The Soviet rejection of the trade bill came as no surprise to most Jewish activists in the .ISSR. The situation had deteriorated greatly in the last few months, with harassment intensified and an ever-growing list of exit visa applications rejected.
But they are nevertheless maintaining an optimistic front. Speaking at a meeting of Moscow Jews in his flat this week, Professor Alexander Lerner said that he did not think the Kremlin would exact revenge from Soviet Jews over the breakdown of the trade agreement with the US. “The emigration process will continue”, he forecast.
Another leading Alexander Lunts, said that it was not the final breakdown of detente. “The question is still open.”
The trial of Mikhail Shtern symbolised the current situation, as did the death sentence on Mikhail Leviev.
Leviev is now awaiting his fate in the death cell at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison following the rejection by the Russian Supreme Court of his appeal. Now he has made a final appeal to the Soviet Supreme Court for clemency.
Jewish Observer 24 January 1975