News from the Mordovian Camps and Vladimir Prison, Aug-Oct 1971 (22.4)

<<No 22 : 10 November 1971>>


From 7 to 14 August Yury Vudka (Camp 19) carried out a hunger-strike; the reason for the strike was the administration’s ban on anyone having a Bible in the camp [on Vudka, see CCE 12.4; CCE 14.7; and CCE 18.4].


From 21 to 23 August the following carried out a hunger-strike in Vladimir Prison: Valery E. Ronkin [CCE 18], Lev B. Kvachevsky [CCE 1, 3, 5, 18 and others], Anatoly Rodygin [CCE 4, 11, 18], Valery Vudka [CCE 12, 14 and 18] and Boris  Shilkrot [CCE 14 and 17] (it is not known when Shikrot was brought to Vladimir from Mordovia). The strike was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the sending of troops into Czechoslovakia.


Another hunger-strike took place in Dubrovlag, Camp No. 19 in September, in connection with the groundless transfer to Vladimir Prison of Alexander Romanov (see supplement to CCE 17; he was convicted in the “Saratov case” [CCE 12]). The participants in the strike were Anatoly Altman [CCE 17], Yu. Vudka, Mikhail Kapranov [CCE 13], S. Khakhayev, I. Cherdyntsev, Mikhail Shepshelovich [CCE 18 and the Supplement to No. 17] and others – fourteen people in all.


Several people carried out a hunger-strike in Dubrovlag, Camp 3 in September; the reason was the arbitrary curtailment of visits.


From 10 to 12 September a hunger-strike was carried out in Dubrovlag, Camp No. 17 in protest at deliberate offences against prisoners’ relatives (the illegal curtailment of personal [conjugal] visits [under which wives could spend 2-3 days with their husbands in private], parcels and so on). The participants included N. Bondar,[12] Gennady V. Gavrilov [see CCE 11, 15 and 17], Yury Galanskov, Semyon A. Grilyus [CCE 14], Nikolai V. Ivanov [CCE 17, 18], Joseph Mendelevich [CCE 17], A. Chekhovskoi and Gilel Shur [CCE 14].


In September the Latvian Gunars Rode (of the “Baltic Federation” case [13]) was taken seriously ill in Vladimir Prison.

For seven days he was given no medical attention; only after his comrades had carried out a protest hunger-strike was he taken to the prison hospital, where he was operated upon. The diagnosis: twisted bowels. G. Rode was discharged a week after the operation and placed on general rations, for which a diet was not substituted until some time later.


In September, by means of a hunger-strike, Leonid Borodin [see CCE 1, 11, 18] (Vladimir Prison) secured a transfer from a cell which he had been sharing with Tarasov, a prisoner who is mentally ill. Since his hunger-strike Borodin, who suffers from a stomach ulcer, has not been receiving dietetic rations.


The health of Silva Zalmanson [see CCE 17, 18] has deteriorated sharply: her deafness and blindness are becoming progressively worse. [14] At present she is in the camp hospital.


In September, Camp No. 17-a was visited by a commission consisting of: Sokolov, a secretary of the Moscow City  Party committee; [N. 1] Funtov, an official of the USSR Procuracy; B. N. Toporin, Doctor of jurisprudence; A. I. Kosachev, a senior lecturer at Moscow University; A. I. Arkhipov, an officer of the Institute of Economics; a foreman from the “Ball-bearing” factory (name unknown); and P. P. Bardov, an official of the KGB.

The members of the commission interviewed political prisoners G. V. Gavrilov, Yu. T. Galanskov, N. V. Ivanov, V. K. Pavlenkov [CCE 13] and Yu. I. Fyodorov [CCE 12] (who was returned to the camp from Vladimir Prison this year). The subject of the interview was the early release of the above-mentioned prisoners. The political prisoners demanded complete legal exculpation.


