News in brief, August 1969 (9.10)

«No 9 : 31 August 1969»


On 26 August Anatoly Marchenko was sentenced under Article 190 of the Russian Criminal Code to a new term of imprisonment: two years. The trial took place in the settlement of Nyrob, in the Perm Region, within the camp zone.

The witnesses consisted of prisoners convicted for serious crimes or as habitual criminals, and camp administration workers. They alleged that Marchenko had uttered slanderous statements about Soviet policy towards Czechoslovakia, about the Sino-Soviet conflict, and about the position of writers in the Soviet Union. Apart from these verbal utterances there was no other charge brought against Marchenko.

Marchenko pleaded not guilty, and denied ever having made the statements. At the present time Marchenko is in the transfer prison at Solikamsk. Another exhausting journey is in store for him, in an unknown direction.


On 2 September 1969, the trial of B.V. Talantov [CCE 10.2] was held in the town of Kirov [Volga District]. Talantov, a 68-year-old teacher, was sentenced under Article 190 of the Russian Criminal Code to two years in ordinary regime camps. The defendant pleaded not guilty.

Boris Talantov, 1903-1971

(see obituary, CCE 18.12)


The trial was held in Leningrad this spring of two 17-year-old first year students of the Polytechnic Institute, charged under Article 190 of the Russian Criminal Code. The substance of the charge was-the distribution of leaflets in the Institute. As minors they were each put on one year’s probation. Both were expelled from the Institute along with about ten other students.


Berger (not Bergel, as reported in the Chronicle), Braun, Manchevsky and Vodopyanov, who were arrested in Leningrad, have been charged under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. Their trial is expected in September or October. They are accused of distributing samizdat and books published abroad.


A young man by the name of Gai has been arrested in Chernovtsy [in S. W. Ukraine]. He is accused of ”connections with Ukrainian nationalists”.


Criminal proceedings have been instituted against Reshat Dzhemilev, one of the Crimean Tatar demonstrators on Mayakovsky Square in Moscow on 6 June (CCE 8.5). He has been charged under Article 190 of the Russian Criminal Code with making a speech at the funeral of A.Ye. Kostyorin, and with helping to compile the collection “In Memory of A.Ye. Kostyorin”. Apart from that, he has evidently been charged for signing a letter in support of Ivan Yakhimovich. The investigation is being conducted by the Krasnodar Procuracy, while in Moscow witnesses are being interrogated by Obraztsov, an investigator of the Moscow Procuracy.


In Gulistan, in the Uzbek Republic, an investigation is being conducted into the case of Mustafa Dzhemilev, under Article 191-4 of the Uzbek Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code). The charge is participation in Crimean Tatar protests against the ban on a return to the homeland. Mustafa Dzhemilev has had to sign a statement that he will not leave the town.


In Gorky [on the Volga] two students of the University, and two lecturers, have been arrested on a political charge.


In Dubrovlag (the Mordovian strict-regime camps), Camp No. 11, which hitherto had the largest number of inmates, has been broken up. Instead, new strict-regime camp zones for political prisoners have been organised at Camp No. 3 (Barashevo), Camp No. 17 (Ozerny), and Camp No. 19 (Lesnoi).

A new Camp 17 has been organised to replace the women’s ordinary-regime zone, and it has not been amalgamated with camp 17(a), which contains only a small number of prisoners. Among the latter are Yury Galanskov and Alexander Ginzburg;  Vyacheslav Platonov and Leonid Borodin, convicted at the social-Christians’ trial [CCE 1.6]; and several men convicted at so-called “nationalist” trials, Victor Kalnyns (sentenced to ten years), Jan Kapitsins (fifteen years), Dmitry Verkholyak (25 years), Mikhail Soroka (25 years), and others. There are also some sentenced Baptists.


At the beginning of July the writer Yuly Daniel and the engineer Valery Ronkin, who was convicted in the Bell affair, were sent to Vladimir Prison for the rest of their term.  Daniel’s term expires on 11 September 1970, Ronkin’s on 12 June 1972.  After that, Ronkin still has to spend three years in exile.  The address of the prison is: Vladimir Region, Vladimir, postbox OD/1-2.


Sado, who was convicted in the affair of the Social-Christians, has been transferred from the Vladimir Prison to Camp 3 of the Mordovian complex: Mordovian ASSR,  Barashevo, postbox Zh/Kh 385/3. Igor Ogurtsov is still in the prison at Vladimir.


In June, Yury Gendler and Lev Kvachevsky, convicted in Leningrad in December under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code, were sent to the Mordovian camps:  Gendler went to Camp 19 (address: Mordovian ASSR, Lesnoi, postbox Zh/Kh 385/19). At first, Kvachevsky was sent to Camp 3; recently, however, according to unconfirmed reports, Kvachevsky has been transferred to Camp 17 (Ozerny, postbox Zh/Kh 385/17).


On 25 August Anatoly Studenkov, who was convicted together with Gendler and Kvachevsky, was released.  In his final plea he had begged the court to “protect him from anti-Sovietists” and not send him to a camp. His request was granted before the end of his term, since he had received one year. He did his time in a Leningrad prison.

The Chronicle report [CCE 8.14, item 6] that Gendler and Kvachevsky were not sent to camps for some time because they were being held as witnesses in a new case was incorrect. Their departure was delayed because the decision of the appeal court took about one and a half months to reach Leningrad from Moscow.


It has become known that the 27-year-old Yury Belov is in Camp 10 of the Mordovian complex. Belov has already done a long term before in the same camps, when he was convicted under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code.

