Shouting Match : Soviet Walks Out on News Conference

United Press International

A senior Soviet spokesman walked out of a crowded news conference today when he was interrupted by a dissident who has repeatedly questioned the Soviets about alleged human rights abuses.

The Soviet spokesman, Vladimir Lomeiko, head of the Soviet Foreign Ministry press department, blamed Swiss authorities for allowing the woman to disrupt him.

“I warned the Swiss organizers that all this was planned and would occur,” he said.

The dissident, Irina Grivnina, who was allowed to leave the Soviet Union last month, earlier interrupted the airport welcoming ceremony for Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. She also had a shouting match with other Soviet officials Sunday. (Story, Page 5.)


At the start of the Lomeiko news conference, plainclothes police spotted Grivnina and asked her to leave. Grivnina rose and shouted, “Why? Why?”

Lomeiko said it was unfortunate that “there are people who utilize this meeting for personal publicity when we are meeting at such a serious time for all mankind.”

When Grivnina again refused to leave the room, Lomeiko snapped: “This lady is in a state of euphoria. To listen to her is useless. Do you wish to listen to her or to me?”

Some reporters yelled at the cameramen around Grivnina to sit down and allow Lomeiko to speak, but the meeting disintegrated into pandemonium as Lomeiko, all but shouting, said, “You can’t listen to two speakers at the same time.”

He picked up his briefing papers and stalked out, saying, “Thank you for your attention.”