V. Simokaitis (See CCE 18.//) has arrived in, Camp ZhKh 385/3. At the beginning of April 1971.

Simokaitis was transferred from the death-cell of a prison in Lithuania to Lefortovo (in Moscow), where he spent about three months. At the beginning of July 1971 the death sentence was commuted to fifteen years of strict-regime camps. It is of interest that Western [press] agencies reported this as an accomplished fact in mid-January [as did CCE 18 on 5 March].


The Lithuanian sailor Simas Kudirka, convicted of attempting to flee from a Soviet ship to an American vessel (see CCE 18-20), is in Dubrovlag, Camp No. 3. He was recently deprived of the right to use the camp shop for refusing to attend political instruction.

In September Kudirka was interviewed by members of a “delegation of the Lithuanian public”, which was visiting various Dubrovlag camps. They insisted that Kudirka acknowledge himself to be an ordinary criminal [i.e. not a political], threatening that otherwise they would present him in the Lithuanian press as an immoral individual.


By the beginning of October 1971 the following participants in “Jewish trials” were in the Mordovian camps: [15]

[The five trials  were: [16] The Leningrad trial of the “hijackers”, December 1970, CCE 17.6.; [17] The Leningrad trial of persons connected with the “aeroplane affair”, May 1971, CCE 20.1; [18] the Riga “trial of the four”, May 1971, CCE 20.2; [19] the Kishinyov “trial of the nine’’, June 1971, CCE 20.3; [20] Vulf Zalmanson was convicted by a Leningrad Military Tribunal in January 1971.]

Camp No. 3 –  S. Dreizner, [17] V. Zalmanson, [20] I. Zalmanson, [16] S. Levit, [19], and V. Mogilyover. [17]

Camp No. 3 (women’s) –  S. Zalmanson, [16] and R. Alexandrovich [18] (released on 7 October).

Camp No. 17 –  A. Voloshin, [19] L. Khnokh, [16] A. Shpilberg. [18]

Camp No. 17-a –  J. Mendelevich, [16] G. Shur. [19]

Camp No. 19 –  A. Altman, [16] A. Galperin, [19] A. Goldfeld, [19], L. Kaminsky, [17] Kh. Kizhner, [19] L. Korenblit, [17] B. Penson, [16], M. Shepshelovich, [18] and  L. Yagman. [17]

Camp No. 10 (special-regime) –  E. Kuznetsov, [16] A. Murzhenko, [16] Yu. Fyodorov. [16]

Bodnya [16] is also in Mordovia, but in an “ordinary” [i.e. for non-politicals] hard-regime camp.


On 1 November 1971 A. Osipov, head of the Directorate of ZhKh 385 (Dubrovlag) [i.e. the whole complex of 15 camps], rejected a petition by the mother of E. Kuznetsov, Zinaida Vasilyevna Kuznetsova, who had asked for her son to be allowed to see his wife S. Zalmanson, who is in another camp in the same complex.

According to his regime Kuznetsov is allowed one personal and one general visit per year. Since Z.V. Kuznetsova is seriously ill in an invalids’ home (she recently suffered a stroke and is almost completely paralysed) and is therefore unable to visit her son herself, she submitted her petition on 18 September 1971 to the Chief Directorate of Penal Institutions at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs. Her request was passed on to Osipov, head of ZhKh 385, who rejected it.



[12] Bondar was a former university teacher in the Ukraine, according to a Reuter dispatch of 9 December 1971.

[13] On the Baltic Federation case see the “Register of People Sentenced in the 1960s”, an important samizdat document containing extensive details on 97 political prisoners, including many of their home addresses, in Possev: Devyatyi spetsialnyi vypusk, Frankfurt, October 1971, pp. 45-51. This Register includes many of the prisoners mentioned in this report, CCE 22.4.

[14] Reuter and U.P.I. dispatches of 26 November 1971 reported that Silva Zalmanson’s brother Samuel, supported by 67 others, had asked President Podgorny for her release and for permission for her to leave for Israel.

[15] For the lay-out of 15 of the Dubrovlag camps along a 30-mile railway line in Mordovia see the map in M. Browne, Ferment in the Ukraine, reprinted in Reddaway, Uncensored Russia.