On 4 January at the end of his search A. I. Tikhonov (CCE 44.2) tried to serve a summons on Yu. Orlov to appear for interrogation the following day as a witness in case No. 46012/18-76.
On 5 January, when Orlov was going to the group’s press conference, he was arrested and taken for interrogation.
Tikhonov conducted the interrogation. Orlov immediately wrote in the record that he refused to take part in the investigation. Tikhonov repeated that Orlov was being interrogated as a witness and bore responsibility for refusing to give evidence or for evading it. Orlov wrote in the record that he was in reality the accused, and, as such, had the right to refuse to give evidence; moreover, he could not take part in a case that was against the law and anti-humanitarian.
Tikhonov began to pose questions: who had brought these or those documents, when, and with what purpose? In reply Orlov stated in writing that the very formulation of the question contradicted the Helsinki agreement. Then an oral debate started.
Orlov said that Tikhonov and his colleagues were applying amoral methods, and that the character of methods was in general more important than proclaimed goals. Tikhonov asked: “You consider that methods can become an end in themselves?”
During the conversation Tikhonov said that judicial investigation had proved the abnormality of Plyushch, Fainberg and Grigorenko and that Grigorenko was really mad. Orlov asked whether he should pass this on to the foreign correspondents. “No, no,” said Tikhonov.
At the end of the interrogation a new summons was written out. Orlov refused to take it and wrote that he refused to take part in the case and would not voluntarily appear for interrogation.
He returned home accompanied by two cars without number plates. For three days after this Orlov did not leave his flat. Cars with agents in them surrounded the house.
Orlov described the interrogation at the next press conference of the Group.
Lyudmila Alexeyeva was summoned to interrogations several times. The questions concerned, in the main, the activities of the group and confiscated material. Alexeyeva refused to take part in the interrogations.
Up to 14 January the members of the Helsinki group were persistently followed by agents. Then demonstrative shadowing was lifted. Only Anatoly Shcharansky was openly followed the whole time.
The persecution of members of the group provoked numerous protests both abroad and within the country (see section “Letters and Statements”, CCE 44.28).
On 6 January, a statement of the Fascell Commission (the commission of the US Congress on questions of security and cooperation in Europe) was publicized. The statement drew attention to the persecution of people in the USSR who were engaged in circulating information.
The January events in Moscow made a big impression in the West. On 12 February, the paper Pravda quoted the following statistics: “… in the final week of January alone numerous ‘radio-voices’ of the West, broadcasting to the socialist countries, put on the air 120 pieces of material in ‘defence of human rights’, making use of them 320 times”.
At the same time Soviet papers began to discuss widely the violation of human rights in the West.