Giving talks at 2 a.m. to free his Soviet family
Washington — For more than four years, Edward Lozansky has led a life of appeals, demonstrations, protest letters, and long distance phone calls to Moscow.
In his attempt to get his wife and 10-year-old daughter out of the Soviet Union, the one-time Soviet physicist has more than once come close to despair. His wife, Tatyana, daughter of three-star Soviet army general, has entered the third week of a hunger strike in Moscow together with six members of other divided families.
Lozansky now thinks that his only hope is to shoot for the top -- to try to arrange a meeting with President Reagan. In the course of fighting for his wife's freedom, the tall professor has become more of an American-style go-getter than most Americans. Those who know him would not be surprised to see him turn up in the White House or at President Reagan's West Coast ranch.
''It's up and down all the time,'' said Lozansky who teaches physics at the American University in Washington, D.C., ''sometimes you have more hope, sometimes less.
''But about a year ago, I felt that's it. It's hopeless. I felt so sorry for my wife. She's a young woman and very pretty, and her letters were so desperate. She said 'I want to have a family. I want to have someone close to me.' I understood that, and I thought, well, maybe you just forget it.''
But the Soviet decision to allow the daughter-in-law of the Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov to leave the Soviet Union to join her husband in the United States following Sakharov's hunger strike seemed to give the Lozanskys new hope.
On May 10, Tatyana Lozansky announced that she and other members of divided families in the Soviet Union would begin a hunger strike lasting until they were allowed to join their families in the West. On that same day, she and Edward Lozansky remarried in a proxy ceremony conducted by a rabbi of the Washington Hebrew Congregation. The ceremony was sponsored by Sen. Bob Dole (R) of Kansas and Rep. Jack F. Kemp (R) of New York.
''Lozansky launched an amazing blitzkrieg on Capitol Hill,'' says a staff aide to a senator. ''He used every possible means of getting attention. . . . I've never seen anything like it in all my years on the Hill.''
''I don't ignore any possible chance to speak out,'' says Dr. Lozansky.
Lozansky once got 4,000 persons at a biochemistry conference in Toronto to sign a petition to Soviet President Brezhnev urging that Mrs. Lozansky and her daughter be granted visas. Twenty-two US senators signed a similar petition. While in Paris, Lozansky talked several French athletes into helping. During the Moscow Olympics of 1980, the athletes approached Georges Marchais, the French Communist party chief, and got him to approach Brezhnev.
Leaders of the Young Republican National Federation, who supported Lozansky almost start from the brought in senators, congressman and, among others, the Young Democrats. They also arranged for spouses of the Moscow hunger strikers to meet soon with Vice-President George Bush.
But in Moscow, the secret police have intensified their watch over the hunger strikers. Tatyana Lozansky reported that her father, Gen. Ivan Yershov, chief of staff for Soviet civil defense, when informed that she would ''be free or die,'' told her: ''As far as I'm concerned, you're already dead.''
Elliot Abrams, US assistant secretary of state for human rights, says the hunger strikers may have made matters worse by launching a direct challenge to the Soviet authorities. Edward Lozansky disagrees.
''Bureaucrats always want to do things the quiet way,'' says Lozansky. ''But in some cases, publicity helps. It would improve the atmosphere for a summit meeting between Reagan and Brezhnev if the Soviets would free the hunger strikers.