Mstilslav Rostropovich, the cellist, and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya, the opera singer, who have been deprived of their Soviet citizenship, have sent an open letter to President Brezhnev, asking for a full public trial anywhere in the Soviet Union.
GV EXT Grand Hotel, Paris
CU PULL BACK Rostropovich and wife seated facing newsmen
CU Mr. Rostropovich speaking in English
CU Mrs. Rostropovich speaking in Russian - translated into FRENCH
SV Mr. Rostropovich speaking to newsmen in French and receiving applause
ROSTROPOVICH: "No. That was absolutely not expected for us. That's why that biggest shock in our life. We have not idea why that's made this decision for us. That is why until now we not normally."
REPORTER: "What are you going to do now?" Are you going to apply for citizenship somewhere else?"
ROSTROPOVICH: "We must live in some place. But we have not now not already an idea in which place or in which country."
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Background: Mstilslav Rostropovich, the cellist, and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya, the opera singer, who have been deprived of their Soviet citizenship, have sent an open letter to President Brezhnev, asking for a full public trial anywhere in the Soviet Union. The couple were told on Wednesday (15 March) that they had been stripped of their Soviet citizenship for "activities harmful to the prestige" of their country.
SYNOPSIS: At a news conference in Paris on Friday (17 March), the cellist read out the letter, which said they considered their only "fault" was to give shelter to the writer Alexander Solzhyenitsyn. As a result, they had been victimised and had been forced to apply for an extended travel visa. Mr. Rostropovich said the Soviet decision had been completely unexpected.
Galina Vishnevskaya said that so far the Soviet authorities had not informed them officially of the decision. The couple had learned of the action from a television news programme. They have been living and performing abroad since 1974. They told newsmen that they had been convinced they would one day return to Russia "when things are a bit normal there".
They said that their call for a court trial anywhere in the Soviet Union had only one condition -- that it must be public. Their letter continued: "The tears we shed at home were not enough for lyou. You have found a way to harm us, even here."