Khrushchev's son to become permanent U.S. resident

April 18, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Sergei Nikitich Khrushchev, son of th Soviet leader whose 1962 confrontation with President John F. Kennedy over Soviet missiles in Cuba brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, expects to walk into a small immigration office in Providence, R.I., tomorrow and become a legal permanent resident of the United States.

Sixteen months after the disintegration of the Communist Party and the country his father helped run from its prewar Stalinist days until his ouster in 1964, the 57-year-old engineer-turned-political-scientist and his wife, Valentina, expect to receive green cards, or alien-residents cards.

Mr. Khrushchev and his wife have sought legal status as resident aliens not under any of the Cold War provisions that allowed people fleeing Communist countries to obtain political asylum or refugee status, but on the strength of his academic and personal credentials, which have qualified him for visa status as an individual who can make a unique contribution.

His lawyer, Dan Danilov, said Mr. Khrushchev's request for resident-alien status was supported by former President Richard Nixon, Robert S. McNamara, the secretary of defense in the Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson administrations, and Strobe Talbott, the current ambassador at large to the former Soviet states.

Although Mr. Khrushchev was once a member of the Soviet Communist Party -- a fact that disqualified most individuals in the days of the Cold War -- the Immigration and Naturalization Service is expected to grant the request, Mr. Danilov said.

In a telephone interview Friday from his home in Cranston, R.I., Mr. Khrushchev said he had decided to seek permanent residency in the United States "because it is easier to work in this country."

One advantage, he said, is the freedom to travel.

"I won't be subject to government decisions that keep me from leaving the country," he said. For a quarter-century after his father's ouster in 1964, Soviet authorities denied him permission to go abroad, he said.

"It's very difficult to change countries at my age," he said. "I still have my apartment there in Moscow. I have my country house there. I have my trees and my pond, a little pond. Very little and very beautiful, with little fish. Of course, I would prefer to live there than here, if it were a free country there. I know it will be a free country here. I don't know what will happen there."

What would Nikita S. Khrushchev have said about the end of the Communist system and about his son's decision?

"It is difficult to tell about my father," he replied. "He belonged to another historic period. You might ask what General Washington would say about the [Persian] Gulf war.

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