Sakharov Had Stroke, Was Told He’d Be Invalid--Kin

Associated Press

Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov suffered what might have been a stroke during a hunger strike last year and was told by doctors that he would become an invalid, his wife has told relatives in a letter.

The letter was written in November by Sakharov’s wife, Yelena Bonner, but did not reach her son and daughter until last week, said her son, Alexey Semyonov of suburban Newton. Semyonov, and his sister, Tatyana Yankelevitch, provided a copy of the letter to the Boston Globe, which published excerpts today.

Sakharov and his wife have been under house arrest since 1980 in the city of Gorky, which is closed to foreigners.

Bonner wrote that her husband was hospitalized during the hunger strike in May, 1984.


“ ‘We will not kill you, but we will turn you into an invalid for the rest of your life,’ ” she said doctors told Sakharov, who was fed intravenously by force.

“During his first intravenous force feeding he suffered an arterial spasm or a stroke and lost consciousness,” she wrote.

She said he then had trouble walking and writing. “They began to frighten Andrei by telling him he had Parkinson’s disease and that he soon would become a complete invalid,” she wrote.

Sakharov was hospitalized for four months and then returned to Gorky, she wrote.