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The World

June 18, 1989

The Soviet leadership is facing a potentially catastrophic loss of confidence, Soviet human rights activist Andrei D. Sakharov told journalists in Groningen, the Netherlands, where he received an honorary doctorate. He said 72 years of Communist rule has cost tens of millions of lives, left the economic and social structure in tatters and created enormous problems, especially in the Soviet republics. "We are now back where we started. The leadership should take decisive steps to restore confidence," Sakharov said, calling on the West to support Kremlin reforms rather than criticize them.

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