To Our Readers: Mar. 28, 1994

Journalists rightly pride themselves on their objectivity, but in special cases personal involvement can be deeply gratifying. Just ask TIME correspondent Ann Blackman. As a member of our Moscow bureau in 1987, Blackman was struck by the plight of a family of Jewish refuseniks she met. Her daughter Leila and Vera Zieman became friends. Yuri and Tanya Zieman, who had % been trying vainly to emigrate to the U.S., led a lonely life of outcasts. "We spent countless hours at their kitchen table," Blackman says, "sipping tea and learning firsthand how difficult Soviet life was for average people."

When Vera, then...

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