News in Brief, April 1970 (13.10)

<<No 13 : 30 April 1970>>


Pyotr Markovich Igides [Abovin-Egides], b. 1917, member of the party and Master of philosophical sciences, was arrested on 22 March 1970 in Rostov [on-Don]. He was charged under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code. It can be surmised that Igides was arrested for a series of letters which he had sent to the central organs concerning the present situation in the USSR.

Igides is a well-known Marxist philosopher who has published a number of works in the central press: (1) The article “Principles of Marxist ethics and problems of moral alienation” in the book Present-Day Issues in Marxist Ethics, edited by Bandzeladze, Tbilisi,1967; (2) “A Marxist solution to the problem of the meaning of life”, in the journal Questions of Philosophy, 1963; (3) On the Structure of Historical Materialism, 1965, Moscow; (4) Problems of the Identity of Being and Thinking, Moscow; and much else.


Lev Grigorevich Ubozhko, an engineer and physicist [CCE 17.1], was arrested on 29 January 1970 in Sverdlovsk, where he had gone to take examinations for the correspondence course of the Law faculty of Sverdlovsk University.

The arrest was carried out on the basis of Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code, as L. Ubozhko had shown his fellow students leaflets defending Grigorenko, Litvinov, and Galanskov which had earlier been distributed by foreign citizens in Moscow.

For about ten days at the beginning of February L. Ubozhko’s flat was kept under constant guard and everyone who went to see him was questioned.


Valentina Zinovieva, a chemist, was arrested at the beginning of April in Obninsk. She was charged under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code.


German losifovich Bendersky (b. 1937), an artist employed by “Ukrainian Advertising” [Ukrreklama], died in the KGB prison in Kiev on 12 January 1970. (He had tried to cross the frontier in the Danube area.) The causes of death are not known. The relatives were informed that G. Bendersky had committed suicide.


In Tashkent the appeal concerning the case of I. Gabai and M. Dzhemilev [CCE 12.3] was heard in the Supreme Court of the Uzbek SSR on 16 March. The Supreme Court confirmed the sentence.

Mustafa Dzhemilev ended a thirty-day hunger-strike.

At the end of April M. Dzhemilev and I. Gabai were transferred to the KGB investigation cells in Lefortovo [Prison] in Moscow, where they are still held.


On April 7 the Supreme Court of the Uzbek SSR heard the appeal concerning the Grigorenko case and confirmed the findings of the [lower] court. Grigorenko is still in Tashkent.


In the middle of April Natalya Gorbanevskaya was judged to be of unsound mind (the diagnosis is unknown) by the diagnostic team of the Serbsky [Psychiatric] Institute and transferred to the hospital section of the Butyrki Prison until the trial.


Lev Kvachevsky, sentenced in Leningrad In 1968 (together with Gendler and Studenkov) for anti-Soviet activity on the basis of article 70 paragraph 1 of the Russian Criminal Code, and until recently held in Camp No. 3 in Mordovia, has been transferred to Camp No. 17 (Ozerny), which is a punishment zone to which the Dubrovlag authorities usually dispatch all uncooperative and, in their opinion, dangerous political prisoners. In Camp No. 3 Kvachevsky had been working in his speciality as a chemist [CCE 9.10, item 12]; at No. 17, where there is no industry apart from a sewing-shop, he will be compelled to sew gauntlets.


Yury Galanskov has again been sent to the camp hospital in a serious condition. This is the third time since November 1969 that Galanskov‘s ulcer condition [CCE 11.4 and CCE 12.5], from which he has suffered for many years, has deteriorated. On the last occasion (in March this year) he spent only a week in the camp (No, 17) before being hastily dispatched back to the hospital. It is characteristic that at precisely this time his mother and wife were informed in the Medical Department of the MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs] by Bobylev, the chief of the Department, and Shakh, an employee of the Department, that Galanskov‘s health was completely satisfactory and that he did not need to be hospitalized.


It is well-known that an educative measure exists for political prisoners serving their punishment in the Dubrovlag camps – visits to the KGB special Isolation Prison in Saransk (postbox No. 3), where they have talks with KGB investigators, Party officials and sometimes even teachers from Saransk University, who try to clarify the prisoner’s views on all contemporary political problems.

As a rule these measures, known in the camp as “educative labour in Saransk conditions”, last from six to eight weeks. This is simultaneously a means of isolating prisoners considered by the authorities to be especially harmful from the other inhabitants of the camps. A particularly large number of prisoners were sent off “for education” in Saransk in April of this year, evidently in connection with the Lenin jubilee celebrations.


