"There are great changes and shakeups taking place here, but all this reminds me of a repainting of an old building by new painters. Until the day comes when freedom of religion and the right to religious instruction in general education schools are laid down at the cornerstone of the reforms, all these changes will continue to be superficial in character and may soon evolve into such unrestrained terror and mass extermination which Russia had not seen even in its darkest hours. As for Gorbachev's reforms, however, I have this to say: Because the release of even one political prisoner is in itself an expression of goodwill, and if a hundred or 2 hundred and fifty are released, I believe a move such as this must be treated with understanding and support. True, it is not necessary to bend over backwards with praises, but we should express our gratitude simply because of good manners, if nothing else, for the sensible settlement of a legal problem. And, of course, I do not share your hopes for a Five-Year Plan of meetings [with relatives and friends], because so far the reforms have taken on a completely opposite character: there is, so to speak, a tactical maneuver with the ultimate objective of dominating society. As they say: 'Let's wait and see...'"
E.P. 22 February 1987, former political prisoner
(Reprinted from Samizdat Bulletin, June 1987)
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