Congress Makes Phone Calls to Soviet Jewish Refuseniks
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Congress Makes Phone Calls to Soviet Jewish Refuseniks

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Members of Congress dialed Soviet refuseniks from Capitol Hill Tuesday, in a gesture of support on the eve of the Moscow summit.

Yuli Kosharovsky, Irina Royak and Judith Lurie were treated to phone calls from Reps. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.), John Porter (R-Ill.), and Sens. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), Phil Gramm (R-Texas), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Paul Simon (D-Ill.).

Simon was noticeably upset when Abe Stolar, a U.S.-born refusenik, was not at home to receive a call. But Simon said President Reagan will be meeting with Stolar and other refuseniks Monday, the second day of the summit.

However, three refuseniks from Leningrad apparently are not being allowed to attend that meeting.

Mark Levin, Washington representative for the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, said that refusenik Igor Uspensky told him Tuesday that Roald Zelichonok, Evgeny Lein and Yosif Latinsky, who planned to attend the Reagan meeting, were told not to go to Moscow by Soviet officials, including the KGB.

Another refusenik, Elena Keiss-Kuna, was “pulled off the train” from Leningrad to Moscow by Soviet officials, Levin quoted Uspensky as saying. Keiss-Kuna was planning to participate in a hunger strike sponsored by a refusenik women’s group during the summit.

Kosharovsky, who recently was on a hunger strike of his own, recalled that he had met Gilman in January.

When Gilman told Kosharovsky that Secretary of State George Shultz assured him that the administration will raise human rights cases at the Moscow summit, the refusenik said, “Without real trust in the human rights field, there may not be developed a trust in other fields.”

“There is no question about it,” Gilman concurred. “Whenever we have met with any of the Soviet leaders, we have indicated that in order to improve the environment . . . one of the first things they have to do is resolve all of the human rights problems that exist between both of our nations.”

Gilman told Kosharovsky how he met with Soviet Embassy officials last week and argued that by issuing exit visas, U.S.-Soviet relations are improved.

“Exactly, exactly,” Kosharovsky said.

Kosharovsky told Gilman that he knows of 1,200 people who have been denied visas. “Among them about 1,000 because of the secrecy” argument, he said. The Soviet government has refused to issue visas in many instances on the grounds that the refusenik is in possession of “state secrets”

“In this 1,000 people,” Kosharovsky said, “more than 80 percent of them” have been denied visas because of “access to the so-called classified information more than 10 years ago.” Kosharovsky noted that in his case, “it’s 20 years.”

After Gilman asked for the list of 1,200 refuseniks, Kosharovsky said, “If you don’t mind, I hope tomorrow to file the list with the American Embassy just for you.”

Kosharovsky said refuseniks have a “very warm attitude toward the United States ” because of their pressure in pushing for their release.

The hour’s worth of phone calls, sponsored by B’nai B’rith International, cost about $9 a minute, as estimated by one of the group’s staffers.

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