Life as a Refusenik
Soviet Jews who were denied exit visas were known as refuseniks. Before they could apply for a visa, they had to renounce their Soviet citizenship. When their exit visas were denied, they could not reclaim citizenship. They were literally in limbo; they could not move ahead nor could they return to the way things were before they decided to emigrate. Increasingly they were seen as potential traitors. Those who worked often lost their jobs; those who were students were expelled from school. At a time when they were considered dangerous outsiders or outlaws, it is not surprising that some banded together in small clusters or groups to support one another.
Becoming a Refusenik
Through the Refusenik Community
How They Let us Go
Hope is Very Jewish
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Life as a Refusenik." (Viewed on March 4, 2021) <https://jwa.org/communitystories/sovietjewry/themes/life-as-a-refusenik>.