Soviet general-turned-dissident keeps up fight for human rights
Maj. Gen. Pyotr Grigorenko, the only dissident to have emerged from the ranks of Soviet general officers, continues to fight abroad for the release of political prisoners in the Soviet Union.
His latest effort, in concert with Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Ginzburg, and other exiles from the Soviet Union, is to set up an international association of all national committees monitoring the 35-nation Helsinki accord of 1975. The group is to launch the new association with a press conference in Madrid Nov. 23 or 24.
In an interview here jsut prior to the Nov. 11 opening of the second Helsinki review conference, General Grigorenko issued an eloquent plea for world support for Soviet prisoners of conscience and answered questions about his own development as a dissident. He urged the West to challenge the Soviet Union at the Madrid conference on all violations of human rights and to press for a resolution calling for the freeing of all imprisoned members of Helsinki watchdog committee as well as a general amnesty for all prisoners of conscience.
If the Soviet Union rejects such a resolution, Grigorenko says the West should declare the Helsinki act null and void and seek a new conference to write a treaty ending World War II and defining the postwar East-West boundary. The 1975 Helsinki accord, besides seeking to promote East-West cooperation, was largely a trade-off between the Soviet desire for Western recognition of the Soviet bloc's postwar borders and the West's desire to liberalize human contact and the flow of information across those borders.
At present some 28 members of the Ukrainian Helsinki monitoring committee are in prison or labor camps in the Soviet Union, Grigorenko says; some seven others have been exiled abroad. Figures of the Society for Human Rights in Frankfurt, West Germany, show that 40 members of various Soviet Helsinki committees have been imprisoned, with 32 of them sentenced to a total of 153 years in labor camp and 75 years of internal exile.