ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (May. 21)
Soviet Jewry activist Natan Sharansky believes there is “no doubt that this year all refuseniks can leave the Soviet Union.”
Sharansky, himself a former refusenik who spent almost 10 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, puts his faith in the persuasive powers of the United States, particularly now that U.S.-Soviet relations have been so improved.
Addressing the Rotterdam Jewish Community, where he attended Friday evening services May 18, Sharansky said he expected the 200 to 300 Soviet Jewish families still refused exit visas “will be permitted to go within six or 12 months.”
He observed that “in the past, when the Americans and the Soviets rarely met, there was always a list with the names of refuseniks, which the Americans handed to the Soviet delegation.
“Now, they meet almost every week. And still, every meeting the Americans bring up the problem of the refuseniks,” Sharansky said.