In Moscow, Chicago: Soviet system clings to its own; For dissidents there's small comfort in hoopla unless publicity helps win right to emigrate
Far from the bright olympic flags, from the smiling Misha bears, from the sleek tourist buses and well-stocked hotel lies the "other" Moscow -- the drab apartments of those who fight for individual freedoms the West takes for granted.
These dissenters, their numbers decimated by a nine-month crackdown by the KGB, are profoundly unimpressed by the hoopla surrounding the Olympic Games.
"There's no festive atmosphere on the streets," observed Irina Birailovsky in her quiet apartment the other day as her mother bustled in cheerfully to lay the table for tea.
"The streets are empty, except for all those police and soldiers, and for tourist buses. Tourists have no chance to mix with the people as they can in a normal summer here.
"And among Russians there's an air of tense expectation that something awful may happen any moment. Every day people who work in shops are given lectures before they start work: 'Don't pick up anything a tourist might drop, it could be a bomb. Don't accept any gifts. Don't take any chewing gum because it could be poisonous.'"
Mrs. Brailovsky, a bright, warm woman, has been trying to emigrate for eight years, with her husband Viktor. Two weeks ago came yet another KGB refusal in four words: "For the same reason."
Moscow State University, where she once worked, originally said she possessed state secrets. Now Viktor Brailovsky says the rector of the university has cleared her to emigrate, but still the KGB says no.
Mr. Brailovsky resolutely keeps up his scientific studies. He holds a seminar every Sunday for dissidents who, like himself, have been cut off from Western contacts as a penalty for seeking the freedom to leave. Each September to widen contacts with the West. Each year some scientists manage to get visas and come; others are refused.
In 1974 he was jailed for 15 days. On April 10 this year he was arrested on charges of anti-Soviet propaganda, held for six hours, then let go. He was ordered to stay in Moscow -- in sharp contrast to some 45 other dissidents who have been arrested, tried, imprisoned, forced to emigrate, or internally exiled since November of last year.
Amnesty International, the London-based human-rights organization, estimates about 450 human-rights, religious, and nationalist dissidents have been imprisoned, tried, or exiled since the Kremlin began to crack down in earnest in October 1976.
"Many dissidents also decided on their own accord to leave Moscow before the Olympic Games," Viktor said.
"The period before the games was so difficult for many of us that many just left. The KGB 'advised' some people to leave."
The KGB effort seemed clear: to try to prevent dissidents from using the games as a forum to gain international support.
"The tourists are being isolated from the people," Mrs. Brailovsky said. "They are whisked around in buses. Russians who live outside the city cannot come in. Meat and fruit and vegetables are drying up in the farmers' markets because the farmers aren't allowd in. The mood in the street is sombre, even tough. . . ."
Nor was there much Olympic spirit in the apartment of Tatyana Lozansky in another part of Moscow. Thin and pale, she is on a hunger strike for the entire Olympic period to dramatize her efforts to join her husband, physicist Eduard Lozansky, who is in the West. The KGB will not let her leave.
The apartment she shares with her eight-year-old dauther Tanya is large, since her father is Gen. Ivan Yershov, chief of staff for civil defense of the Soviet Union.
Four years ago, according to Dr. Lozansky, the general offered him a deal: He could leave for the West but his wife would have to stay in the Soviet Union for a year until he himself received his promotion to three-star general. Then she could leave.
But Tatyana and her daughter are still here, despite repeated pleas to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and support of US senators and congressmen. She says she cannot leave without written permission from her father -- and he won't give it.
Part of the deal was that Eduard Lonzansky should divorce Tatyana before he emigrated.He did so. That allows the general to argue that he does not have a daughter connected with the disgrace of an emigration. Allowing her to leave would bring down KGB wrath on his head.
He could lose his job and Black Sea dacha.
The general has told Tatyana: "A Soviet general's daughter will never be allowed to go over to our enemies." So Tatyana and her daughter sit. Their only interest in the Olympic Games is using them to gain publicity to help reunite their family.
"I have waited for four years," she said softly. "How much longer must I wait?"