Soviet Youth Reunited With Family After Seven Year Separation.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) _ A teen-ager who stayed behind in the Soviet Union with his father when the rest of his family emigrated to this country has been reunited with his mother and brother after seven years of separation.
Michael Stukalin, 17, arrived Monday at Boston on a flight from Austria, carrying the ashes of his father who died last July. The youth had to attend his father’s funeral alone.
Stukalin was greeted by his brother Felix, 24, now an engineer, and his sister-in-law Anna. Michael had not seen Felix in seven years. Their mother, Margarita, had met him Friday in Vienna where he arrived by train from Kiev.
″I am pleased to share my great joy with you today,″ said Margarita.
Asked if he could express his feelings now that he’s in the United States, Michael shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
″My family lives here and that’s the most important thing,″ he told The Middlesex News of Framingham through an interpreter.
″It’s an unbelievable feeling,″ said Felix. ″We are very very grateful. A number of people helped us.″
Michael was one of 10 for whom permission came through on the eve of the summit talks in Switzerland in November.
″We hope additional efforts for the several hundred families still yearning to be united and the 20,000 refuseniks who have requested exit visas will be equally successful,″ said Sheila Decter of the American Jewish Congress in Boston.
Michael had been separated from his mother and brother since 1979 when they won permission to emigrate. His father Isaac, an engineer, was rebuffed every time he asked for permission to leave the Soviet Union.
Felix was also a teen-ager when he and his mother decided to leave. They feared that he would be drafted into the Soviet military at age 18, and that might bar him from emigrating for up to 20 years.
Over the years, the family had exchanged weekly letters and talked by telephone every other week.
Isaac Stukalin died of cancer last July. Now that Michael has brought his ashes out of the Soviet Union, the family plans a memorial service.