News in brief, May to October 1968 (4.7)

<<No 4 : 31 October 1968>>


In May and June 1968 the Supreme Court of the RSFSR considered the appeals of the Leningrad members of the All-Russian Social-Christian Union (CCE 1.6). The sentences on all those convicted were confirmed. Ogurtsov, sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and Sado, sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, will, according to the sentence, spend the first 5 years of their terms under a prison regime. They are in Vladimir Prison.

Igor Ogurtsov, b. 1937

The other accused are now in section 11 of the Mordvinian camps. Their address is Mordovian ASSR, Potma, Yavas post office, postbox ZhKh 385/11.


On the night of 21-22 August 1968 a 20-year-old Leningrader, Boguslavsky, wrote “BREZHNEV — GET OUT OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA” on the sculpture of three horses by Klodt. He was arrested immediately, there on the Anichkov Bridge, and two weeks later he was sentenced under Article 70 to five years of strict-regime labour camp. In October the RSFSR Supreme Court, considering his appeal, re-classified his action under Article 190-1, and consequently altered his sentence to three years in an ordinary-regime camp (the maximum penalty under the given Article).


The Estonian student who, on the night of 21-22 August, wrote “CZECHS, WE ARE YOUR BROTHERS”, on a cinema wall in Tartu, was savagely beaten up while in detention. His kidneys were damaged and he is still in hospital [update, CCE 9.1]


In the spring of this year, Kaidan, a student of the Philological Faculty of Moscow University, wrote a letter to his wife in another town describing the circumstances surrounding the trial of Ginzburg, Galanskov, et al., with extracts from the appeal of Bogoraz and Litvinov, “To World Public Opinion”, and also describing the anti-Semitic outbursts which he had witnessed at a Moscow railway station. This letter was “accidentally” opened and fell into the hands of the KGB, who sent it to the Rector’s office. In the first months of the academic year Kaidan was expelled from the Komsomol, excluded from the Department of Military Training, and finally expelled from the University. At present he is in a psychiatric hospital after attempting to commit suicide.


Between 22 and 28 October members of the Crimean Tartar movement were tried in Tashkent on a charge of making “deliberately false statements which defamed the Soviet social and governmental system” [Article 190-1]. The basis of the charge was the 66th issue of their Information Bulletin, which recounted the events in Chirchik on 21 April 1968, and issued an appeal to figures in the cultural field.

All the accused were sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Lyuman Umerov, Idris Kasymov, Shelket Seitabletev were given a year’s imprisonment and were released as they had already served this term in their period of preventive detention. Lennar Guseinov and Yusuf Sasinov were given a year’s suspended sentence.


At the present time Svetlana Ametova, Aidyr Basiev, Rollan Kadiyev and others are being held in preventive detention in Tashkent on a similar charge, this time in connection with some other issues of the Information Bulletin.


Yury Gendler, Nikolai Danilov, Lev Kvachevsky, Anatoly Studenkov and Yevgeny Shashenkov, arrested in Leningrad in August, have been charged under Article 70 for distributing “anti-Soviet literature.”


The administrative surveillance of Leonid Rendel [CCE 1.5], a former political prisoner, was ended in August.


In recent months the following people have been freed from the Mordovian political camps:

  • Vladimir Osipov – sentenced to seven years under Article 70 in the first Phoenix case.
  • Yaroslav Gevsich – sentenced to three years for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” in one of the so-called “nationalist” cases of 1965.
  • Yury Shukhevich – who had served 2 terms: the first time he was sentenced to ten years at the age of 14 because his father had been the leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists’ underground movement; on the day he completed his term in Vladimir Prison he was re-arrested on a false charge of anti-Soviet agitation, aid sentenced to another ten years.
  •  Vladimir Yershov – from Latvia, who was sentenced twice and had served more than seventeen years under Article 53, paras. 9» 10, 11 and 12.         .
  • Anatoly Gurov – sentenced to ten years under Article 64 [CCE 9.11] for fleeing to West Berlin.
  • Eduard Kuznetsov – who served the same term on the same charge as Osipov, has also been released from  Vladimir Prison.


According to information from a reliable source the book On the Events in Czechoslovakia was compiled by Felix Borovinsky and Boris Kozlov, who work in the section on socialist countries of the Novosti press agency.