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Jews in the Soviet Union: 1941 to present

The Right to Emigrate, cont.


Group of Jews from Minsk...



Underground Jewish theater...



The composer Victor Suslin...



Anatoly Shchransky...



The Sakharovs...



Demonstration on behalf
of Anatoly Scharansky...


It is not long before the authorities crack down with the arrests and harassment of activists. By the end of 1970, 44 Jewish prisoners have been sent to labor camps for dissident activities. News about the trials and the activities of dissidents appear in the Western media. In many countries solidarity committees are formed. In the United States, the Jackson-Vanek Amendment of 1973 links trade relations directly to the question of Jewish emigration. As the issue of human rights is put on the international agenda, the Soviet government is faced with growing political pressure.

Applications for exit visas usually result in dismissal, followed by months of financial hardship that carries the extra risk of arrest on charges of "parasitism." Nevertheless, from 1971 onward, a growing number of Jews is allowed to leave: 113,800 between 1971 and 1975. These are the years of detente, marked by the signing, in August 1975, of the Helsinki Agreement. The text is published in full in both Pravda and Izvestia. In May 1976, the Moscow Helsinki Group is founded by Yuri Orlov. In the group, Jews and non-Jews cooperate in investigating and publicizing human rights violations.


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