On the persecution of believers and clerics

(1) The arch-priest [nastoyatel] of the local Orthodox church in Kagan (Bukhara Region, Uzbek SSR), Father Pavel Adelgeim, was arrested in December 1969.

Adelgeim is widely known in church circles. Thanks to his initiative and energy the believers in Kagan have been able to erect a new, stone church in place of the old barn which had been serving as the local place of worship. Pavel Adelgeim, a young, well-educated priest and a good preacher, enjoyed great love and authority among his parishioners. His ecclesiastical activity was beyond reproach from the viewpoint of civil law.

The details of the charge and the course of the investigation are not yet known.

(2) On the authority of the Procuracy of the Lenin district of Tashkent [?the flats of several priests were searched – illegible text] in connection with the case of Adelgeim, whom none of the priests except G. Yakunin knew.

During the searches the following articles were confiscated: samizdat literature, documents, books and manuscripts on history, religion and theology, books by Berdyaev, a typewriter, two icons and money.

The rude behaviour of the search witnesses, said to be employees of the local Housing Office [ZhEK], during the search of [Father] Gleb Yakunin‘s home compelled him to make a strong protest.

Some time after the searches [CCE 12.9, item 5] G. Yakunin and N. Eshliman were publicly defamed  in an article in the newspaper Labour [Trud] written by A. Belov, a journalist specializing in antireligious matters, and A, Shelkov (whose pseudonym is A. Drugov), who works for the KGB on church affairs.

(3) On 5 April 1970 six believers who sing in the choir of the Nikolskaya church in Biryulyovo on the edge of Moscow were detained by an operational Komsomol detachment as they left the church and taken to a police-station where they were searched and photographed by a cine camera. The detained men (among them an engineer, Dubovik, two workers, Beryugin and Anurin, a student, Churilov, and an actor, Sbitnev), were advised to leave the church on pain of “unpleasantness at work, which might lead to dismissal.”

The following week the church warden was summoned to the plenipotentiary of the Moscow Council for Religious Affairs, A. S. Plekhanov, who demanded that young people be dismissed from the choir, and then to the local Soviet’s District Executive Committee, where they demanded that the choir be disbanded altogether.


The Crimean Tatar Movement

Over 100 active members of the Crimean Tatar Movement for Return to the Motherland gathered together on 11 April 1970 in Tashkent. The place of assembly was surrounded by KGB men and ordinary police. The assembly was advised to disperse, free travel home being guaranteed. Both the few who agreed and the remainder were sent off under guard to their places of residence a few days later.

Representatives of the Crimean Tatar people began to arrive in Moscow from Uzbekistan, Kirgizia, Melitopol and the Stavropol Region between 9 and 21 April in order to hand in to the USSR Supreme Soviet on 22 April [Lenin’s birthday] a complaint that the 1967 Decree rehabilitating the Crimean Tatar people was not being carried out in practice and that local authorities were hampering in every possible way the return of Crimean Tatars to their fatherland.

In Moscow the representatives of the Crimean Tatar people visited the waiting-room of the CPSU Central Committee and the waiting-room of the USSR Supreme Soviet. As a result 90 people were detained between 11 and 22 April, and a further 57 people on the morning of the 22nd. Those detained were dispatched to their places of residence.

Those who managed to avoid persecution [at home] returned to Moscow on 26-27 April but were again detained and forcibly sent off home (among them was one of the most authoritative and active members of the movement, Muksim Asmanov).

Earlier, on 9 April, in Andizhan, S. Lelyalov, an oncologist, was arrested as he was boarding an aeroplane for Moscow to participate in the collective Crimean Tatar lobbying. He has been charged under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code.


The Procurator of Leningrad has stopped proceedings against Teleshova and Bernardsky (named as N. Tolstova and S. Bernatsky in CCE 12.9, item 11) on charges under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code. [The correct name was Teletova, CCE 14.13.]


RIGA. On 7-18 January a number of banners in Latvian and Russian appeared on the front of the building of the Union of Artists, the Union of Composers and the Union of Writers (12, Krishyan Bdron Street). The slogans were: “Always under the leadership of the Party, even if we have to crawl” (in Latvian); “The Party is our helmsman” (in Russian); “Literature isn’t the history of the Party”; “Long live Solzhenitsyn”.


Circumstances of the investigation into
the case of N. Gorbanevskaya

In connection with the N. Gorbanevskaya case [CCE 12.9, items 8 and 9] searches were carried out on 30 January in Tartu at the homes of M. Niklus and E. Tarto and, later, of Yu. Lotman.

