William J. Eaton's story (Oct. 12) on the Soviet response to the awarding of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) seems simplistic after the perspective I gained visiting the Soviet Union in July. I was one of 22 medical students from five countries that met with Soviet medical students in Moscow, Kiev and Tashkent to discuss the medical profession's potential for working toward arms reduction.
Eaton describes Yevgeny I. Chazov, the Soviet co-founder of IPPNW, as "a leading advocate of the Kremlin's views on nuclear war," and intimates that his role and that of the Soviet physicians' peace movement is to add another outlet for propagandistic statements on arms control by the government. What must be realized, however, is that these people are working within their system in order to make a difference.
Activism as we know it here is unheard of in the U.S.S.R., and is very difficult for the vast majority of Soviets to understand. Dissidents may speak their views and bring Western attention to human rights violations, and their courage and the information they bring to light is highly valued in the West. International pressure may then be brought against the Soviet government to push for change. However, none of this information gets to the Soviet people. The dissidents may be jailed or exiled, and the press silent or defaming them as traitors.