VIENNA (Nov. 6)
The Soviet Union intends to streamline and speed up the processing of applications for exit visas, according to Anatoly Movtchan, a member of the Soviet delegation attending the 35-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the follow-up conference on implementation of the 1975 Helsinki accords.
Movtchan, a specialist in international law, told the newspaper Arbeiterzeitung that his country will introduce a new emigration law early next year to eliminate bureaucratic impediments for persons seeking to leave the USSR. His announcement was later confirmed by emigrants who came here to fight for exit visas for relatives. They said they had received similar information from other Soviet delegates to the conference.
Movtchan said the new law would abolish unwarranted delays and sloppiness in handling visa applications. In the future, standard applications will have to be acted upon within a month, though complicated cases may require six months to be processed, he said.
Applications filed for permission to leave in order to seek medical treatment abroad will be answered within three days, the Soviet delegate said. But there will be no change in present policy which refuses exit visas to persons considered privy to military or technological secrets or those a waiting trial in the USSR.
Meanwhile, Soviet Jewry activists here noted a pronounced change in the attitude of the Soviet delegates. Whereas at former international conferences they were completely ignored, they are now being listened to by Soviet diplomats and sometimes even engaged in lengthy personal discussions, the activists said.