86. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Allen) to President Reagan 1

SUBJECT

  • Status Report on Anatolii Shcharanskii

Avital Shcharanskii, whom you met last May 28, had not heard from her imprisoned husband for four and half months. Her mother-in-law had no news either, her letters being returned. There was serious fear that Anatolii Shcharanskii was no longer alive. (C)

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Fortunately, a few days ago Anatolii’s mother received a long letter from her son, dated August 30, from which it transpires that he was hospitalized a few days before as a result of recurrent blackouts, high-blood pressure, and some heart problems. His wife tells us that he had never had such problems before and they are probably the result of his having spent nine months in solitary confinement (three months longer than Soviet law provides as the maximum incarceration in solitary). (C)

In light of the present state of your correspondence with Brezhnev (your handwritten letter on Shcharanskii was not sent), do you wish to raise the matter now?2 (C)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country File, USSR (9/16/81–9/21/81). Confidential. Sent for information. Copied to Meese, Baker, and Deaver. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it on September 22. Reagan wrote in the bottom right-hand corner: “We should talk about this after the Haig-Gromyko meeting. RR.”
  2. See footnote 1, Document 46.