Prisoners in Perm camps, December 1974 (33.6)

<<No 33 : 10 December 1974>>

A List of those known to the Chronicle

PREFACE

Some comments are necessary as a preface to this list.

1.

For easier reference, the prisoners in the list below are divided into groups according to the type of their “case”. This grouping is, however, not in any way meant to be an attempt at a strict ‘classification’ based on the essential facts of each case concerned: this would be too difficult in many instances because of insufficient information.

Each prisoner is classified according to the kind of charge brought against him, though often, when several charges are involved, it is difficult to single out the main one. The division can, therefore, only be relative and largely arbitrary. For instance, many of those in the Ukrainian “intake” of 1971-1973 could be included among those convicted for ‘ideological crimes’ — samizdat, letters and petitions (Ivan Svetlichny, Igor Kalynets, Nikolai Gorbal, Alexei Reznikov and others); and the same could be said to apply to some of the Lithuanians. Indeed, in the great majority of political trials, during recent years at least, it has been ideological motives which have, generally speaking, provided the reason for conviction. However, the authorities have defined all these people, be it the Ukrainians or the Lithuanians, as nationalists.

On the other hand, such ‘group’ cases as that of D. Grinkov can be seen to be related to ‘national’ movements; while groups like that of O. Frolov may be regarded as involving ‘ideological’ activities. Therefore, for the sake of convenience, those persons convicted for ‘forming groups” have been classified together in a separate category. In the process this category has incorporated, for example, the ‘case’ of Lukyanenko, which is widely regarded as having been fabricated by the Lvov KGB. (Concerning this, see V. Chomovil’s book, known in samizdat as “The Green Book” [see The Chornovil papers, 1968].)

Another example is that of those convicted in the famous Leningrad ‘aeroplane’ trial; here below, they are placed in the category of ‘Zionists’, although, strictly speaking, they ought to have been classified among the people who have tried to leave the USSR. ‘Zionists’ is a self-description on the part of the ‘aeroplane people’.

2.

It should be borne in mind that there may be errors in the dividing of the prisoners into groups. For example, among the Lithuanians listed under ‘national movement’ there are some of whom the Chronicle knows only their names and terms of imprisonment; among these there may be some persons convicted for collaboration with the Germans during the war.

3.

The reader should be warned against the temptation to use the number of prisoners listed in each category to calculate the numerical correlation between various categories of prisoners; the information on the prisoners in the Perm camps is not comprehensive, so it is impossible to indicate how far the numerical correlation in the list corresponds to the real situation. For instance, there is hardly any information on prisoners convicted for religious offences, but this does not mean that there are no such prisoners in the Perm political camps.

4.

In cases where articles of the Criminal Codes of the non-Russian Republics are concerned, these have been ‘translated’ into the corresponding articles of the RSFSR Code. It should be noted, though, that the texts of the corresponding articles are not always identical.

NOTE

This list was extensively annotated in the English edition. Here the amendations made on the basis of corrections in subsequent issues of the Chronicle (especially Nos. 34 and 35) are not separately recorded; information added by the English editors has been included in the individual entry as a [NOTE: ] rather than as a footnote or an end note.

Abbreviations used

  • CCE = Chronicle of Current Events (Moscow)
  • CHR = A Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR (New York)
  • OUN = Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists [1929 onwards]
  • SKK = Council of the Colony Collective [see 1.7 “War Criminals”]
  • UPA = Ukrainian Insurgent Army [1942 onwards]

*

1. Prisoners in Camp 35 (VS-389/35), see below

(2. Prisoners in Camp 36, VS-389/36)

1.1 – CHARGES RELATING TO SAMIZDAT, LETTERS, PETITIONS & PROTESTS

(1) Meshener, Josif: 39 years old, history teacher in a school in the town of Bendery. In 1969 he was expelled from the Party and dismissed from his job for a letter on the Czechoslovak question sent to the Central Committee. He then wrote to the United Nations about his letter and the consequences. Arrested in 1970 (CCE 16.10, item 9). Sentence— six years, Article 70.

  • Co-defendant: Ya. Suslensky.

