Less than a week after his sudden, secret transport from a prison cell to U.S. soil, Soviet dissident Alexander Ginzburg has come to what many Americans might consider startling conclusions: He is not happy here, does not feel free and, given a choice, he would return to prison-preferably in exchange for fellow dissident Anatoly Scharansky.
"I do not consider myself a liberated man," Ginzburg explained in a wide-ranging interview between television appearances at the American Broadcasting Co. earlier this week. "I have not been freed. I have been banished from my homeland. This is considered punishment in my country, and it is very painful for me-worse, perhaps, than prison."
He would prefer to serve the remaining seven years of the eight-year prison sentence and stay in the Soviet Union, Ginzburg said, than endure the anguish of lifetime exile. And he would be delighted, he added, to be part of a swap for Scharansky, who was sentenced last summer to a 13-year term for espionage.
[In 1976, before his last arrest on political charges, Ginzburg rebuffed suggestions from friends in Moscow that he might avoid further trouble with the Soviet authorities by emigrating-a course of action many other dissidents have followed. Ginzburg said emphatically then that he did not want to emigrate, and preferred to face whatever punishment the authorities might impose. He noted that voluntary emigrants had to claim they were Jewish, and Ginzburg-a praticing Russian Orthodox Christian-rejected that idea.]
Although still in a state of emotional shock after being hustled from prison and flown here last week with four fellow dissidents in a cloak-and-dagger exchange for two convicted Russian spies, the 42-year-old Soviet dissident activist indicated through an interpreter, that he had weighed his government's motives and found them wanting.
The dissidents' release was "an attempt to deceive President Carter and the American people," said Ginzburg, expressing surprise at what he considered the naivete of those who viewed the Soviet move as a good-will gesture or the signal of a more liberal attitude toward human rights.
"This is one of the riddles about America," he said with a disapproving shake of the head. "How can you think of it as a gesture of good will? This had nothing to do with human rights. The Soviet government got back two spies it wanted, and it got rid of a bunch of people it didn't want."
That hard-nosed approach also was reflected in Ginzburg's assessment of his and fellow dissidents' efforts in the Soviet Union. He had no illusions, he said, about the political impact of such efforts.
"We won't make much of a difference in political policy," he remarked, "And as of now we have not affected the internal situation very much, either. But I am hopeful that this will improve."
Since arriving in New York on Friday, Ginsburg's life has been a confusing whirl of public appearances, meetings with the media and brief but emotional encounters with selected friends and supporters. Nevertheless, the pallid, gaunt exile has endured the ordeal with patience and good humor.
"It has been craziness." he remarked, "But the kind of craziness I welcome, the nice kind of craziness I wish I had experienced in Moscow. What I got there, instead, was the frightening kind of craziness."
He gained some respite Tuesday by journeying to the 51-acre Vermont retreat of author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a fellow Soviet exile who invited Ginzburg and his family for an indefinite stay. However, before leaving, Ginzburg, who has not ben able to contact his wife and two children in Moscow leaving his homeland, said he had not formulated any plans.
Clad in faded blue jeans and an open-collared blue shirt given to him by friends, Ginsburg said he intends to continue work with the Russian Social Fund, which he established in 1974, with royalties donated by Solzhenistyn, to assist Soviet political prisoners and their families.
He added, however, that he considers such work "public service" and does not expect to be paid for it. "I do not know where I will settle or how I will earn a living," he said with a despairing shrug. "But I can use my hands, and I hope to earn some money that way." CAPTION: Picture, Alexander Ginzburg