Soviet Woman on Way to Israel to Aid Cancer-Stricken Brother

Times Staff Writer

Inessa Fleurova, her long struggle with Soviet bureaucracy finally at an end, left Moscow on Monday en route to Israel, where she hopes that a transplant of her bone marrow will save the life of her cancer-stricken brother.

"I am very happy that I am abroad now," Fleurova, 37, told reporters after she, her husband, and their two children arrived in Vienna. "I am free to go to Israel at any moment I want."

Fleurova had asked the Soviet authorities for permission to leave last March 3, but it was not until two weeks ago that she and her husband, Viktor, received exit visas, and only after their case became an international issue.

She had received permission to leave the Soviet Union in August but refused to go unless she could take her husband and two daughters, Darya, 8, and Marya, 6, with her. Her brother, Mikhail Shirman, went to Reykjavik, Iceland, where Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Reagan met Oct. 11-12, to appeal to Soviet officials for permission for the whole family to go to Israel for the transplant procedure.

Shirman's presence in Reykjavik apparently prompted the Soviet news agency Tass to offer rare comment on an emigration case. It said Shirman "showed an energy unusual for a terminal patient" during his Iceland appearance, and accused his sister of "being in no hurry to help her brother."

Shirman, 30, who emigrated to Israel in 1980, suffers from leukemia, and treatments have left him nearly bald.

"I am sure my brother can be saved," Inessa Fleurova told reporters as she prepared to board a plane for the Vienna stopover.

A few days after the Iceland summit, Soviet authorities dropped their demand that Viktor Fleurov's father waive any financial demands against him; the elderly man had refused to do so, which had held up the issuance of a visa for Viktor.

After he applied to emigrate, Fleurov, 38, a physicist, had his pay cut from 400 to 200 rubles a month. His wife worked as a sociologist with a construction institute.

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