The Trial of Moroz, 17-18 November 1970 (17.2)

<<No 17 : 31 December 1970>>

Valentin Moroz was arrested at his home in Ivano-Frankovsk (in the Ukraine) (CCE 14.11, item 1) on 1 June 1970. The charge was brought under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (equivalent to article 70 of the Russian Code).

Investigations were conducted by officials of the Ivano-Frankovsk Region KGB under the direction of Major Baranov and Captain Prigornitsky. Baranov has been known since 1949, when he conducted investigations into cases of juveniles (in the Zolochevsky District of the Lvov Region) and of students at the Lvov Polytechnic Institute (the creation of a nationalist organisation), who received sentences of 25 years’ imprisonment. In 1965 he was in charge of the case of Panas Zalivakha (Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code), an artist who was released in 1970 after five years in the camps [1] and now lives in Ivano-Frankovsk.

Valentyn Moroz, 1936-2019

At the beginning of May 1970 V. Moroz was in the village of Kosmach (in the Carpathians [West Ukraine]). There, while he was tape-recording a mass in church, an attempt was made to apprehend him but the local inhabitants prevented this.

In connection with the arrest of Moroz, searches were carried: out at the homes of the priest Romanyuk in Kosmach (when church books were confiscated); of V. Chornovil in Lvov; and of five other people. About 30 people were questioned as witnesses.

V. Moroz was charged with writing and circulating the works Datan and Moses“, “Among the Snows [2], A Chronicle of Resistance” [CCE 14.12 (1)], “I have seen Mahomet” and, for the second time, A Report from the Beria Reservation [3]. An investigation about the “Report” had already been conducted in 1968-9 (when Moroz was in a Mordovian camp) and had been terminated, since there was no proof of authorship.


The case of V. Moroz was heard behind closed doors on 17-18 November 1970 by the Ivano-Frankovsk Region Court. The prosecutor was the Regional Assistant Procurator Gorodko, defence counsel was E. M. Kogan (Moscow).

A few days before the trial twelve inhabitants of Lvov asked the chairman of the court to admit them to the trial. Two days later many of them were warned at their place of work that if they went to the trial they would be dismissed. P. Zalivakha was reminded by the police that he was under surveillance, and was forbidden to attend the trial. Nevertheless people came to the trial from various towns. They were not admitted to the court-room.

I. Dzyuba (Kiev), B.D. Antonenko-Davidovich (Kiev), V. Chornovil (Lvov) and [V.V.] Bobyak (Kosov; the latter had not previously known Moroz), were summoned by the court as witnesses.

The witnesses and the accused refused to give evidence at a trial held behind closed doors, which they regarded as unlawful. Antonenko-Davidovich, citing the works of Lenin, declared that the trial was anti-Soviet. He added that he himself had twice been tried behind closed doors, that both sentences had much later been annulled by the Supreme Court as unlawful, and that he, Antonenko-Davidovich, had no wish to take part in a case for which he might later be convicted.

Witnesses Dzyuba, Chornovil and Antonenko-Davidovich stated that they would give evidence only at a public trial, if such a trial were to be held. Despite a protest by the defence counsel, the court resolved to hear the evidence given by the witnesses during the pre-trial investigation.

During the pre-trial investigation the writer B.D. Antonenko-Davidovich had testified that the discovery at his home of a draft of an article by Moroz proved only that he (Moroz) had gone to an older, more experienced writer for advice, but not that the documents mentioned in the charge had been circulated. Neither did the discovery in Dzyuba‘s possession of the article “Among the Snows” prove that it had been circulated, since it was addressed to him. In addition Dzyuba insisted that “Among the Snows” was the personal affair of two people — the author and the addressee. (Moroz‘s article “Among the Snows” was written a propos of I. Dzyuba‘s statement [4] in the newspaper Literaturnaya Ukraina, 6 January 1970.)

The Procurator demanded for Moroz ten years’ imprisonment and five years’ exile. Defence counsel asked the court to change the basis of the charge to Article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (equivalent to article 190-1 of the Russian Code).


The court sentenced V. Moroz to nine years’ confinement, six years in prison and three years in special-regime camps, and to five years’ exile (V. Moroz was judged to be an especially dangerous recidivist).

During the delivery of the sentence, Party secretaries, directors of local establishments and officials of the KGB were present in court; of the accused’s relatives and friends only his wife and father were admitted.

The witnesses submitted a protest to the appeal court.



[1] On the case of Panakha see V. Chornovil, The Chornovil Papers, London, 1968, (pp. 117-130).

[2] The Ukrainian text of “Datan and Moses” is in Ukrainsky samostiynk, No. 158, October 1970 (Munich). “Among the Snows” is due to be published in Ukrainian in Suchasnist (Munich).

[3] An English translation of “Report from the Beria Reservation” is in Michael Browne (ed), Ferment in the Ukraine, London, 1971 (document 11).

[4] For an English version of Dzyuba’s statement, and an analysis of the circumstances surrounding it, see second edition of his Internationalism or Russification? London, 1970.