News in Brief, March 1972 (24.11)

<<No 24 : 5 March 1972>>



Between 10 and 18 November 1971 the Sverdlovsk Region Court, E. A. Solomentsev presiding, heard the case of a group of persons arrested in March 1971 and indicted under Articles 70 and 72 of the Russian Criminal Code (anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda and the creation of an anti-Soviet organisation).

The investigation was carried out in Sverdlovsk and a number of other cities (including Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk and Gorky) by a team of investigators led by Lt.-Col. P. T. Smolikov, Senior Investigator for Especially Important Cases, of the Sverdlovsk Region KGB. Seven of the accused were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment (from two to five years) in strict-regime, corrective-labour camps.

One was judged by the court to be of unsound mind and sent for compulsory treatment. His examination in the Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry (which took place over a period of about two months in the department of D. R. Lunts, and which diagnosed schizophrenia and persecution mania) was preceded by a one-month, in-patient examination in the Sverdlovsk Region forensic-psychiatric unit, which found the subject to be of sound mind and answerable for the actions on which he had been indicted.

The names of the accused, the details of the indictment and the exact conditions under which the trial was held are unknown.



From 12 to 15 January the Moscow Region Court (Judge Shevtsov presiding) considered the case of V. N. Nikitenkov (see CCE 19.// [and 20]), indicted under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code for sending letters to the UN Secretary-General and the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet.

Earlier a diagnostic commission at the Serbsky Institute had found Nikitenkov to be suffering from “mild schizophrenia” and recommended treatment in a hospital of ordinary type. Defence counsel Kamenetsky, while disputing the charge under Article 70, raised no objection to the recommendation of the diagnostic commission. The Procurator demanded compulsory treatment in a psychiatric hospital “of Special Type”. The verdict of the court satisfied the Procurator’s demand. At present V. N. Nikitenkov is in the Kazan Special Psychiatric Hospital.


In December 1971 Kim Saifullovich Davletov, was arrested. He is a senior research officer in the department of dialectical materialism at the USSR Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Philosophy, and a member of the Institute’s Party committee. Davletov was engaged in a study of the aesthetics of folk-lore. Previously he worked at the Institute of World Literature, and has held the degree of a Master of Philological Science since 1962.


Ilya Glezer [aged 41], Master of Biological Sciences, was arrested on 7 February 1972. He is the author of a book on the morphology of the brain [The Brain in Graphs and Numbers] which has been published in the USSR, the USA and East Germany, and teaches as a visiting lecturer at Moscow University. Recently he has been unable to find a permanent job and has been forced to work as a consultant. At present Glezer is in Lefortovo Prison while his case is under investigation [note 1]. In the search warrant I. Glezer is accused of writing letters to the government of the USSR and of circulating them. During the search a letter to Podgorny was confiscated, as were some notes which, judging by the entries in the record of the search, deal with the Jewish question.

A month before his arrest Ilya Glezer submitted his documents to OVIR for emigration to Israel.



On 8 September 1962 Anatoly Radygin [note 2] was arrested while attempting to cross the border with Turkey by sea. He was later sentenced to ten years under Articles 64 (betrayal of the fatherland) and 70 of the Russian Criminal Code.

V. Radygin was born in Leningrad in 1934 of a Jewish mother and a Russian father. He is a graduate of the Naval Academy. Within a brief period of time he served and worked on the Black Sea, in the North and in the [Soviet] Far East. At an early age he began to write poetry, and his work was first published in 1954. Later his verses began to appear regularly on the pages of Leningrad collections, anthologies and newspapers. In 1962 a collection of verses by Radygin, The Salt of the Ocean, was issued by Sovetsky Pisatel publishers.

Since autumn 1969 Radygin has been held in Vladimir Prison (Vladimir-20, institution OD-l/st-2) “because of his inclination for attempting to escape”.

