Paper Says It Has Tapes That Show Sakharov Is Seriously Ill

Associated Press

A West German newspaper said Thursday it has obtained two videotapes showing that Soviet dissident Andrei D. Sakharov is alive but seriously ill.

The mass-circulation Bild newspaper said a Soviet doctor is shown on the videotapes saying that Sakharov suffers from severe “cardiac rhythm disturbances,” and the beginning of Parkinson’s disease.

Bild said the two videotapes were provided by sources in Moscow but offered no further details.

Bonner Also Shown


Sakharov, who won the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize for his activities in defense of human rights, was exiled to the city of Gorky in 1980 to cut his ties with the West. There have been several recent reports that he is in ill health.

Bild said the date on a calendar indicates that some of the videotaped scenes were shot June 14, less than two weeks ago.

The newspaper said it had shown the two films to Efraim Yankelevich, the son-in-law of Sakharov’s wife, Yelena Bonner. She is also shown in some of the scenes.

“For the family, for us, this was the first opportunity to see the doctor (Sakharov) after about a year,” Yankelevich, who lives in the United States, was quoted as saying. “For the first time we saw Yelena Bonner. We are thankful to the Soviet government for the opportunity.”


Bild said the films show various medical examinations of the Soviet physicist and last 75 minutes. It said some of the scenes obviously were shot with a hidden camera.

“Sakharov is alive, but he’s seriously ill in a Gorky hospital,” the newspaper said in summarizing the contents of the films.

It said that in one of the tapes, Dr. Natalia Yevdokimova is shown saying: “Sakharov is suffering from severe cardiac rhythm disturbances, narrowing of the coronary vessels, arteriosclerosis and the start of Parkinson’s disease.”

The newspaper said the doctor called Sakharov’s condition “satisfactory at the moment.”


“Some people in the West say that he is starving. That’s an insult to our personal feelings and our professional capabilities,” Bild quoted the doctor as saying on the videotape.

Family members in the West have said Sakharov has been on a hunger strike.

The Bild report will appear in today’s editions of the newspaper. It was distributed in advance to news agencies.