Georgy Vladimov, the dissident Soviet novelist who asked permission to emigrate to the West, has been asked by authorities to file a formal application for his travel documents.
Vladimov said today that he was contacted by an official of the Soviet passport office Saturday and told that he should submit his documents.
The same day, Vladimov said, he received through the Soviet mail a formal invitation from the chancellor of West Germany's Cologne University offering him the position of a lecturer in Russian literature.
The apparent decision to allow the novelist and his wife to travel to West Germany seemed related to Moscow's efforts to influence the outcome of the March 6 West German elections.
The Russians clearly favor the opposition Social Democrats against the incumbent government of Christian Democratic Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Several leftist intellectuals in West Germany recently have voiced concern about the fate of Vladimov, who had been subjected to police harassment.
In a defiant letter to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, Vladimov recently complained about police actions against him and his wife and asked permission to leave for West Germany or France.
The writer was interrogated for two days by the KGB in January. He was threatened with criminal proceedings if he did not submit by Jan. 20 a letter renouncing his "anti-Soviet " activities and pledging not to publish abroad without formal Soviet approval.
Appealing directly to Andropov, Vladimov said he would not write such a letter: "I assure you that neither investigations, nor trial, nor consignment to prison camp or exile will alter my convictions and will not be worse than the dishonor I should incur by the recantation you demand."
Vladimov, once a rising star of the Soviet literary establishment, left the Soviet Writers Union in 1977 in a protest against censorship.