NEW YORK (Dec. 14)
Soviet refusenik and cancer patient Rimma Bravve received written permission Friday to leave the Soviet Union with her husband, Vladimir, according to her sister, Larisa Shapiro of Rochester, NY. The Bravves were told to pick up their visas Monday at the OVIR emigration offices. The Moscow couple have been refuseniks since 1979. Rimma suffers from ovarian cancer.
Shapiro told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Soviets are not only finally giving the Bravves the visas they promised them almost four weeks ago at the Vienna meeting of the Helsinki Accords follow-up talks, but are now “eager to get them out as soon as possible.” Shapiro said the Soviets are waiving half the paperwork usually required to leave the country.
Shapiro is tentatively hoping that her sister and brother-in-law will fly to Vienna Wednesday, where they will remain one or two days to take care of paperwork with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the United States State Department.
From Vienna, they will fly to New York and then to Rochester. Shapiro said a press conference is planned at Kennedy Airport in New York by Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R. NY) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D. NJ) when the Bravves arrive.
Shapiro told the JTA that the Jewish Family Service of Rochester already rented an apartment for the Bravves. Their mother, Khana Anbinder, also lives in Rochester.
RIMMA TO UNDERGO MEDICAL EVALUATION
In Rochester, Rimma will undergo medical evaluation at the University of Rochester Medical Center, An oncologist there, Dr. Jackson Beecham, has offered his services to treat Rimma, according to Shapiro. Her cancer has been described as “in the last stage” and her hope depends on advanced treatment available in the U.S., but not in the USSR.
Shapiro described her sister, whom she has not seen for 10 years, as “feeling much better” and “very excited” since the news was given to her and her husband. “This is a source of strength for her,” Shapiro said.
Rimma received the initial news in a telephone call from OVIR Thursday morning. At that time, her husband was told to report to OVIR Friday for an appointment with the head of OVIR. There, he received written permission for them to leave.