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What Should We Make of Gorbachev?
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Goldfarb, Alex
Date: Jan 11, 1987
Start Page: c.07
Section: OP/ED

The Soviet e'migre' community in the West, until recently adamant in its anti-Soviet posture, is now challenged by the new policies of Mikhail Gorbachev, particularly the return of Andrei Sakharov from exile to Moscow amid indications that independent critical voices will now be permitted.

During the Reykjavik summit and later at the European Security Conference in Vienna, Soviet diplomats for the first time engaged in discussion with former dissidents. Soviet propaganda bulldogs now agree to appear together with former Soviet citizens on American TV talk shows. Major e'migre' cultural figures, such as theater director Yuri Lyubimov were approached about their returning home.

There are at least two reasons why Gorbachev would like to be endorsed by the people who until recently have been either nonpersons or enemy agents. These reasons are the same that led him to release Sakharov: Gorbachev wants to improve the image of the Soviet Union abroad and to reassure intellectuals at home that he deserves their support in his confrontation with the mid-level bureaucracy.

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