Prisoners of Zion. 1985.

Ari Volvovsky
and his son Shai

Ari (Leonid) Volvovsky was born in 1942 in the city of Gorky, in a totally assimilated family. His only recollection of the Jewish tradition was purchasing of matzot on Pesah, and all his Jewish upbringing consisted of the words, that his mother, Eva Leonidovna, often repeated, that she would want very much that he married a Jewish girl, on what Leonid always answered that the most important thing is personality, not nationality. In 1964 he graduated from Gorky Polytechnic Institute with a degree in «Logic design of computer systems», and was sent to work in Gorky Institute of Physics and Technology. In 1965 he married Ludmila Rozenblum. In 1968 their daughter Kira was born. In 1968 he was accepted for the postgraduate study to the Institute of Automatics and Telemechanics of Academy of Sciences of the USSR, specializing in the field of «Logic design of computers». He finished the postgraduate study in 1970, and received his PhD degree in 1972. After the postgraduate study he worked first in the Optics and Mechanics Factory in a Krasnogorsk (near Moscow) and then in Moscow - in the Research Institute of Automatics and Telemechanics in Oil and Gas Industry. In 1974 he applied for the exit visa to Israel, and was immediately (literally, in half an hour) fired from his position in the Institute . Leonid applied to the court with the protest against the wrongful dismissal, but after numerous considerations the court has proved the dismissal right. However it has appeared, that he was the first and last employee at this Institute who have been fired because of the application for the exit visa. All others, who applied later, were not fired, and allowed to continue to work almost up to the day of their departure. In September, 1974 Ari was refused to go (motivation – his secret clearance). After several unsuccessful attempts to find the work in his field, he began to teach Hebrew and to give private lessons in mathematics, working officially as a plumber in a hotel. After he was fired from this "position" (also after civil trial proceeding), he found a "position" of handyman in a housing management. His Zionist activity has begun from this point on: Hebrew teaching, organization of the Jewish cultural life, participation in celebrating of religious holidays, organization of Shehitah in Gorky (he learned this from Izia Kogan), participation in seminars, in political actions. He was exposed to various prosecutions for his Zionist activity, including: 1976, September - arrest, quick trial and a sentence to 15 days in a jail "Berjozka" in vicinity of Moscow; 1976, November-December - six days of house arrest with a search lasting many hours and daily hours long interrogations in KGB; 1980, January - exile to Gorky ("cleaning" of Moscow before the Olympic Games); 1980, April-May - arrest and 30-days imprisonment in a jail in Kishinev on charge of infringement of the passport system and an illegal stay in Kishinev where he arrived to train local Hebrew teachers; 1985, June - 6-months of conclusion in the jail of the Central Prison of Gorky, than a trial and a sentence to 3 years of imprisonment in a general security camp – for "Dissemination of knowingly false fabrications that defame the Soviet state and social system". He served his time in the Lensk camp and released ahead of schedule in March, 1987 (in Purim). In September, 1987 his daughter Kira received the exit visa, and on December, 30th, 1987 Ari and his wife also have received the exit visa. They arrived to Israel in March, 1988 and settled in Efrat - the city which actively participated in the struggle for their release. In 1989 his son, Alexander Shai was born.

The information was provided by Ari (Leonid) Volvovsky.

Roald Zelichonok

He was born in Leningrad in 1936 to a family of engineers. His family did not observe Jewish traditions and was not Zionistically inclined, but his parents in their time obtained Jewish upbringing, and this was manifested in the family pattern and (subsequently) in the explicit pro-Israeli sympathies. In 1978 he applied to the Leningrad "OVIR" (Department of visas and registration of foreigners) with the request for the exit visa to leave for Israel, but was refused. In 1976 he entered Mikhail Nosovsky's ulpan to study Hebrew and also participated in “associated activities”. After this he taught Hebrew himself (in his own ulpan at home) and participated in various forms of the fight of refuseniks for free emigration to Israel, for the human rights and for the saving of Jewish culture in the USSR. He published articles in Jewish samizdat ("Leningrad Jewish Almanac"). Also participated in the seminars and the cultural åvents, meetings with political figures and intellectuals and tourists from Israel and different Western countries. In June 1985 he was arrested according to the article 190-1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “creation, distribution or storage of the materials, which contain the knowingly false fabrications, discrediting Soviet state and social system”. Several of his private letters, illegally perlustrated by the KGB, figured as such materials. The trial took place in August 1985; he was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment in medium security camps of the Gulag. Served his time in tens of prisons and camps in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan. Was released in February 1987, but his request for the exit visa was refused again. Only in January 1989 he and his wife Galina received permission to go. Now he lives in Haifa, Israel.

The information was provided by Roald Zelichenok

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