News in brief, February 1970 (12.9)

«No 12 : 28 February 1970»


TASHKENT. Seidomet Khalibayev was arrested at the end of December 1969 under Article 190-1 [Article 194-1 in Uzbek SSR Criminal Code]. Earlier served a sentence in connection with the case of Yury Osmanov.


Nuri Abduraimov. Born 1940, arrested 8 January 1970 in the town of Yangiyul, Uzbek Republic. Investigator,  Vorobyov.


Two officers have been arrested in Poland, in connection with the case of the naval officer Gavrilov and others (CCE 11.5).


On 24 December 1969 Julius Telesin‘s house was searched. The search was conducted by an investigator from the procuracy, N. V. Gnevkovskaya, in connection with the case no. 50618/48S-69. Seventy books, articles, poems, drafts and letters were confiscated. The poems removed ranged from S. Smirnov to M. Tsvetayeva. Many of the items removed were drafts of complaints.


On 25 February of this year Gleb Yakunin‘s flat was searched. G. Yakunin was deprived of the right to serve as a priest because of a letter he wrote with another Moscow priest, Nikolai Eshliman, to the Moscow Patriarch, requesting that the church be separated from the State not in words, but in fact. The search warrant was signed by L.S. Akimova, a senior investigator of the Moscow procuracy. Personal documents, letters and works by A. E. Levitin-Krasnov were removed.


On 27 February 1970 Andrei Amalrik‘s apartment was searched. The search warrant was signed by L.S. Akimova, a senior investigator of the Moscow procuracy, but no criminal case was cited. Senior procuracy investigator, A. G. Shilov, who formally conducted the search, stated that he did not know which case was the cause of the search, and took almost no part in it. In fact everything was done by five unknown persons in civilian clothes who neither identified themselves nor produced any official papers. They were not looking for anything in particular, and for four hours they shot a great amount of film, and took many photographs of Amalrik’s room. When they left, they took away a typewriter and three foreign journals containing articles about Amalrik. Amalrik was not even given a copy of the protocol of the search.


The investigation of the case of Vladimir Gershuni, arrested on 18 October 1969 (CCE 10.15 [item 18] and 11.6) has been completed. The charge, which the Investigator announced to him, repeats almost word for word the text of Article 190-1. Vladimir Gershuni denies any criminal activity on his part.

Some fifteen or twenty witnesses were called in connection with Gershuni’s case: old friends and people from Gershuni’s last two places of work (a fat-processing plant and a building site). The majority of the workers said nothing bad about Gershuni, but some have testified that Gershuni made anti-Soviet statements.

As reported earlier, Gershuni has been declared of unsound mind (diagnosis, chronic schizophrenia). As indications of an abnormal condition the following signs are listed: Gershuni’s refusal to talk to the doctors, his charge that they are under orders from the KGB, and his promise to expose them and make them answer for it. The start of the illness is dated to 1947. (Let us recall that in 1949 Gershuni was sentenced to ten years as a healthy person.) There is a serious danger that Gershuni will be confined in a psychiatric hospital of special type.

His trial is expected to take place at the beginning of March.


Natalya Gorbanevskaya, arrested on 24 December 1969 [CCE 11.9], is in an ordinary cell in the Butyrki prison. Her case is being investigated by senior investigator of the Moscow procuracy Akimova. Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code.

There is no information about Gorbanevskaya’s state of health. Her children are with their grandmother.

In connection with Gorbanevskaya’s case searches were carried out in the rooms of Larissa Bogoraz and Pavel Litvinov, who are in exile in Siberia. Personal correspondence and samizdat materials were removed. The search warrants were signed by Gnevkovskaya, investigator of the Moscow procuracy.

The day after the search L. Bogoraz was called in for questioning. She refused to give any evidence on the case, which is being conducted by Gnevkovskaya, referring to her own experience of relations with this investigator.


At the end of January in the town of Tartu [in Estonia] Professor Yu. M. Lotman‘s flat was searched. The search warrant was signed by Gnevkovskaya. Lotman’s private correspondence was removed, and also a collection of poems with a dedication by N. Gorbanevskaya.

Yu. M. Lotman, Doctor of philological sciences, is vice-president of the International Semiotics Society and head of the department of Russian literature at Tartu University. In August-September 1969 Gorbanevskaya stayed with him.

In connection with the same case L. L. and Ya. Ya. Gabovichi (both mathematicians and both Masters of Physico-mathematical sciences) were summoned to the Tartu KGB. Questions were asked about Gorbanevskaya’s links with Tartu.


In December 1969 V[aleria] Novodvorskaya was arrested. On 5 December in the Palace of Congresses [in the Moscow Kremlin] she scattered and distributed leaflets (CCE 11.7). Novodvorskaya was declared to be of unsound mind by a forensic psychiatric diagnosis team. The trial is expected in March or April 1970.


Leningrad. Proceedings have been started by the procuracy, under article 190-1, against S. Bernatsky (in the late 1950s he served a sentence under Article 58 [counter-revolutionary activities]) and N. Tolstova. Both are at liberty while under investigation.