In autumn 1971 Radygin took the decision, once released on 8 September 1972, to apply for permission to emigrate to Israel. With this aim in mind he assumed his mother’s nationality and surname, but he was told by the administration of Vladimir Prison that this (the change of name) was not possible. Not even a three-week hunger strike, which Radygin held in October 1971, achieved any result.


On 5 December 1971 the traditional “one minute’s silence” was held in Pushkin Square in Moscow: about 40 or 50 people stood for one minute, silent and bareheaded, around the Pushkin memorial [note 3].

Because this demonstration has become a tradition — it has taken place each year since 1965 — the authorities were also prepared for it. By 6 pm there were far more KGB and MVD officers (including three generals), rank-and-file policemen and “peope’s vigilantes” in the square than demonstrators. About a quarter of an hour before the “minute”, the guardians of law and order set about pushing the public away from the memorial.

5 December, Pushkin Square demonstration

During the “minute” itself three men were seized and taken away to Moscow vigilante headquarters in Sovetskaya Square: Boris Yefimov, Yury Shtein (a member of the Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights) and Ivan Rudakov [note 4]. After brief “interviews” they were released; a KGB officer who conducted one of the interviews said: “Next year there’ll be no demonstration on 5 December.” Among those who took part in the “one minute’s silence” was A. D. Sakharov. The police detained P. Yakir on his way to Pushkin Square and released him from the police station about two hours later.

The Chronicle apologises for the fact that this report was not included in the last issue.


At the beginning of March fifteen prisoners in a camp of ordinary type (Obukhovo, OS-20/6 [note 4], Leningrad Region) sewed up their mouths in protest against the conditions of their confinement in the camp.

Six of them, without psychiatric examination or trial, were immediately transferred to the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital, while the remainder were locked up in the punishment cells. After this incident the camp commandant was relieved of his post.


In October 1971 250 prisoners in a camp near Simferopol [Crimea] held a hunger strike. Their reasons are unknown.


In December 1971 Larissa Iosifovna Bogoraz-Brukhman [wife of Yuly Daniel], sentenced for taking part in the Red Square demonstration on 25 August 1968 (CCE 4.1), returned to Moscow on completing her sentence (exile) [note 5].


On 22 January Alexander Ginzburg was released from Vladimir Prison after serving a five-year sentence (including one-and-a-half years in Vladimir Prison). He is now living in the town of Tarusa, Kaluga Region [Central Russia].


At the beginning of February Victor Balashov was released from Camp No 10 in Mordovia after serving ten years under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code.


On 22 February 1972 Natalya Gorbanevskaya (for her trial, CCE 15.1) was released after spending more than two years in prison and in the Kazan Special Psychiatric Hospital [note 6].


In the middle of February the Moscow City Court terminated the compulsory treatment of Valeria Novodvorskaya (CCE 23.7, item 7). She was home by the end of February.


On 17 February 1972 the period during which Anatoly Marchenko was under police supervision came to an end.


At the beginning of January Nadezhda Yemelkina (CCE 20.11, item 14; CCE 23.2) arrived in the town of Yeniseisk [Siberia]. Her address is: Yeniseisk, Krasnoyarsk Region, 5 Lytkina St, Apt 2. At present she is working as a stoker.


On 8 January 1972 a routine examination of Pyotr Grigorievich Grigorenko took place. The examining commission resolved to extend his term of compulsory treatment.


At the beginning of 1972 two new Special Psychiatric Hospitals were opened in the USSR: in Blagoveshchensk (Far East) and Kzyl-Orda (Kazakhstan).


Jak Leiwand of Tallinn (b. 1949) is being held in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital. In August 1971 he attempted to cross the [Finnish] frontier near Vyborg.


In March 1971 a meeting between Yury Vudka, who is serving a sentence in Mordovia [see CCE 12, 14, 18, 22], and his wife A. Gurevich was terminated because Vudka and his wife were conversing with each other in their native language (Yiddish).

A. Gurevich immediately sent a complaint to the Procurator of the Russian Republic. In December 1971 V. Chalidze also sent the Procurator a letter on the same subject. As yet there has been no reply [note 7].


