9 December 1986* (2407-Ch) Sakharov and Bonner

Secretariat. Measures relating to Andrei SAKHAROV; annulment of decree for Sakharov’s exile and pardon for his wife Elena BONNER. 

A report signed by Yegor Ligachov (Politburo), Victor Chebrikov (KGB chairman) and Gury Marchuk, chairman of USSR Academy of Sciences [Russian: 9 Dec 86, 2407-Ch], 8 pp.


[pages one to four]


9 December 1986

To the CPSU Central Committee

Concerning suggestions about A.D. Sakharov


The decision that it was necessary to halt Sakharov’s hostile activities was prompted by the subversive work he had conducted against the Soviet State over an extended period. He incited aggressive circles in capitalist States to intervene in the internal affairs of socialist countries, to engage in military confrontation with the Soviet Union; he inspired protests against the Soviet State’s policy of a relaxation in international tension and peaceful coexistence. At the same time, Sakharov took measures to bring together anti-Soviet elements within the country, inciting them to engage in extremist actions. He tried to establish contacts with anti-socialist groups in the Czechoslovak SSR, expressed solidarity with the Czechoslovak “Chartists” [Charter 77] and representatives of the Polish so-called “Committee for Public Self-Defence”, calling on them to unite as an organisation in order to carry out anti-socialist activities.

[Bukovsky commented in his book: “Thanks to the measures taken to influence Sakharov by the wise KGB, the dissident physicist had quietened down in Gorky and (most important of all) in the absence of his wife had come to his senses: once again he began to take an interest in science, he ‘criticised the US Star Wars (SDI) programme, made positive comments about the peace initiatives of the Soviet leadership and gave an objective assessment of the events at the Chernobyl nuclear power station’.”]


[page three]

As before, Bonner insistently opposes the said changes in Sakharov’s behaviour and way of life. In essence, she is encouraging her husband not to engage in scientific activities but directs him towards the preparation of provocative documents and forces him to keep a diary with the prospect of its publication abroad. Despite this, however, it would seem expedient to maintain efforts to draw Sakharov into scientific work which would be useful in itself and could help to restrain him from active participation in anti-social activities.

It seems possible for these purposes to resolve at present the issue of Sakharov’s return to Moscow, since his further stay in Gorky could again prompt him to revive his anti-Soviet activities, if we also bear in mind the negative influence on him of his wife and the continuing interest in the West in the so-called “Sakharov problem”.

We would like to believe Sakharov’s declaration that he was ready, on his return to Moscow, to give up his public activities.

There could be certain negative aspects to Sakharov’s return to Moscow if we consider the anti-Soviet views of Bonner, her clear striving to provoke Sakharov into conflict with us, and her unconcealed wish to work with circles in the West opposed to our policies. Their apartment might again become a location for all kinds of press conferences involving foreign journalists, a place for anti-social elements to meet,


[page four]

draw up declarations and demands of a negative character. Sakharov himself will hardly refrain from taking part in cases concerning the so-called “defence of human rights “. Despite all that has been said, however, the return of Sakharov will have fewer political costs now than his continued isolation in Gorky. Furthermore, it is intended that the Committee for State Security will take measures to neutralise this possible negative behaviour.

Ligachev [Politburo]   Chebrikov [KGB]   Marchuk [Academy of Sciences]


[pages five to eight give draft texts of decrees, reversing
the exile of Sakharov and pardoning Bonner]




  1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
  3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been inserted in a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, JC