A Russian artist who fled political persecution in his homeland says his mother and brother now are being subjected to "mean provoking games" by the Soviet military and the secret police.
Vladimir Zolotsev, 35, says he doesn't have the financial means to bring his relatives to Utah."I have lived in the USA for almost two years, lost my job here and, unluckily, I cannot help my mother and my brother to protect them from the Soviet Union as sponsor," Zolotsev said. "I cannot also protect them from the Soviet powers and the military arbitrariness."
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service requires relatives in the United States to sign an affidavit promising a certain amount of financial assistance to newly arrived immigrants.
Meryl Rogers, agent in charge of the Utah INS office, said most Soviets who apply to immigrate are being granted refugee status.
Zolotsev, his wife and 13-year-old son were brought to Utah last summer by the Tolstoy Foundation, a refugee resettlement agency, after applying for political refuge.
He was employed for about four months by a company that manufactures stained glass windows but was fired in January. His wife found work as a chemist, but Zolotsev has been unable to find another job.
He says persecution of his family began about 10 years ago, after his brother emigrated to what was then East Germany and the remaining family members became politically active.
Zolotsev said his problems stemmed from his religious beliefs in a state that encouraged aetheism, and his family wrote letters protesting the treatment of physicist Andrei Sakharov, winner of the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize.
His rejection of his Soviet citizenship and refusal to serve in the army, on the basis of valid medical reasons, also brought retribution, Zolotsev said.
He blames continued harassment for his father's third and final heart attack. When it happened, medical authorities who responded to Mrs. Zolotsev's call for help ordered her to remain at home, Zolotsev said.
The hospital later called to say he was dead. When relatives went to identify the body, they discovered his stomach had been cut open. Hospital officials said the wounds were part of the treatment, but Zolotsev believes his father was murdered.
Now, Zolotsev fears that the government will draft his brother this summer despite his health problems, leaving their mother alone.