A Letter From the Publisher: Mar. 16, 1987

Many Western observers attending an international peace forum in Moscow three weeks ago were startled when Kremlin Critic Andrei Sakharov showed up for Mikhail Gorbachev's closing address, listened intently and applauded. But few at that conference had a chance to learn the actual views of the physicist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. Sakharov seemed to avoid the press, confining his remarks to closed-door sessions with fellow scientists. Only tantalizing snippets of his opinions leaked out.

A week after the Moscow meeting, TIME's Washington bureau chief, Strobe Talbott, took a call from Sakharov's son-in-law Efrem Yankelevich, now a resident...

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