The comments in your January 26 issue by Medvedev and Ziman about the motives behind the release of Andrei Sakharoy are necessarily speculative, but not exhaustive. Let me add by way of an alternative speculation, based on the fact that Sakharov has expressed criticisms of the feasibility of the Strategic Defense Initiative, that his view on SDI may have contributed to the decision by Gorbachev to release Sakharov at this time.

Gorbachev repeatedly has shown his eagerness to discourage our plans for SDI, and has already been drawn to the conference tables at Geneva and Reykjavik for that purpose. Given the many substantial reasons he already had to release Sakharov from Gorky, the fact that Sakharov would add his enormous prestige to the critics of SDI might have been an additional factor in tipping the scales in favor of release at this time.

Sakharov's views on SDI have not been...

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