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Sandra Gubin, Champion of Spouses in the Soviet Union, Divorced

March 11, 1988

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) _ An American woman who championed the cause of Soviet citizens seeking to emigrate to the United States to join their spouses has been divorced from her Russian husband.

District Judge Kenneth Bronson agreed with Sandra Gubin’s contention that her husband, Aleksei Lodisev, married her solely to enter the United States.

″The defendant’s entire testimony is shot through with evasiveness and contradictions,″ said Bronson, who heard the case as a visiting judge in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

The only reason Lodisev married Gubin, Bronson said, was to leave the Soviet Union. ″That’s the only conclusion I can reach,″ he said. ″He planned his moves. He thought it out. The plan was of long duration.″

Gubin and Lodisev were married in the Soviet Union in 1981, while Gubin was studying in Kiev. She returned to the United States and spent several years trying to get an exit visa for Lodisev.

She became nationally known as a spokeswoman for the Divided Spouse Coalition, Americans whose spouses have been denied exit visas.

In January 1986, Lodisev arrived in New York. Eleven months later, Gubin filed for divorce, saying that he married her only to come to the United States.

Gubin was awarded $113,087 for lost wages, expenses for writing to political figures and medical expenses. ″There is scant likelihood of collection on the judgment,″ because of debts pending against Lodisev, Bronson said in his ruling Tuesday.

Lodisev, he said, had run up about $22,000 in bills before leaving last summer for a visit to the Soviet Union, which showed ″a pattern not just of stiffing the plaintiff, but of stiffing everyone else in this country,″ Bronson said.

Lodisev’s lawyer, Craig McKinnon, said he was unsure whether his client wanted to appeal. Lodisev, who works for a computer company, had no comment after the ruling.

Gubin, 40, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Michigan, said she felt vindicated, but sorry for Lodisev.

″I care for him,″ she said. ″I know he doesn’t believe it, but I do.″

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