Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Disabled Fare Poorly in USSR

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Disabled Fare Poorly in USSR

Article excerpt

Patrick Segal first became concerned about the treatment of the disabled in the Soviet Union during preparations for the 1980 Olympic Games.

"The Olympic Games for the Disabled were to be held in Russia," Mr. Segal says, "and the Russian authorities told all the international sports federations for the disabled that they could not handle (such) games in Russia because they had no handicapped people (there)."

Segal raised some questions, as did other groups for the disabled. But it wasn't until Yury Kiselyov - a well-known Russian artist who is disabled - sent Segal a booklet on conditions for the disabled in the USSR that Segal turned the issue into a personal mission.

Mr. Kiselyov had started the Initiative Group for the Defense of the Rights of Invalids in the USSR in the late '70s to collect and disseminate information on the conditions there, and to petition for government aid. Members were arrested; some were sent to labor camps.

In 1986, Segal took a cameraman to the Soviet Union, videotaped 12 hours of interviews with Kiselyov about treatment of the disabled, and smuggled the material out. …

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