Natan Shar-ansky, who spent nine years in Soviet labor camps and prisons, says President Reagan in his recent visit to Moscow made the same mistake that many Westerners do.
Reagan, during his summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gor-bachev, accepted simple explanations for complex problems, Sharansky said this week."They (the West) prefer to analyze the Soviet Union in terms of black and white," Sharansky said. "Probably, Reagan fell into the same trap."
For example, by saying some of the problems in the Soviet Union are the result of government bureaucracy, Sharansky said, Reagan wrongly "accepts that the Soviet system is like the Western system."
Though acknowledging that some reforms, such as increased press freedom, are taking place, Shar-anksy said he doubted that real prog-ress would be made in human rights because the concept runs counter to the Soviet system.
"The reforms are interesting, exciting . . . but they are not changing the principles of the system," Shar-ansky said.
The Soviet way of life says that individuals cannot decide for themselves what to say, where to go or what to believe in, Sharansky said. He called glasnost, Gorbachev's program to create a more open society, "only a new set of instructions."
Sharansky, who is on a tour to promote his new autobiography, "Fear No Evil," commented during a news conference prior to his lecture at an Atlanta synagogue.
Sharansky was arrested in 1977 and charged with espionage and treason for his efforts on behalf of Soviet Jews seeking emigration to Israel. He was freed and joined his wife in Israel in 1986.
He said an indication of how little progress has been made in human rights is that many of the prisoners he wrote about in his book are still locked up under the same conditions as before the Gorbachev era.