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Avoided 'Displeasing KGB' : Bonner Makes Second Call to Sakharov but It Is Jammed

December 29, 1985|From Reuters

NEWTON, Mass. — Yelena Bonner on Saturday made a second telephone call to her husband in the Soviet Union, dissident physicist Andrei D. Sakharov, but again their conversation was interrupted by jamming.

Tatyana Yankelevich, Bonner's daughter by an earlier marriage, said the phone connection was poor and that although Bonner "avoided any subject that would displease the KGB," the jamming occurred just the same.

"She tried to ask about his research at this moment," Yankelevich told reporters. "For some reason, the operator turned on the jamming."

She said the jamming also occurred when Bonner tried to tell her husband about her treatment here for a heart ailment.

Second Case of Jamming

The same thing happened when Bonner telephoned her husband two weeks ago--the first such call since Bonner arrived in the United States early this month for medical treatment.

During that call, jamming occurred when Bonner tried to tell Sakharov that Soviet authorities had filmed the couple surreptitiously.

In Saturday's 15-minute call, Sakharov told Bonner he had hurt his back Friday in a fall on an icy sidewalk but that overall "he said he's more or less all right," Yankelevich said.

Asked how Sakharov sounded, she replied, "He sounded more or less lost, because he couldn't hear very well."

Sakharov said he was recently visited by a group of Soviet physicists who found him in bed with the flu, Yankelevich said.

Such visits, by Sakharov's colleagues from the Institute of Physics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, have become routine since Sakharov was sentenced to internal exile in the city of Gorky on Jan. 22, 1980.

Yankelevich's husband, Efrem, said the fact that Bonner had telephoned her husband twice during her U.S. visit is important because it establishes a pattern of the couple being able to talk on the phone.

He said Bonner, who is staying with her family in this Boston suburb, will try to place another call Jan. 11.

By apparent coincidence, when Saturday's call ended the family found in their mail box three envelopes containing postcards writted by Sakharov to the family and American scientist friends.

Two days earlier, the family had expressed concern they had received only one card from Sakharov even though he had promised to write twice weekly.

Bonner, who has also been sentenced to internal exile in Gorky, was allowed to travel to the West for medical treatment after promising Soviet authorities that she would not speak to Western media while away from the Soviet Union.

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