Something sounds fishy here.
In 1981, you didn't just leave the Soviet Union. There must have been a reason, like maybe they were allowed to go because the USSR was trying to get rid of certain religious groups. Most of those folks would not ever be willing to return, whether to see family/friends or not. Something about this story is wierd.
Why even go to Russia in the first place?
They are turning back to communism, no place for a sane person to be.