Siberian Pentecostals to gain exit
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.Skip to next paragraph
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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.