Political prisoners in Vladimir Prison, December 1969 (11.3)

«No 11 : 31 December 1969»

The exact number of political prisoners being held at the present time in Vladimir Prison (address: Vladimir, Institution OD-1,  building 2) is not known. There is no separate wing now for politicals, but there are several political cells in each of the four blocks of the prison: for example, there are two in the second [hospital] block, cells no. 72 and 79.

As with the political prisoners in the Mordovian camps, a significant number here are Ukrainians and people from the Baltic States, who have been convicted in so-called nationalist cases. Here is a list, far from full, of the political prisoners in Vladimir:

1.         Mykhaylo Masyutko from the town of Feodosia [Crimea],  sentenced in 1965  to six years for circulating Ukrainian samizdat, in particular his own stories about the camps of the Kalmyk Steppe [N.W. of the Caspian Sea], where he was a prisoner under the Stalin regime; he is in prison by court sentence, and is suffering from a severe stomach illness.

2.         Mykhaylo Horyn from Lvov [W. Ukraine], sentenced in 1965 to six years in the camps for circulating Ukrainian samizdat. Sent to prison for his complaints against the camp administration.

3.         Mykhaylo Lutsyk, convicted in a similar case.

4.         Lev Lukyanenko, a lawyer from Lvov, 42, sentenced in 1961 to 15 years’ loss of liberty. The charge of “Betrayal of the Motherland” [Treason] brought against him and a whole group was based on the testimony of one of the accused, whom the Lvov KGB promised to release—he was given ten years.

Levko Lukyanenko, 1928-2018

5.         Ivan Kandyba, convicted either in the same case as Lukyanenko or for uttering statements in Lukyanenko’s defence. Term — not less than ten years.

6-8.    Dmytro Kvetsko (15 years), Zynoviy Krasivsky (12 years) and Mykhaylo Dyak (12 years), convicted in 1967 in the case of the “Ukrainian National Front” (circulation of samizdat in printed form).

9.        Justas Gembutas, a Lithuanian.

10.       Varanavicius, a Lithuanian.

11.       Vaivada, a Lithuanian.

12.       Karl Seffers, a Latvian.

13.       Yusuf Aslanov, a Circassian.

14.       Igor Ogurtsov, a translator and orientalist from Leningrad, {aged 27}, convicted in the case of the ‘All-Russian Social-Christian Union’ [CCE 1.6]. In prison by court sentence.

15.       Anatoly Samyshkin.

16.       Georg Gladko, convicted, as the Chronicle has already reported [CCE 9.11] for escaping from East to West Germany.

17-18.   Yuly Daniel, writer from Moscow, and Valery Ronkin, student from Leningrad.

19-21. Rodygin (CCE 4 [4.4]), Semenyuk and Vareta, transferred to Vladimir from the Mordovian camps in September-October 1969.

  1. Berg, transferred to Vladimir in November, convicted in 1967 for an attempt to organize an underground printing-press. In protest at his transfer, two political prisoners at camp 3 in Mordovia (address: Barashevo, institution ZhKh 385/3) went on hunger strike. They are Nikolai Tarnovsky and Vyacheslav Aidov, the latter convicted in the same case as Berg.


Until recently Svyatoslav Karavansky [CCE 13.7] was also held in Vladimir Prison.

In 1944, when a 25-year-old youth, Karavansky was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. In 1962 after new criminal legislation was adopted under which 25-year sentences could be reviewed and the term cut to 15 years, Karavansky‘s sentence was reduced to the term he had already served, i.e. about 18 years, and he was released.

He returned to Odessa where he studied and worked as a journalist. In 1965 he sent an article criticising the nationalities policy in the Ukraine to the Izvestiya newspaper. Soon after this Karavansky was arrested and sent to the Mordovian camps to serve the rest of his sentence (more than seven years).

The formal procedure was as follows: the USSR Procurator-General R.A. Rudenko objected to the court’s decision to reduce the sentence and the decision was annulled. When Karavansky began sending complaints from his camp, demanding the restoration of justice and legality, he was transferred to Vladimir. In autumn 1969 a new charge of Anti-Soviet Agitation and Propaganda was brought against Karavansky and he was transferred to the Ukrainian KGB investigation prison in Kiev.