Progress Reported in Cases of Longtime Soviet Refuseniks

Longtime refuseniks whose names have graced the pages of Jewish newspapers and been the subject of State Department talks with Soviet officials are seeing major changes in their lives as glasnost and perestroika continue to alter the face of Soviet Jewry.

Irina Voronkevich, a 78-year-old retired biologist refused permission to emigrate since March 1981 because of her access two decades earlier to “state secrets,” has received a travel visa allowing her to visit her family in Israel, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reports.

Though not the coveted emigration visa, Voronkevich’s travel pass has been a long-sought goal, too, allowing her to be reunited with her son, Igor Uspensky; daughter-in-law, Inna Ioffe Uspensky; and grandchildren.

Voronkevich, who is not Jewish, will be accompanied on her travels with her grandson Ilya Uspensky. Another grandson, Slava Uspensky, an Orthodox Jew, arrived in Israel last fall.

Boris Kelman, a refusenik for 12 years, left Leningrad in early August and has settled in Palo Alto, Calif., some 25 miles south of San Francisco, where he will be working on a special project for the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews.

Another arrival is Oxana Kotlyar, wife of longtime refusenik Mark Kotlyar, with whom she was reunited Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Vladimir Tsivkin, a longtime refusenik from Leningrad, arrived in Stamford, Conn., last week, and was reunited with his wife and daughter.

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