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Soviets Home From United States Say They Made Mistake

October 28, 1986

MOSCOW (AP) _ Two Soviets who emigrated to the United States and then asked permission to come home have returned, and one of them said leaving had been a ″tragic mistake,″ a Communist Party newspaper reported today.

Sovietskaya Rossiya, a publication of the party and the government of the Russian Republic, said the two former emigrants, Israel Glickman and Yefim Belikin, were met by members of their family Monday at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

Both participated in a news conference at the Soviet Embassy in Washington before returning home, along with two other Soviets who were given permission to come back to this country, Yuri Chapovsky and Rashid Atamalibekov. At the time, Belikin used the first name Alexander.

″I made a tragic mistake and for that, I was harshly punished. I spent 10 years in the United States. They were 10 years of prison,″ Belikin was quoted as saying.

Sovietskaya Rossiya said his father, Yuri, who lost both legs in the Kursk Battle of 1943, met Belikin at the airport and they fell into each other’s arms weeping.

Glickman, who left the Soviet Union 12 years ago, was met by his wife, Sofia, and a nephew.

Explaining why her husband left, Mrs. Glickman was quoted as saying, ″the fool. He received an invitation from his cousin to come to Israel but when he went abroad, he found out that this man had already left that country.

″My husband found himself in Vienna and then went to the United States,″ she said. ″Then he started to ask to come back to the Soviet Union.″

Sovietskaya Rossiya said Glickman and Belikin ″were lucky.″

″They were able to return,″ the paper said. ″But many, many former citizens appear on the doorsteps of Soviet missions abroad, begging to let them back. One can’t forever be correcting the mistakes of grown people, who made this pernicious decision themselves.″

The idea that Soviet emigres are miserable in their new countries is a central theme of Soviet press commentary on the emigration issue.