News in brief, December 1972 (28.7)

<<No 28 : 31 December 1972>>


On 15 October Victor Fainberg, who is confined in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital, ended his hunger strike [CCE 27] Fainberg had declared a hunger strike on 28 September, protesting against the transfer of “politicals” from his hospital on Arsenalnaya Street to the special hospitals in Oryol and Dnepropetrovsk. He eventually obtained a promise from the administration to discontinue the transfers.


The mathematician Leonid Plyushch, a member of the Action Group for Human Rights arrested on 15 January 1972 in Kiev, has been ruled mentally ill by a commission of forensic psychiatrists.


On 30 November 1972 the Supreme Court of the Lithuanian SSR sentenced Stasis Stanislavovich Jakas (b. 1941) to 2 years in strict regime camps. Jakas was indicted under Article 199 of the Lithuanian criminal code (Article 190-1 of the RSFSR code). He was charged with keeping and circulating A Chronicle of Current Events, other samizdat materials (Avtorkhanov’s Technology of Power, Yakir’s letter to the journal Kommunist, and others), and Archives of Lithuania [Vietuvos Archivas] — a book about the 1940 elections to the Seim [Lithuanian parliament] published under the Germans; and with ties to Yakir. The Jakas case, like the Sevruk case (CCE 24-26), is a Vilnius metastasis of Case 24. S.S. Jakas is confined in a camp in Provinigtis [1] (Lithuania).


Yakov Leibovich Khantsis, a resident of Kishinev, was arrested in the summer of 1970 outside the Netherlands Embassy in Moscow, where he had gone to get permission to emigrate to Israel. On 17 August he was sentenced by the Krasnopresnensky Court in Moscow under Article 206 of the RSFSR criminal code to 2.5 years in hard regime camps. He served his term in Vyatlag (institution K-231).

On 18 April 1971 Khantsis was conditionally released and sent on probation as a worker to Omutninsk in the Kirov Region. He wrote letters to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet demanding that he and his family be allowed to go to Israel. In the spring of 1972 he was again arrested, and in the autumn he was sentenced to 2 years in strict regime camps under Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code.

The address of his place of confinement is: Kirov Region, Postbox OR 216/10. It has become known that Khantsis has been subjected to beatings and persecution while in confinement.


On 10 December, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 240 prisoners in Camp VS 389/36 declared a two-day hunger strike.

The prisoners demanded of the Supreme Soviet that it introduce the status of “political prisoners” and revoke illegal restrictions on reading materials. Textbooks dealing with foreign languages and other subjects are not allowed in the camp. The reason given by the administration for this prohibition is: “You are not authorized to have these books, as you are not students.”


In the [same?] Perm camp (institution 389/36) 25-year sentences are being served by Yury Gutsal (worker, aged 40), Grigory Girchik (artist, aged 41), Nikolai Nikolayenko (worker, aged 43),and Vasily Pirus (aged 40); 15 year sentences by Lev Lukyanenko (jurist, aged 39), Mikhail Lutsik (aged 40), Andrei Turik and Victor Kurchik; and a 7 year sentence by Nik. Kots (teacher at an agricultural school, aged 35).


P.M. Litvinov, convicted for participating in the demonstration in Moscow’s Red Square on 25 August 1968 in protest against the sending of Soviet forces into Czechoslovakia (see CCE 3 and CCE 4), was released on 11 November 1972 upon completion of his term of exile (5 years).

On 11 October 1972, a month before Litvinov’s release, his home in the village of Usugli in Chita Region was subjected to a search, the warrant on the part of the guards.* for which was signed by the investigator Alexandrovsky, who is in charge of the case of Victor Krasin (see CCE 27 and this issue). The basement and the environs were carefully checked with a mine-detector. Several samizdat poetry anthologies and some parodies of V. Kochetov and S. Smirnov were confiscated. [AI – for other details in this case see CCE 32.]


Early in 1972 a soldier from one of the military units stationed near Moscow, one Yakovlev (born 1953; called up in Smolensk Region) was confined in the Kashchenko Psychiatric Hospital for criticizing army procedures and compulsory military service. For about a month and a half Yakovlev, without receiving any treatment, was held in a ward with patients, after which he was discharged from the army as mentally ill.


Previously, prisoners in corrective-labour colonies and prisons could get books, making payment on delivery from the bookshops, including certain second-hand shops (“Books by Mail”). In November 1972 the director of the shop “Bukinist” (on Leninsky Prospekt in Moscow), in answer to a routine request of this kind, stated that in future the bookshop would not mail any books to addresses “of institutions”, In this connection she referred to oral instructions.


In late November 1972 Valery Nikolayevich Chalidze, with his wife Vera Slonim, flew to the United States. Chalidze had received a visa in connection with invitations from universities in Washington and New York to deliver a series of lectures on problems of the defence of human rights. Chalidze used his ordinary vacation for his private trip (this was its official status). His visa was for a one month stay. He did not have to go through any of the formalities associated with current Soviet instructions on leaving the country for permanent residence abroad.

After his arrival in the US Chalidze, in his public utterances and statements (including those on such touchy matters as the relative conditions of Soviet and American prisoners to questions put to him after he had visited a prison in the State of New York), took in answer a markedly loyal position with respect to the Soviet authorities. Nonetheless, in mid- December Chalidze was notified by the Soviet Ambassador in the US that, by a special decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, he was deprived of his Soviet citizenship “for acts incompatible with the title of citizen of the USSR”.