In connection with this the Dean of the Philological Faculty of Tartu University cancelled the forthcoming session of the regular scholarly conference (the main organizer of which was Lotman), referring to difficulties with the teaching schedule.

In reply to this, members of the university’s Students’ Scholarly Society refused to present papers at the Moscow International Conference dedicated to the hundredth anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin. A meeting of Komsomol activists ensued and new people were brought into the Society’s council, after which some of those who had prepared papers agreed to speak at the jubilee conference.


On 18 April a search lasting from 1 p.m. until 1 a.m. the following day took place at the Leningrad home of R. Pimenov, a Doctor of mathematical sciences and employee of the Leningrad Department of the Steklov Mathematical Institute. The search was authorized by the Military Procurator of Leningrad in connection with a case initiated by the Procuracy of Obninsk [Kaluga Region].

During the search 250 items of samizdat literature were confiscated, as well as a Bible and a typewriter.

Between 1957 and 1962 R. Pimenov served a term of imprisonment on political charges.


A search took place at the home of B. Vail in Kursk on 19 April, also in connection with the case initiated by the Procuracy of Obninsk. Only 30 letters (personal correspondence) were confiscated.


Roger Garaudy, a former-member of the Politbureau of the French Communist Party, was expelled in April this year from the ranks of the Party for publishing his articles other than in the [communist] party press. In a latter to the secretary of his Party cell R. Garaudy explains his behaviour by the fact that to all intents and purposes he had been forbidden to publish in the Party press.


On 14 April a leaflet was posted in the faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University, with the title “The Fatherland must know its informers”. The leaflet says that Aronov, a former second-year student (he was expelled for poor progress, then readmitted, and then again expelled; in the autumn he will be readmitted again), Klovo, a second-year student, and Stavraki, a fourth-year student, are informers. In the autumn of 1969 Aronov and Klovo received thanks in an order “for vigilance”: as a result of their denunciation two students were expelled from the university for reading A. Solzhenitsyn. Stavraki invited several students to become informers, to give information on conversations and what literature was being read.


On March 13 Izet Khairov, condemned under Article 190-4 of the Uzbek Criminal Code in August 1968 as one of ten Crimean Tatars, was freed from his camp.


A Letter to the Editors of the Chronicle

Dear Editors,

In connection with the great interest of various sorts aroused, both in our country and abroad, by Andrei Amalrik’s booklet Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984? [see CCE 12.10, item 8] I would be most grateful to you if you would publish my open letter to the booklet’s author.

Respectfully yours,

Pyotr Yakir


Open Letter to Andrei Amalrik

Dear Andrei Alekseyevich,

I have read your essay with great interest and, while leaving detailed conversation about it for the future, would just like to formulate briefly my impressions. The very importance of the matters raised by you restrains me from a hasty or definitive evaluation.

Once again I am delighted by the precision, honesty and detached nature of your position and by the boldness of your act: the very fact of such an initiative is, undoubtedly, a risky step in our conditions, especially at present.

Although I understand and accept the genre of free-ranging reflections which you use, I notice, nevertheless, a difference between the first and second parts of your essay.

The first part makes a very convincing impression by the great detail of its analysis – an analysis of our society which is as yet, in fact, the only one of such breadth and logic. According to my observations, those whom you call “the middle class” see themselves – and respond to our times – in many ways just as you describe.

However, I cannot fully agree with some of your views, in particular with your forecast of the future of the democratic movement. Although at present its social base is indeed very narrow and the movement itself has been forced to operate in extremely difficult conditions, the ideas proclaimed by it have begun to spread widely throughout the country, and that is the beginning of an irreversible process of self-liberation.

Also, I do not agree with your too one-sided, description of the Russian character – but I am not going to charge you with Russophobia, as some critics of your essay are doing in their samizdat writings [unofficial underground typescripts]. I see the origin of such charges precisely in your striving for detachment.

I would say that the second part of your essay is less convincing than the first. To predict the future of relations between China and the Soviet Union is certainly a less firmly based undertaking (because of our ignorance of secret diplomacy, the impossibility of reconstructing for ourselves the special atmosphere of international bargaining and agreements, etc.) than to analyse the psychology and ideology of our society, which you have done so successfully.

Lastly, I would like to add to the list of your essay’s merits its fine language and the elegance with which you have expounded your thoughts.

Respectfully yours, Pyotr Yakir

28 March 1970,