Siberian Pentecostals to gain exit
Moscow — A clan of Siberian Pentecostal Christians who took refuge in the US Embassy here to press demands for exit visas is being allowed to emigrate, Monitor correspondent Ned Temko reports.
A brief announcement Sunday by the Soviet news agency Tass said Pyotr Vashchenko, his wife, and their 13 remaining children would be allowed to join Lydia, a daughter who left for Israel in April.
The Vashchenko parents and three of their children, including Lydia, rushed past Soviet guards in 1978 and began nearly five years' refuge in a basement apartment there. With them - forming the so-called ''Siberian Seven'' - were two members of another Siberian family, Maria Chmykhalova and her son, Timofei. No mention was made in the Tass report of Mrs. Chmykhalova and her son.
Lydia, weakened from a hunger strike and encouraged by hints from the authorities that she might be allowed to emigrate, left the US Embassy earlier this year, returned to Siberia, and formally reapplied for a visa. She ultimately got it. A week later the other embassy refugees returned to Siberia to ask for permission to leave.