The barriers kept her blocks away from the compound where Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and his wife are living and working during the summit conference. Avital, who is married to Anatoly Shcharansky, a Jewish activist who was sentenced to 13 years in labor camps for treason and anti-Soviet agitation in 1978, had been expected to hand the letter to Nancy Reagan when she arrived later for tea with [Raisa Gorbachev]. But Avital did not even wait for Mrs. Reagan's arrival.
There were several outbursts at news conferences that obviously irritated Soviet officials. Irina Grivnina, a Soviet dissident who had emigrated three weeks ago and came to the summit as a reporter for a Dutch magazine, disrupted one news conference by shouting, "How many people have you imprisoned for anti-Soviet activity?"
The presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan was a second issue that the Soviet officials found difficult to avoid in Geneva, though this did not cause as many emotional outbursts as the issue of human rights. Afghan guerrillas were cheered at meetings throughout town. When journalists persisted in asking questions about Afghanistan at Soviet news conferences, Soviet officials reacted defensively.