MOSCOW — The official news agency Tass charged the publishers of an unofficial Soviet newsletter Friday with breaking the law by using state printing equipment.
Tass made the charges after two publishers of the newsletter Glasnost (openness), Dmitri Eisner and Andrei Shilkov, were detained by authorities and later released on Thursday.
Tass said that according to employees of a state printing house library, the publishers and former imprisoned dissident Sergei I. Grigoryants, an editor, had illegally produced materials on the premises for a long time.
"There is no doubt that this is a veiled threat, but it is less than before," Grigoryants told reporters, referring to an attack last August in Moscow's evening newspaper which accused his journal of anti-Sovietism.
He said he had never met the state printing house staff to whom the Tass article referred, and noted that the news agency had not mentioned a specific criminal article under which he and his fellow editors might be charged.
The magazine's title is the same word used to describe Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev's campaign to allow greater criticism of Soviet shortcomings in the media.
Shilkov said he was warned he could face prosecution for being in Moscow without a residence permit.
Eisner said 70 copies of the latest edition of Glasnost, which included material on nationalities questions in the Soviet Union, were confiscated. Only one master copy remains in the editors' hands, Grigoryants said.
Tass described Grigoryants as notorious. It said of him and his colleagues: "Violating existing laws, they used the printing equipment belonging to the state library and were plundering state property."
It said Grigoryants, who was freed under a Kremlin pardon earlier this year, and his fellow editors regarded themselves as upholders of openness but were in fact "gross violators of order and discipline."