In 1971 terrorists occupied the supreme body of state power in Moscow. But this was kept in secrecy until now. 8/26/2015 •

In 1971 terrorists occupied the supreme body of state power in Moscow. But this was kept in secrecy until now.

On February 24, 1971, at 11 in the morning the Home Secretary of the USSR Nikolay Schelokov receives a message of high importance: terrorists have occupied the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR! The situation is more than extraordinary – terrorists are in the center of Moscow, just near the Kremlin walls!

Actually, it would be incorrect to call these people terrorists - they were a group of 24 Soviet citizens, mostly of Jewish origin, unarmed and non-aggressive. These people embarked on a hunger strike and demanded that they should be allowed to emigrate to Israel.

It is necessary to mention, that emigration from the USSR to Israel at the end of the 60s – the beginning of the 70s was nearly impossible. People awaited permission to leave the country for years and only some of them got the positive answer. The reason was rather practical – all these citizens were highly skilled doctors, engineers, designers, draftsmen etc. Besides, many of those who asked for such permission had access to security information, therefore, USSR officials just couldn't let them go.

Efraim Sevela, a well-known Soviet writer and film director, was among the participants of the February demarche though he was a wealthy and prosperous man. He had almost everything a Soviet citizen could dream of, except for the freedom of speech and creativity…

All of the 24 people who came to the Presidium of the Supreme Council that day were pretty sure that this act wouldn't be a success. On the contrary, they expected severe sanctions: arrest and imprisonment.

To their astonishment, after 7 hours spent in a stuffy receiving room of the Presidium, all the participants were given permission to leave the USSR for good, but they had to do it in several days' term.

This unprecedented event marked the beginning of the emigration wave from the Soviet Union.

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