NEW YORK (Jun. 24)
Rimma Bravve died Monday at her home in Rochester, NY, from ovarian cancer that had spread to other parts of her body. The former Moscow refusenik, 32, was surrounded by her family including her mother, Khanna Anbinder, husband Vladimir, and sister Larisa Shapiro.
Bravve made news last November when the Soviet Ambassador to the Helsinki Accords follow up talks in Vienna announced to a large international delegation that Bravve had been granted a visa to emigrate when, in fact, she had not. Shapiro, a Soviet emigre living in the U.S. since 1976, travelled to Vienna with her mother and others working on behalf of refusenik cancer patients to publicize Bravve’s plight. She issued strong appeals for her sister’s emigration via the Jewish media and through the assistance of Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R. NY), who pushed her case in Vienna and through Soviet and U.S. State Department contacts in Washington.
Bravve finally received a visa, along with her husband, last December 12, and arrived here December 19. Bravve was the second of a group of five known as the International Cancer Patients Solidarity Committee, founded by a Montreal oncologist Dr. Gerald Batist. Batist had visited Bravve in Moscow the previous spring and, after seeing other refuseniks suffering from cancer, mounted a campaign to highlight their plight. Bravve and other cancer patient refuseniks held a press conference in Moscow in June to talk about their situation. Since then, press conferences were held throughout the U.S. and Canada engaging government figures in efforts to obtain their emigration.
Bravve’s story was especially touching because she had received a visa in December 1979, with her husband, and had booked a flight out of Moscow for January 17, 1980. However, a week earlier the Bravves were asked to surrender their visas for “clarification” and did not get them back. Bravve’s cancer was diagnosed in 1984. Burial was scheduled for Wednesday in Rochester.