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Stolar Family Still Waiting for Soviets to Keep Promise on Emigration

September 27, 1986|WILLIAM J. EATON | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — Before the Geneva summit meeting last November, Soviet authorities promised U.S. officials that Abe Stolar's family and nine other persons would be granted long-awaited permission to emigrate.

Since then, the nine others have left, but Stolar and his family are still in Moscow because of a dispute over some members of the family.

The American-born Stolar, who for 11 years has been struggling to leave the Soviet Union, says his plight shows a lack of good faith on the part of the Soviet authorities.

"I don't know why they are giving me the runaround," he said the other day.

In fact, Soviet officials have granted permission for Stolar, 74, his wife, Gita, and their son, Michael, to leave the country. But they refuse to go without Michael's wife, Julia, and their baby daughter, Sarah.

Soviet authorities have refused to issue exit visas for Julia on grounds that she and Michael did not register their marriage with the civil authorities.

According to Michael, he was not allowed to marry under Soviet law because he lost his citizenship when the Stolar family almost succeeded in emigrating in 1975. As a result, they were married by a visiting American rabbi.

In addition, Soviet officials have demanded that Julia's estranged mother furnish a document declaring that she has no financial claims against her 27-year-old daughter. Julia's mother once produced such a document, but it was rejected because it was not notarized.

She has refused to provide another. Julia says her mother is acting out of spite.

In 1975, Stolar, his wife and Michael received exit visas. They went to the airport and had their bags checked aboard a plane bound for Vienna. But at the last moment, at the passport control section, they were prevented from leaving on grounds that there was a problem with one of their visas.

By that time, according to Soviet law, they had renounced their Soviet citizenship and were considered to be stateless.

As a result, they all became non-persons in Soviet society, for they lacked the documents that are needed, among other things, to hold a job. They were able to retain their apartment, but they are not listed in the Soviet address locater system.

Stolar, who was born in Chicago and came to the Soviet Union with his father at the age of 19, applied for and received an American passport for himself and his son. His wife obtained an Israeli passport. They then began their effort to leave with their daughter-in-law and grandchild, but without success, despite appeals by U.S. officials.

"Our situation is pretty sad, and bad," Stolar said. "We live on charity, since we are not allowed to work. I consider myself a hostage all the time."

Stolar says a summit meeting this year between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev might help the family get out of the country at last.

"Who knows?" he said. "Maybe they will give Reagan a present. It's anybody's guess. They can do anything they want. There are no rules or laws here."

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