The Jewish community is very concerned over the resignation of Shevardnadze. His actions reflect the deepening political crisis confronting the Soviet Union, which coincides with economic chaos and rising nationalism. His speech demonstrates how serious the situation is at this time.
The Foreign Ministry has been seen as the primary agency within the Soviet government which has pushed for freer emigration and increased rights for the Soviet Jewish community. Shevardnadze and his associates have been the principal interlocutors with whom the Reagan and Bush administrations have dealt on issues related to Soviet Jewry. At the very least, the severity of the criticism of Soviet foreign policy, Shevardnadze's move and the rapidly deteriorating situation within the Soviet Union suggest that there could be some ominous clouds on the horizon for the progress made on religious freedom and the emigration of Soviet Jews.
ROBERT J. METH, Chair, Commission on Soviet Jewry, Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles