News in brief, February 1969 (6.9)

«No 6 : 28 February 1969»


In Kiev Nazarenko and two other employees of the hydro-electric station, Kondryukov and Karpenko, were recently tried on a charge of engaging in anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation.

The defendants distributed through the post leaflets protesting against the Russification of the Ukraine and describing the Shevchenko celebrations in Kiev. Nazarenko confessed his guilt, regretted his resort to improper forms of activity and took upon himself the entire responsibility for the actions incriminating all three defendants. The Procurator asked for six years in a strict-regime camp for Nazarenko and Kondryukov and two years for Karpenko. The defence demonstrated the necessity of redefining the charge under Article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (which corresponds to Article 190-1 of the Russian Code). The court confirmed the charge under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Code and sentenced Nazarenko to five years in a strict-regime camp, Kondryukov to three years and Karpenko to one year six months.


On 5 December 1968 [5 November, see correction CCE 10.15, item 2] Vasyl Yemelyanovych Makukha tried to commit suicide in Kiev by self-immolation on Kreshchatik [main street in Ukrainian capital]. A teacher from Dnepropetrovsk Region, aged fifty and a father of two children, Makukha had been a prisoner in Stalin’s camps. When people ran up and began to put out the flames, he shouted, “Long live a free Ukraine!” The burns he received proved fatal and he died in the October Hospital in Kiev.


On 5 December 1968, the traditional demonstration to mark Constitution Day took place on Pushkin Square in Moscow. It is well known that the first demonstration at the Pushkin monument took place on 5 December 1965, as a sign of protest against the arrest of Sinyavsky and Daniel and was held under the slogan ‘Respect the Constitution!’ The demonstration in 1968 was a silent meeting: about twenty people stood for ten minutes with heads bared around the monument. A large number of volunteer police and KGB men were also present: they waited expectantly on the sidelines but did not themselves attempt to organize any provocations.


On 25 January 1969, the day of Jan Palach‘s funeral, two girl students of Moscow University appeared on Mayakovsky Square with a placard on which were written two slogans: MAY JAN PALACH’S NAME LIVE FOREVER and FREEDOM FOR CZECHOSLOVAKIA. They stood in the square behind the statue of Mayakovsky for about twelve minutes. A silent crowd gradually began to gather round them. Then a group of young people, calling themselves volunteer police but without any armbands, came up to the girls. They took away the placard and tore it up, but, after a consultation, let the students go.


At the end of 1968 Bogdanov, a worker from Elektrostal [Moscow Region], was sentenced under Article 64 of the RSFSR Criminal Code, for “betraying the Motherland”. From the extremely slender evidence available it seems that Bogdanov was drunk and got into conversation with some foreigners near one of the foreign embassies. He was photographed during the conversation and arrested immediately afterwards. The Chronicle hopes to provide fuller and more exact details later.


On the night of 25 August 1968, slogans condemning the invasion of Czechoslovakia appeared on several public buildings in the Akademgorodok suburb of Novosibirsk. One of them read: BARBARIANS — GET OUT OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Dogs were used in the search for those who had written the slogans, but no one was found. From previous experience it was known that the slogans would not wash off easily and so they were covered with newspapers.


The book Physicists Continue Joking was delivered to the bookshop at Obninsk in February 1969. One of the members of the editorial committee of this book was the late Valery Pavlinchuk [CCE 5.3, No 139]. The first secretary of the town’s Party committee immediately appeared in the bookshop and forbade the sale of the book. When the manageress said she would complain to Kaluga, he replied: “Complain wherever you want, but you won’t sell it here.”


An account by one of those present at the trial of the Red Square demonstrators has become known. All those chosen to represent ‘the public’ at the trial turned up at the Party committee building of the [capital’s] Proletarsky district at 8 a.m. on 9 October. There they were informed that they would be present at a trial of “anti-Sovietists”. Then they were taken to the court in a bus which drove straight into the yard and they entered the building by the back door.

They whiled away the time before the trial sitting in an empty room, where they were given dominoes, draughts and other games. Then they were allowed into the courtroom. The process of transporting the audience from the district committee building to the court through the back door was repeated on the following two days. The source, in his own words, felt embarrassed when in the course of the trial he recognized the falsehood of the information he had been given, and ashamed when, with the rest of the audience, he walked through the saddened crowd — which sympathized with the defendants — after the verdict.


The address of Pavel Litvinov is: Chita Region [East Siberia], Tungokochensk district, Verkhniye Usugli, poste restante. Litvinov is now working as an electrician and metal-worker at a mine. There is, incidentally, no physics teacher in the village school, but Litvinov has not been employed to work in his special subject.

Larissa Bogoraz is working as an apprentice joiner at the lumber works in Chuna [Irkutsk Region, Siberia].

Konstantin Babitsky is working at the ship-building factory in Krasnozatonsky [Komi ASSR] as a joiner.