A statistic in an article yesterday about Soviet Jewish emigration was misleading. Experts say that 25,000 to 40,000 Soviet Jews have applied to leave in recent years. Up to 400,000 have taken the first of many steps in receiving Soviet permission to emigrate by seeking invitations from relatives in Israel to move there. (Published 12/5/87)

The Soviet Union has agreed to release at least six more refuseniks and their families, including well-known activists Alexander Ioffe and Judith Ratner-Bialy, in what some described yesterday as a presummit gesture by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) and officials of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, who announced in a news conference that exit visas had been granted to the Soviet Jews, said the action falls far short of their goal of a liberalized emigration policy for an estimated 400,000 Soviet Jews seeking release.

Wilson, who has taken a keen interest in the plight of Soviet refuseniks, criticized Gorbachev for asserting in an interview with NBC broadcast this week that the United States was engineering a "brain drain" in demanding visas for hundreds of Soviet scientists and mathematicians.

"He looked absolutely idiotic" in making that claim, Wilson said. " . . . Maybe he was trying to say that those with brains want to leave the Soviet Union."

David Waksberg, vice president of the union of councils, welcomed the release of the refuseniks but added that it was "another in a series of presummit gestures that, while welcome, do not represent any fundamental or even significant shift in Soviet policy.

"The decision to allow emigration is still a political decision by the Soviet hierachy based on expediency, but not based on the merits of individual applications," he said.

A total of 14 persons were granted exit visas in this latest move, according to State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman.

Those include Ioffe, 49, a well-known mathemetician and Hebrew teacher, and his wife, Rosa, a physicist; Ratner-Bialy, a metallurgist; her husband, Leonid Bialy, an engineer, and three members of their family.

Ioffe, who was among the most prominent of the remaining refuseniks, had sought an exit visa for the past 12 years but previously was denied one on the grounds that he had been privy to state secrets.

"He had been very active in the {refusenik} movement," said an official of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews.

Ratner-Bialy and her family have been waiting to get out of the Soviet Union for 10 years, but have been consistently refused because the government says she and her husband possess state secrets.

But family members in the West say the allegation is ridiculous, because both parents were fired from their prestigious jobs in the early 1970s, when Ratner-Bialy's mother first applied to emigrate, and have had menial jobs since then.

Bialy, a engineer who did classified work until his firing 16 years ago, has a severe heart condition and has sought to leave in part to receive treatment in the West.

Soviet officials told the Bialy family as recently as last month that they couldn't even reapply to leave until 1992 at the earliest.

Others include: Naum Kogan, 78, a retired physicist who first applied for an exit visa in 1975, and his wife, Ina Kogan, who has cancer.

Mark Terlitsky, 50, a former architect, his wife, Svetlana, and two other family members. Terlitsky's brother, Leonid Terlitsky, a New York architect, waged an 11-year campaign with Soviet officials to obtain Terlitsky's release.

Alexander Kholmiansky, 37, a computer scientist and Hebrew educator, who was recently released from a Soviet labor camp, where he served more than a year for allegedly destroying a mailbox.

Pavel Abramovich, 47, a former radio technician, and his wife. Abramovich, also a prominent Hebrew teacher, became a target of a Soviet campaign of harassment against Hebrew educators.

Officials of the union of councils said yesterday that Victor Faermark, a Moscow resident, was granted an exit visa to be reunited with his wife, Andrea Wine, in New Jersey.

In addition, Rep. Edward F. Feighan (D-Ohio) said he had learned that Povilas Peciulaitis, one of the priority list of cases presented recently to the Soviet Union, would be permitted to leave.