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Shcharansky Tells How He Defied KGB

February 12, 1986|From Reuters

TEL AVIV — Soviet dissident Anatoly Shcharansky, spending his first day as an Israeli citizen, told today of how he defied the Soviet secret police right up to the final moments when he became a free man.

"You know very well that there's nothing I would agree to do with the KGB," Shcharansky said in an interview with Israeli radio. "So if they said to walk in a straight line, I would walk of course in a zigzag."

He said he refused on principle to meet the demand of KGB agents that he walk in a straight line as he got off the plane in East Berlin before his release Tuesday in an East-West prisoner swap at West Berlin's Glienicke Bridge.

'A Funny Thing'

"It's a funny thing, of course, but I had a point in that--not to agree with the KGB on anything," Shcharansky said.

He told the radio that he knew nothing of his planned release while in prison but said he got special medical care beginning in December and put on 22 pounds.

In only a few frantic hours Tuesday, Shcharansky emerged to freedom, was reunited with his wife, Avital, for the first time in 11 years, spoke to President Reagan by telephone and coped with thousands of jubilant supporters. (Story on Page 10.)

He even got a new Hebrew name, Nathan.

Spent Day Quietly

Although the couple appeared briefly on the terrace of their home today to wave to photographers, Shcharansky spent most of his first day as an Israeli citizen quietly taking it easy after his dramatic journey from Soviet imprisonment to a tumultuous welcome in the West.

"Nathan and Avital need rest after a tiring day," family spokesman Avi Maoz told reporters today.

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