A smiling Gennady F. Zakharov was ordered out of the country today after his plea of no contest to spy charges ended a monthlong cloak-and-dagger drama that chilled relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. He departed shortly after 1:30 p.m. PST on an Aeroflot jetliner.
The 39-year-old Soviet national, a U.N. employee, could have been sentenced to life in prison. But U.S. District Judge Joseph M. McLaughlin in New York placed him on five years probation and ordered him to leave the United States within 24 hours and not return for five years.
The resolution of the case came the day American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, whose arrest on spy charges in Moscow was said by American officials to have been sparked by Zakharov’s arrest, flew home.
Within minutes of Zakharov’s release, Secretary of State George P. Shultz announced in Washington that the release would trigger the emigration of Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov and his wife. And President Reagan announced that he and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev will meet in Iceland on Oct. 11 and 12.
Shultz also said the United States was relaxing its expulsion of Soviet diplomats as part of a “broad range of events” that included the release of Daniloff.
Discussing complexities of the deal that ended a monthlong standoff between Washington and Moscow and cleared the way for a hastily arranged summit, Shultz insisted the United States did not give in on fundamental demands.
But neither Shultz nor Reagan used the word “unconditional” to describe the release of Daniloff, who was arrested Aug. 30, held for a month on espionage charges and freed Monday in Moscow.
And Reagan, when asked about his boast one day earlier that the Soviets had “blinked” in the intense negotiations that ended the stalemate, replied: “I shouldn’t have said that. No comment.”
Reagan denied any connection between Daniloff’s release and today’s other developments. But Shultz announced disposition of the Zakharov case and later said settlement of the Daniloff affair was one of “this broad range of events” during the last few weeks.
The Administration had insisted that Zakharov stand trial. But Reagan contended that there was precedent for sending a spy home, “rather than give them board and room” in prison.
Zakharov told reporters who followed his car to a stoplight that he felt “great” and was looking forward to seeing his family in the Soviet Union but that he liked the American people and hoped to return one day.
Then, as Zakharov headed down the New Jersey Turnpike bound for Washington and an Aeroflot flight home, his entourage made a stop at Exit 11--and Zakharov gave a five-minute impromptu news conference, in which he reiterated his claim that he had been “set up” by U.S. authorities.
Orlov to Be Freed
Another element of the deal for Daniloff was an announcement by Shultz that Orlov, a Soviet physicist and human rights activist who was sentenced to prison in 1978 and exiled to Siberia in 1984, would be allowed to emigrate to the United States with his wife by Oct. 7.
Shultz also hinted that other dissidents or refuseniks might be freed at a later date as a result of his 10 days of negotiations with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze.
Finally, Shultz said he had assurances from Soviet officials that the Soviet U.N. mission had complied with a U.S. order to cut its staff by 25, even though some of the 25 specific employees named in a recent expulsion order--all alleged to have ties to Soviet intelligence--remain in New York.
Shultz said the Administration consented to an additional two-week “grace period” and then would weigh its possible response if the order was not carried out in full.