At the end of 1969 the Krasnodar City Court sentenced Petrenko, a railway engine driver, to one year’s imprisonment under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code. Petrenko, a veteran of the Second World War with decorations, sent a letter to Minister [of Defence] Grechko in which he criticised the government’s policies, the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the regulations in force in the industrial enterprises of Krasnodar [South Russia], and Comrade Brezhnev in person.


On 3 February 1970 the Supreme Court of the Ukrainian Republic declared its verdict on the appeal of Bedrilo, an agricultural economist from Lvov (CCE 10.15, item 2). The court met in closed session – even the mother of the accused was refused admission. Bedrilo was accused of distributing an appeal by seven Ukrainian writers sentenced earlier and a leaflet about the self-immolation of Makukha. The Supreme Court in its verdict removed the first point from the charge (anti-Soviet conversations) and sentenced Bedrilo to two years’ imprisonment under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, thus reducing the original sentence – four years – by half. The charges were based on the testimony of Bogdan Chaban, from whom was taken a considerable amount of samizdat material when his flat was searched (Chaban himself showed where it was kept). B. Chaban was released from arrest before the trial.


Teet Kallas was arrested in Tallinn on 16 October 1969 (CCE 11.15, item 8). In January 1970 he was tried. He was judged to be of unsound mind.


In May 1969 Boris Kochubievsky was sentenced to three years [CCE 8.1] under article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (corresponding to article 190-1 of the Russian Code). Kochubievsky has now spent eight months in an ordinary-regime camp in Belichi (Kiev Region). During his imprisonment officials of the KGB have frequently demanded that Kochubievsky renounce his convictions and his intention to emigrate to Israel.

Kochubievsky has an eight-month old daughter whom he has not yet seen. Both in prison and in the camp convicts have several times beaten Kochubievsky up for being a Jew.


In Petrozavodsk [Karelian ASSR, Northwest Russia] a third-year student of the university’s Finno-Ugrian department has been sentenced to four years under article 70 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (his name is unknown [Alexander Uchitel, CCE 17.14, No 25]). He is from Ryazan. He was accused of distributing Yu. Vudka’s pamphlet ”The Decline of Capital”. (see this issue, “Political trials in towns around the USSR: Ryazan”, 12.4). Some of his friends have been expelled from the university.


The expulsion of Ivan Dzyuba from the Kiev writers’ organisation was reported in CCE 11.15 (item 3). Literary Ukraine of 6 January 1970 carries information relating to this case. The Kiev writers’ organisation, when it expelled I. Dzyuba, accused him of making speeches with a nationalistic and even an anarchistic colouring. The main charge, however, was of publishing abroad (in particular a work like Internationalism or Russification?), and so playing into the hands of enemies of the Soviet system, the Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists.

On 26 December 1969 in a letter to the Presidium of the Ukrainian Union of Writers I. Dzyuba dissociated himself from his foreign publishers and commentators, and attacked them.

The Presidium of the Ukrainian Writers’ Union, while recognising that the decision of the Kiev writers’ organisation was correct, nevertheless took into consideration, on the other hand, Dzyuba’s statement, and came to the conclusion that it was possible to allow Dzyuba to remain in the Union’s ranks. At the same time the Presidium warned Dzyuba that he, “as is required of a member of the Union, is duty bound to be guided continually by the principles and tasks of the organisation and to take an active part in the literary process in accordance with the principles of Marxist-Leninist teaching and of the uncompromising struggle with bourgeois ideology.”

[18] Letter from a Reader of the Chronicle

“In Issue 11 of the Chronicle, in the record of the interrogation of Soldatov [CCE 11.5] we read: “Soldatov: ‘All right, I will confirm just the evidence of Bondarenko’s daughter, if that will save someone.’ (Soldatov confirms that he had met someone; he cannot remember the time, place, appearance or names; the conversation was on general topics and he had noticed anything illegal.)”

“Soldatov was too ready to believe that the aim of the KGB investigator was to save someone. The present-day practice in Soviet law means that each “little fact” that is confirmed by a witness (“I met someone”) can be transformed into ”proof” of the guilt of the accused (many cases have dozens of witnesses, and one may suppose that each of them confirms his own “little fact”). For example, the sentence will be worded as follows: “as has been ascertained through testimony of witnesses (including Soldatov) …” and so on.


Anatoly Tikhonovich Marchenko has been sent to a camp [CCE 11.15, item 21]. His address is: Perm Region, Solikamsk district, Krasny Bereg post office, postbox AM 244/7-8.


Genrikh Ovanesovich Altunyan, found guilty in November 1969 under article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (corresponding to article 190-1 of the Russian Code) (CCE  11.11), in breach of the regulations concerning corrective labour camps, has been sent to a camp outside Ukraine – to Krasnoyarsk Region [Siberia] (N. Ingash, postbox 288/1 “A” 2-10).


Victor Aleksandrovich Krasin, found guilty in December 1969 under the decree of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR dated 4 May 1961 and sentenced to five years’ exile (CCE 11.8) arrived at his destination at the end of January 1970. Address: Krasnoyarsk Region [Siberia], Yenisei district, Kakovskoye village, poste restante.


In January 1970 Vladimir Bukovsky and Victor Khaustov were released from camp [CCE 2.8, item 5]: demonstration of January 1967 in defence of A. Ginzburg and Yu. Galanskov and against the introduction of Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code.