Soviet sub is home - in hot water

Capt. Anatoly M. Gushin is home. But that doesn't mean he's safe. The Soviet commander of the Whiskey-class submarine that went aground off the coast of Sweden will probably be held responsible for touching off an international scandal that could have been much worse.

As it was, the 10-day stay of the submarine in Sweden while the Stockholm government decided what to do with it caused the Soviets acute embarrassment.

The incident hurts the Soviets most in Scandinavia, where their proposal for a nuclear-free zone had already been ridiculed by many because, in any case, the only nuclear arms in the area are Soviet.

But it also has an adverse effect on the propaganda campaign currently under way for the trust of the West Germans and any other West Europeans willing to join the campaign against NATO deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe.

Soviet citizens heard nothing about the Soviet submarine until eight days after it went aground Oct. 27.

All that the official press offered was a two-paragraph item from the news agency Tass that was read out on nationwide television Nov.4.

The submarine, on an ''ordinary training course. . . in poor visibility strayed off the course owing to the malfunction of navigation instruments and because of the errors which originated in connection with that in determining location, and ran aground near the southeastern extremity of Sweden,'' Tass said.

The Tass reference to ''errors'' boded ill for Gushin, the military commander on board the submarine, who was subjected to hours of grilling by Swedish military and government officials.

It never reported that Swedish authorities had detected that nuclear-grade uranium, type 238, was lining the sub's torpedo tubes.

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