At the end of 1971 Pavel Ivanovich Igoshin [see CCE 17.//, Supplement] was transferred from his camp to “the chemical works”, i.e. to the construction site of a large chemicals plant, where prisoners live as free men and perform compulsory labour until the expiry of their sentences. Igoshin was arrested in May 1969 and sentenced to four years under Articles 130, 180 and 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code. On several previous occasions he had been refused a transfer to “a chemical works” [note 8].


On 19 February a group of Jews who had gathered, as always on a Saturday, in front of the Kiev synagogue, were for no reason at all seized by men in plain clothes and taken to the police station. Four of those detained – Natan Remennik, Lina Umanskaya, Vitaly Zyryanov and Solomon Feldman – were sentenced to fifteen days’ imprisonment. A similar “operation” was also carried out on the following Saturday.


A group of Jews from the Baltic Republic have sent a letter to the Board of the USSR Union of Writers on the subject of F. Ya. Kolar’s book Zionism and Anti-Semitism (Progress publishers: Moscow, 1971), and another letter to the Moscow Region Procurator about Ivan Shevtsov’s book Love and Hate (Voenizdat).

The letters demonstrate the reactionary and anti-Semitic [chernosotenny] nature of the books: passages are quoted and a number of propositions in the former book are analysed. The authors of the first letter demand that Literaturnaya gazeta publish their reply to Kolar. The authors of the second letter request the institution of criminal proceedings against Shevtsov under Article 74 (“incitement to hatred on the grounds of race or nationality”).


One of the speakers at a trade-union meeting at the Pskov Medical Institute in December 1971 stated that shortly before the meeting he had a private conversation with G[leb] Pavlovsky, a lecturer, who had expressed extremely harmful views. A few days later Pavlovsky and his wife were summoned by the local KGB. After an interview-cum-interrogation Pavlovsky was made to give an undertaking not to acquire, pass about or possess samizdat, and to dissuade  others from doing so.


Information on the family of Leonid Plyushch (see this issue, CCE 24.3):

Wife: Tatyana Ilyinichna Zhitnikova.

Children: Dima – born 5 July 1959; Oles – born 1 July 1965.

Address: Kiev K-147, 33 Entuziastov St, Apt 36.

Plyushch is in the investigation prison of the Ukrainian KGB: Kiev-3, AYa-207.



[Commentary No 24]

[1] In a dispatch of 9 March Reuter reported that 72 Soviet Jews had appealed to the KGB for Glezer’s release.

[2] Not “Rodygin”, as written in earlier issues of the Chronicle (see Reddaway, pp. 218, 220). See also Radygin’s poems, written in Vladimir Prison, published abroad in Vestnik RSKhD No. 101-102, 1971 (pp. 231-8).

[3] The annual 5 December (Consitution Day) demonstration on Pushkin Square in Moscow, was first held in 1965 as a protest against lack of media and public access to the trial of Sinyavsky and Daniel. That first protest is sometimes referred to as the “Glasnost Rally”.

[4] On Yefimov and Rudakov see Reddaway, op. cit. In early 1972 Yefimov and Shtein emigrated from the USSR.

[5] Probably a misprint, as the standard address code for Leningrad Region is US-20.

[6] See the important open letters criticizing Soviet penal labour legislation which Larissa Bogoraz wrote in exile: Possev, 9-i spets. vypusk, October 1971 (pp. 53-59).

[7] Two weeks earlier Natalya Gorbanevskaya’s Red Square at Noon and D. Weissbort’s Selected Poems by Natalya Gorbanevskaya (with a transcript of her Trial and Papers Relating to her Detention in a Prison Psychiatric Hospital) were published in London.

[8] As reported in NBSJ, Vudka and his brother Valery have taken part in several hunger strikes in recent months.

[9] Being sent to “the chemical works” was a two-edged choice. A prisoner regained his or her freedom but worked in dangerous and unhealthy conditions where little attention was paid to health and safety regulations.