Soviet Jewish Emigration Up Slightly During February

Soviet Jewish emigration figures for February totaled 730, a slight rise from the January total of 722, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported Tuesday.

The NCSJ and the Long Island Committee for Soviet Jewry also reported an apparent relaxation in the first-degree relative requirement for emigrating, according to accounts from refuseniks in Moscow, Leningrad and Riga.

It is not clear yet, however, if this is connected with an assurance Soviet officials gave to U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz last week that this law would be suspended.

At the same time, however, Soviet authorities have been targeting for the draft young men whose families have applied to leave the Soviet Union, the two groups and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry all reported. Families with sons over age 16 and a half are not being allowed to apply unless the sons get permission from the militia.

The Soviet Jewry groups also said there is an indication that people with emigration applications dated prior to Jan. 1, 1988, are being told to reapply even though their prior applications are still valid.

Lynn Singer, executive director of the Long Island group, reported that only two of more than 100 refuseniks who had attended a five-hour hearing on their emigration status Tuesday at the administration department of the Communist Party Central Committee in Moscow have been told they have permission to leave. The two who received permission were Vladimir Dashevsky and Lev Sheiba.

The information came from one of the hearing’s participants, Inna Ouspensky, who did not receive permission. Ouspensky said that a list of 25 persons with permission was read out, but that of that list, 23 either already had been informed of their permission or had left the Soviet Union.

Dashevsky is an Orthodox Jewish activist and Moscow teacher whose mother-in-law had refused to sign a waiver of financial obligation. Dashevsky’s daughter, Irina Dashevsky Karalvanov, who now lives in Jerusalem, testified before Congress during the time of the Washington summit meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in December.

Sheiba, a Leningrad acoustical engineer whose wife, Vera, has a brother in Israel, first applied to emigrate in April 1980. He initially was refused on the grounds of possessing state secrets, a status removed three years later.

The Long Island Committee also reported that Boris Nadgorny, 30, son of refusenik Eduard Nadgorny, a prominent physicist, departed from Moscow Tuesday, leaving cautious optimism that his father and mother, Nina, long-time refuseniks, may follow.

NEXT STORY