Sakharov uses Olympic spotlight to condemn Soviets' Afghan invasion
The world publicity spotlight on the Moscow Olympics has caused the leading dissident here, 1975 Nobel Peace prize winner Dr. Andrei Sakharov, to try to use the platform of the games for a political protest over Afghanistan.
Dr. Sakharov has used the device of an open letter to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, and the letter has been delivered to Westerners in Moscow by Mrs. Sakharov, Yelena Bonner.
Sakharov himself is confined to the city of Gorky east of here, where he has been living in internal exile, cut off from Western contacts, since January.
The open letter is Dr. Sakharov's most detailed attack on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to date. The scientist calls the sending of Soviet troops into Afghanistan a "terrible mistake" that has caused thousands of Soviet casualties and is endangering world peace.
although he had denounced the invasion before (and, in fact, thinks he was exiled because of his original attacks), he has gone further and spelled out his ideas on a settlement.
There shoujld, he suggests, be a cease-fire and Soviet withdrawal, with United Nations forces taking the place of Soviet troops. The UN Security Council, plus Afghanistan's neighbors, should guarantee the country's independence. The Soviet Union and other UN members should grant asylum to any refugees leaving Afghanistan. International economic aid should flow into the country, and Moscow should contribute to it.
The pro-Moscow government of Babrak Karmal should step down, replaced by a neutral transitional government made up of rebel and Karmal representatives. Elections should then be held under international supervision.
Dr. Sakharov also calls for an amnesty for political prisoners within the USSR (such as himself). He says he still does not know who ordered his internal exile, which was carried out without a trial or other legal steps.
And he appeals for his son's fiancee, Lisa Alexeyevna, to be allowed to join his son, who has emigrated to the United States.
Although some elements of the open letter have been stated before, the timing of the new appeal and its detail are designed to attract maximum attention around the world -- at a time when many other dissidents have, like Dr. Sakharov , been forced to emigrate or have been arrested and tried to remove them from Moscow.
The KGB wants as little contact as possible between the thousands of foreign tourists here for the games and dissidents of any kind. [Reuters quotes the letter as saying: "It seems to me . . . that these (Soviet) actions are a terrible mistake that it is necessary to correct as soon as possible, even more so because to do so becomes more difficult with every day that passes."
[Soviet intervention in Afghanistan has put East-West detente under pressure, held up ratification of the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty, and led to increased military spending in the world, Dr. Sakharov stated.]