Nine Soviets, each married to an American but denied permission to join their spouse, gathered here today for a commemorative protest against Soviet emigration policies.
The demonstration in a Moscow park was held to mark anniversaries of events that the group had hoped, in vain, would resolve their cases.
Six months ago, when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met President Reagan, Soviet authorities gave permission for 10 Soviets to join their American husbands or wives, in some cases after 10 years of waiting.
The granting of those visas was seen as a gesture tied to the summit and not signaling a trend. Since January, all nine of the spouses who demonstrated at the Lenin Hills today have applied for visas and been refused, without official reasons.
"All of us have for many years appealed to Soviet authorities with only one request: to let us live together with our families in the country of our choice," the group wrote in a prepared statement.
The group includes Galina Goltzman-Michelson, separated from her husband for 30 years; Tamara Tretyakova and Yuri Balovlenkov, who last year staged hunger strikes to attract attention to their case; and Matvey Finkel, whose wife Susan Graham has been living in Moscow, but is now planning to return to the United States to have a baby.
"It was a symbolic day, marking a lot of dates that have a lot of meaning for all of us, but will pass unnoticed for most people," Graham said today.
The day marked the third month since the 27th Soviet Communist Party conference at which Gorbachev spoke of the need "to decide in a humane and positive spirit the question of family reunification and marriages."
The morning ceremony also came as a Bern conference on human contacts draws to a close. The divided-spouses issue was raised there, but no response came from the Soviet participants, according to the group here.
The divided spouses have been at the top of the lists of human rights cases regularly raised by visiting U.S. officials in their meetings with Soviets. Today, the group met an official at the residence of the U.S. ambassador.
An article in the government newspaper Izvestia last Thursday accused the State Department of arranging the marriages in question as part of an anti-Soviet campaign.