Tired from a long day of engagements in New York City, Rudenko, 67, pulled up a chair to the kitchen table in the Jenkintown home of Ulana Mazurkevich, one of his most loyal supporters, and drained leaves from his tea.
The Rudenkos' future in the United States promises good fortune: She has been offered the editorship of a Ukrainian newspaper based in Jersey City, and he is writing his memoirs for a major publisher.
For a while, the couple will live in New York City, but not by choice.
"I want to live in the mountains, like (Aleksandr) Solzhenitsyn," Rudenko said, referring to the Soviet writer who lives in a mountain cabin in New England.
As Rudenko gobbled a block of chocolate, his wife explained that her husband's health was weak, and that their first priority after they settle down would be a trip to a dentist. Rudenko was denied regular dental care in the Soviet Union and his teeth have been decaying.
Rudenko, who comes from a family of miners, was a decorated World War II veteran who, at one time, was a model Communist.
When the war was over, Rudenko embarked on a writing career and over the next 30 years, penned about 30 books of fiction and poetry. His rise to prominence included heading the Ukrainian Writers Union.
But he was expelled from literary circles and barred from publication when he began criticizing the Ukrainian Communist Party in the 1960s.
Police raided his apartment twice and confiscated his archives, including book outlines and unfinished novels.
Oppression forced Rudenko deeper into his fight for human rights, and in the early 1970s, he joined the Moscow chapter of Amnesty International with prominent dissidents Andrei Sakharov and Yuri Orlov.
In November 1976, Rudenko founded the Ukrainian Helsinki Monitoring Group, a human rights watchdog organization. He was arrested in early 1977 and sentenced to seven years in labor camp and five years in Siberian exile.
In 1981, his wife was sentenced to five years in exile for receiving her husband's letters. She joined him in Siberia, where they worked as security guards.
Rudenko's archives were returned to him when he staged a 21-day hunger strike last year. In a gesture of good will, the government issued the Rudenkos visiting visas to West Germany last fall. When they arrived in the West, they were granted political asylum in the United States.
"When we arrived in West Germany, we felt great elation that we had set foot on free soil," Rudenko said.