WASHINGTON -- Soviet emigre Edward Lozansky said today the decision by his wife's father to let her join him in the United States represented a triumph of the human spirit over ideology.
Tatiana Lozansky, the daughter of a top Soviet general who was forced to resign to secure her freedom, arrived in Washington Sunday from Moscow via Paris. Her journey came after she won a six-year struggle to emigrate by staging a hunger strike. The Lozansky's 11-year-old daughter Tania accompanied her.
'There are two versions of why the Soviet government finally relented and let my wife go,' Lozansky said on ABC's 'Good Morning America.'
'One is that she was told to go because her hunger strike was a great embarrassment. The other is that the general showed some humanity when he saw his daughter dying. I think the second version is right and shows the human spirit is stronger than ideology.'
Appearing on the program with Lozansky, Mrs. Lozansky said, 'Thank you, America, very much for my husband, my family.'
Replying for Tania when the shy 11-year-old was asked what she thought of America, Lozansky joked, 'Actually she has only seen TV studios so far.'
'All this publicity, we don't need it any more,' he added. 'But it may help those still seeking to emigrate by embarrassing authorities so they won't do the same thing again.'
Beaming with happiness, Lozansky told a news conference Monday the first place he wanted his wife and daughter to see in America after departure from the Soviet Union was a grocery store.
The three spent their first full day together after six years of separation enforced by Soviet authorities.
Appearing at the news conference with Tatiana and Tania, Lozansky said he planned to take them to a local supermarket and hoped 'they don't have a heart attack after Soviet food stores.'
Lozansky, an American University mathematics professor, stood with his arm around his wife and daughter and thanked those who helped reunite them.
'Thank you, America. Thank you, France. I love you all,' Lozansky said, referring to help given by officials from both countries who intervened on the family's behalf.
He frequently put his arm around his wife and once kissed her during the meeting.
Lozansky, 39, emigrated to Israel as a Soviet Jew in 1976 and subsequently came to the United States.
His departure was permitted by Tatiana's father, Gen. Ivan Yershov, on condition the couple divorce and Tatiana stay in Russia to avoid hurting Yershov's chances for promotion to three-star general in the Soviet Army.
Yershov promised once he was promoted he would help her to join Lozansky, but reneged on his promise.
Tatiana and six other Soviets began hunger strikes in May for permission to join their spouses in the West. Mrs. Lozansky was the sixth to leave. She was allowed to leave only after her father bowed to pressure to resign from the army after seeing her, reportedly near death at the time.
The Lozanskys were remarried by proxy May 10, the day she began her hunger strike, with Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., and Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., serving as 'best men.'
Mrs. Lozansky fasted until June 13 when her father, head of the Soviet civil defense program, dropped his opposition. The Soviets delayed her exit visa until Yershov resigned from the army.
Monday, Mrs. Lozansky said in halting English, 'I see only a little of America. It's great.'
She continued in Russian, which her husband translated. 'She is so overwhelmed, she can't find words to express how great America is. Now America just means her family, but soon she thinks it will mean more.'
Lozansky said his wife still has some medical problems, but basically is 'OK.'
He said his wife 'made up with her parents before leaving the Soviet Union. Her father sacrificed a lot. She doesn't want to do anything to damage her father. She has apparently promised officials to do nothing to harm the Soviet state.'