After his release he wrote a book called Report from Darkness, and was sentenced to a new term of five years of special-regime for trying to send it abroad, under Article 70 para. 2. Now he has been put in a special-regime camp, that is, a camp where the inmates are confined to their cells. His address is: Mordovian ASSR, Leplei, postbox Zh/Kh 385/10.


As a result of Alexander Ginzburg‘s hunger strike, which was supported by his friends, he has finally been granted permission to register his marriage with Irina Zholkovskaya. They were registered on 21 August in the camp zone.


On 8 August Irina Belogorodskaya, who was convicted in February under Article 190 of the Russian Criminal Code, was released from an ordinary-regime camp.


At the beginning of July Pavel Litvinov was transferred to a manual labour brigade — theoretically for missing work, but in fact for a clash with the mine director. His “missing work” was prompted by the fact that a period of three days’ unpaid holiday which was due to him coincided with the arrival of some friends of his on a visit.  So as to prevent him from seeing them any more, Litvinov was summoned away to “emergency work”, of which there was none. Litvinov refused to appear for work. A commission on labour disputes which examined his complaint decided in favour of the administration.


As reported in previous numbers of the Chronicle [CCE 5.2], Nikolai Danilov, who was arrested in the same affair as Gendler and Kvachevsky, is in the Special Psychiatric Hospital in Leningrad.  In 1959 Danilov graduated from the Law Faculty at Rostov University. From I960 to 1963 he worked in the Sakhalin regional Procuracy, where he dealt with the rehabilitation of victims of Stalinism. According to him, by 1963 there had been time to rehabilitate only a quarter of all those who had perished.

Since 1963 Danilov, has been living in Leningrad.  He was employed as a worker and as a legal adviser. He published his poetry in the Young Leningrad anthologies and in the Leningrad Poetry Day collection. The decision on his insanity and his internment in the severe conditions of a special psychiatric hospital was probably the result of his firm behaviour at the investigation, and also of the particular hatred of the KGB organs for a former investigator who had voluntarily left his work in the investigation organs. At the moment Danilov,  is being given potent “treatment” — insulin shocks, which have resulted in him genuinely being reduced to a serious condition.


Due to the pressure of public opinion, Vladimir Borisov, of the town of Vladimir [CCE 8.11], was released from a psychiatric hospital at the beginning of July. His stay there was officially recorded as being for a medical examination on behalf of the military recruitment centre. Borisov has been declared healthy. His namesake in Leningrad, Vladimir Borisov, is still interned in a psychiatric hospital. The doctors are saying quite openly:  “He’s perfectly healthy, of course, but orders are orders.”


In the town of Grozny [in the north Caucasus] in May and July there were two attempts to blow up the memorial statue of General Yermolov, “the conqueror of the Caucasus”. The explosions were not very powerful. The first one blew off the General’s head, but within 24 hours it had been replaced. The second one damaged part of the pedestal.  It is well-known that the local population wants to have statues of their national heroes in the capital city of Checheno-Ingushetiya, not of tsarist colonizers.


A number of European public organisations have come out in support of the appeal which the Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights in the Soviet Union sent to the United Nations [CCE 8.10]. Among them are: The International Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (Paris), “Europa Civilita” (Rome), “Kuratorium Geistige Freiheit” (Bern), the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish SMOG Committees, “Arts et Progres” (Paris), and “The Flemish Action Committee for Eastern Europe”’ (Antwerp).


On 7 August a search was made in Tula [south of Moscow] of the flat of Anatoly Kuznetsov, the writer who emigrated. The search was carried out by Lieutenant-Colonel Zaitsev, head of the KGB investigation department, and KGB workers Lieutenant Derevyanko and First Lieutenant Bychkov.

The writer’s wife Irina Marchenko and his private secretary Nadezhda Tsurkan were present during the search. Fifteen hundred pages of manuscript were removed, together with 22 photographic films, 14 tapes, and 168 letters, including letters from the Crimean Tatars asking Kuznetsov to appear as their public defence spokesman at the trial [of July-August in Tashkent], and letters from Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Jan Prochazka, Alan Sillitoe, Graham Greene, and others.  Among the manuscripts removed were early versions of Kuznetsov’s novel Baby Yar. A search was also made of his private secretary’s room. This was illegal, since no separate warrant was produced. Some samizdat was taken from her.

The Ministry of Culture has sent an order to libraries not to issue the works of Anatoly Kuznetsov [CCE 10.14].  Readers are being told that the books are on loan, but meanwhile Kuznetsov’s name is disappearing from the catalogues, For instance, in the Lenin Library [Moscow] all the cards for Kuznetsov’s books have already been removed from the readers’ catalogue.


A certain Gogi Andzhapahidze went to London with Kuznetsov as his “escort”. This young man persistently moved in “liberal” circles, and was even a freelance reviewer for the journal Novy Mir — at least that is what he liked to claim.

He had been expelled from the Faculty of Mathematical Linguistics at Moscow State University for his lack of aptitude — he had failed several attempts to pass the mathematics examination set by the lecturer Shikhanovich. Last spring, after Shikhanovich signed the mathematicians’ letter in support of Volpin, Gogi Andzhaparidze was the organiser of a ”students’ declaration”, demanding the expulsion of Shikhanovich as an unfair examiner.


During the last six to twelve months, a sharp increase in anti-Semitism has been generally observed in selection for employment and for admission to colleges. It is difficult to back up this judgment with concrete examples, as Jews are formally speaking refused jobs not for being Jewish but on any convenient – or inconvenient – pretext, while if possible they are failed in their college entrance exams.