When Masha and Vladimir Slepak were released 17 years later, they had friends in Philly to thank.
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Before the collapse of the late 20th century USSR, it was difficult to leave the Soviet Union. Those who tried and refused permission were called “refusniks” – and one of the most famous couples who championed this status had a connection to Philadelphia.
Although Vladimir and Masha Slepak were denied the move (they wanted to go to Israel), their children were allowed to go out. One of them ended up in med school at Temple University.
When Philly was founded in 1980s, he began using his connections to fight for his parents ’release. At various points over the decade, officials have been from then-Mayor Ed Rendell then Senator Arlen Specter lobbied on behalf of the Slepaks.
Eventually, the couple was released. Scroll down for a thread with a summary of how the story took place.