Victor Louis, a conduit for Soviet intelligence information and propaganda who writes as a journalist for German and British papers, reported today that Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov has left a hospital in the provincial city of Gorki and has joined his wife in their apartment there.
Louis' report could not be confirmed here, but there have been other recent signs that Sakharov, who is living in Gorki where he was exiled nearly four years ago, has at least resumed work on scientific problems. Last May he began a hunger strike in an apparently fruitless effort to persuade Soviet authorities to permit his wife, Yelena Bonner, to go abroad for medical treatment.
The mass-circulation West German daily Bild tonight released Louis' report, which is to appear in Wednesday's edition of the paper. Bild quoted Louis as saying that Sakharov had left the hospital where he had been forcibly detained and was "as well as could be expected under the circumstances."
"He has resumed his private life," Louis said, according to Bild, and "is healthy again." Louis did not mention the hunger strike.
The next edition of the Soviet journal Theoretical and Experimental Physics will include an article by Sakharov, according to officials at the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Other informed sources said Sakharov personally signed off on page proofs of another article for the journal about three weeks ago while still in the hospital.
Still other sources said both articles concerned the origins of the universe, a subject that Sakharov has been working on in recent years. In Gorki, however, he has been denied access to normal working facilities.
Several times since Sakharov was exiled, Soviet publications have printed his articles on theoretical physics. Apparently, the authorities feel these publications demonstrate that he is being allowed to continue his scientific work while in exile. But Sakharov has sent word to the West that the secret police in Gorki have regularly harassed him and have seized his private archives.
Informed sources said persons sympathetic to Sakharov who have been trying unsuccessfully to get more detailed information about the physicist's situation now believe that he is alive and has been able to do some work on these articles.
The authorities have succeeded in isolating Sakharov and his wife from their friends in Moscow and from western correspondents here. However, his friends are reported to be deeply concerned about the health and general condition of both the 63-year-old physicist and his wife, who suffers from heart and eye ailments.
The U.S. State Department announced three weeks ago that it had received information that Bonner had been tried and sentenced to five years of exile, presumably in Gorki. There has been no official confirmation of this report.
The purpose of such a trial, diplomats here speculated, would be to provide a legal basis to prevent Bonner from traveling to Moscow, which she had done regularly until last May.
Also three weeks ago, Louis provided film to Bild, which sold it to western television, showing Sakharov in Gorki and containing identifiable pictures of dated issues of news magazines suggesting that the film was made in July or August.
Sources here said that while Sakharov was held in a Gorki hospital, an entire floor of the clinic was cleared of other patients to isolate him. According to these sources, Sakharov had been force-fed through tubes inserted in his nostrils. The tubes caused blisters inside his nose which doctors had feared might lead to serious complications, the sources said.