Sakharov's 'Happy Ending'

On December 19, 1986, the Soviet Foreign Ministry announced that Soviet physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov was being released from his five-year internal exile in Gorky. The Ministry said that the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner would be allowed to resume his work at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and that his wife, the physician Elena Bonner, had been pardoned for her "anti-Soviet slander."

January 12, 1987

On December 19, 1986, the Soviet Foreign Ministry announced that Soviet physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov was being released from his five-year internal exile in Gorky. The Ministry said that the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner would be allowed to resume his work at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and that his wife, the physician Elena Bonner, had been pardoned for her "anti-Soviet slander."

During a visit to the United States last year to undergo multiple bypass surgery, Bonner wrote Alone Together (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986), an account of the past three years of her life in exile with her husband (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, p. 14). In concluding the book, she seemed al most to anticipate her forthcoming release just five days before Christmas:

"Since time immemorial the genre of the Christmas tale has existed in Russia.... Yes, I have most of the ingredients for a Christmas tale. Now all I need is the happy ending, but I can't make one up.

...But where do I get a happy ending? Maybe it's in the fact that Andryusha and I remain together. And in the fact that there, beyond the border which separates us from the world and from all of you, dear family and friends, we are still free to be ourselves.

"Thanks to God, you are free, in Russia, in Boldino, in quarantine'—David Samoiov.

"Yes, that must be it, the happy ending."

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