Soviet Jewish Scientist and His Wife Stage Hunger Strike

Vladamir Livshits of Leningrad, a scientist of applied mathematics and economics, and his wife, Anna, an engineer, have begun a strike “to let the world know of the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union,” it was reported here by the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ). Vladamir, 42, began his hunger strike last Friday, and Anna, 38, began her hunger strike yesterday.

The couple first applied for exit visas to immigrate to Israel and join their family there in 1981. Both have appealed to Soviet authorities, including President Yuri Andropov, for visas to emigrate, but have been continually rebuffed. Soviet officials are now asking the couple to end their hunger strike, the UCSJ said. But Vladamir Livshits said that he will continue his hunger strike “until death,” if necessary.

Lynn Singer, president of the UCSJ, said, “While we are deeply concerned with the repercussions associated with the Livshits’ decision, we understand their frustrations.” She added that Vladamir and Anna” are not anti-Soviet. They only wish to live in freedom, and immigrate to Israel and join their family. We hope that their visa applications will be looked upon favorably.” According to UCSJ, Soviet authorities have told the couple they will decide on their visas by the end of this week.

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