affected. Hopefully,
he won't have been really affected
at all, but I don't see how you can
go through that without being af-
fected."
Toth said concern about
Shcharansky's eventual political
I alignment in Israel was inevita-
ble, particularly because of Avital
Slrharansky's affiliation with
the religions right. .
"Specifically, I think it reduced
to whether or not he was going to
be solely concerned with Jewish
emigration or whether he was
going to remain as he had been in
the Soviet Union — a spokesman
for the broader dissident groups,
of which Jewish emigration was
for him the most important."
"It was sort of natural in the
potboiler political atmosphere in
Israel, the extreme split between
the left and the right, that the left
would begin to ask whether he is
going to adopt the same policy,"
But, Toth said, "I have every con-
fidence that he will make up his
own mind."

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