MOSCOW, OCT. 27 -- Representatives of the Soviet Union's growing unofficial press have joined forces to press for legal recognition and access to print shops and copying machines.
Editors from 17 different publications, ranging from monthly literary magazines to weekly bulletins reporting on protests and political prisoners, met last weekend in Leningrad and issued a communique calling for the coordinated effort.
The two-day meeting at the literary Club 81 also was attended by correspondents of the official Soviet press, including the major newspapers Izvestia and Literaturnaya Gazeta, although no reports of the meeting have appeared in the media.
The gathering marked a new stage in the development of the independent press, which has gathered strength in recent months under the new standard of glasnost, or openness. Unofficial publications have surfaced in a half dozen Soviet cities, from Odessa to Novosibirsk, as well as Moscow and Leningrad.
One of the goals outlined in Leningrad was to allow the unofficial journals to form cooperatives, or some other type of enterprise, that would be recognized by state authorities.
Although widely divergent in their philosophical views, the editors were agreed on the difficulties faced by the samizdat -- self-publishing -- press. Denied access to copiers, mimeograph machines and computer printers, which are tightly controlled by the state, these editors use carbon copies of typed manuscripts, limiting circulation to less than 100.
Since all printing presses are government-owned, unofficial groups have no legal access to printshops. Editors of the Moscow journal Glasnost were accused in the official press recently of illegally using government presses.
Particpants included representatives of SMOT, a recently revived publication of an independent trade union, the editor of the newly formed Moscow Bulletin of the Christian Community, and the Leningrad editor of a new Jewish almanac called Lea. After 12 hours of discussion, the group agreed to found a "journal of journals" that would publish fragments from the different publications.