Teaching and learning Hebrew was banned in the USSR, though its persecution in wake of détente in the late 1970’s was not especially harsh. In 1979 there were as many as 50 unofficial Hebrew teachers in Moscow with some 12 to 15 more in Leningrad.
However, even during this relatively mild period, the KGB did not tolerate any Hebrew or other Jewish activity in any other cities across the wide expanse of the USSR. Small wonder –- as much as 75% of the Soviet Jewish population lived in these peripheral cities.
My name is Ephraim (Alexander) Kholmyansky and I am happy to be the person who initiated an underground project to spread Hebrew and Jewish culture throughout dozens of peripheral cities in the USSR under the noses of the powerful KGB.