(2) Gluzman, Semyon (Samuel): 27 years old, psychiatrist. Arrested on 11 May 1972, tried for samizdat activity under Article 70; sentenced to seven years in camps and three years’ exile (CCE 28). Well-known as the author of “An ‘in Absentia’ Psychiatric Report on the Case of P.G. Grigorenko”.

[NOTE: See French text in Cahiers du Samizdat, Brussels, 1973, (May, No. 9) and Russian text in Russkaya mysl Paris (12 April 1973). In July 1975, the Royal Society of Psychiatrists sent a telegram of moral support to Gluzman and protested to the Soviet authorities about his imprisonment. See texts in The Observer, London, 20 July 1975.]

(3) Superfin, Gabriel Gavrilovich: 30 years old, literary critic and literary historian. (Article 70, sentence — five years in camps and two years’ exile.) He was arrested on 3 July 1973. Convicted in May 1974, basically for collecting material for the Chronicle of Current Events and for participating in its publication. For Superfin’s trial, see CCE 32.3. He arrived at the camp in September.

(4) Zhuchkov, Konstantin Vasilyevich: 48 years old, a worker. Wrote anonymous letters to various organizations. Article 70, sentence — three years.

1.2 – BELONGING TO “ANTI-SOVIET ORGANIZATIONS”

(5) Pavlenkov, Vladlen Konstantinovich: 45 years old, until his arrest taught history at a technical college in Gorky [Nizhny Novgorod]. Arrested in October 1969 on charges of trying to set up an anti-Soviet organization (on the “Gorky case”, see CCE 11.15, item 13; CCE 12.4 and CCE 13.3). Articles 70 & 72, sentence — seven years.

(6) Gavrilov, Gennady Vladimirovich: b. 1939, engineer, Lieutenant-Captain in the Soviet Navy; was a member of the Party.

In the autumn of 1968, at an officers’ meeting, he described the entry of troops into Czechoslovakia as an act of aggression. In February 1969 he was, in a single day, expelled from the Party, dismissed from his job and transferred to the naval reserve. In June of the same year he was arrested, and, in 1970, sentenced to six years in camps. He was charged under Articles 70 & 72 with founding an illegal organization, the ‘Union to Struggle for Political Freedom’, with writing theoretical politico-philosophical works and distributing them, and with attempting to organize the underground publication of a newspaper, “The Democrat” (for “The case of the Baltic Fleet Officers” see CCE 11.5 and CCE 15.4, item 1). In June 1974 Gavrilov was pardoned (CCE 32).

  • Co-defendants: Kosyrev (two years, released in 1971) and Paramonov.

Gennady Paramonov, a re-enlisted petty officer, was an external student in the Faculty of Philosophy and History of Tartu University, and a Komsomol leader in the garrison at Paldiski. Was ruled non-responsible for his actions and is now in his fifth year of internment in the Chernyakhovsk Special Psychiatric Hospital.

(7) Ogurtsov, Igor Vyacheslavovich: b. 1937, expert on oriental languages, worked as a translator from Japanese. One of the leaders of the All-Russian Social-Christian Union for the Liberation of the People (ASCULP) (for trial, see CCE 1.6; see also CCE 4.7, item 1; and CCE 19.4). Articles 64, 70 & 72. Sentence — seven years in prison (which ended this year), eight years in camps and five years’ exile.

(8) Davidenko, Georgy Mikhailovich: 27 years old, a metalworker from Nizhny Tagil, formerly a member of the Party. Sentence — four years. Arrested in March 1971 in connection with the case of the “Revolutionary Party of Soviet Intellectuals”. The case was examined by the Sverdlovsk Region Court in the middle of November 1971. [NOTE: The trial is described in some detail, but without the defendants’ names, in CCE 24-11, item 1.]

The Revolutionary Party of Soviet Intellectuals (RPSI) was formed as a result of a merger between the so-called ‘intellectuals’ and an organization called URC (Urals Regional Committee, founded in April 1970; Secretary, Lavrentyeva); at the URC third regional conference, in August 1970, Davidenko was appointed ‘president’. They set up a printing press, held meetings, wrote and distributed articles: “Trampolism” and “The Birth of New Classes and the Struggle in the Era of Socialism”. The verdict refers to these articles as making assertions about the degradation of socialist society and the degeneration of the Komsomol. The Chronicle has no information on the ideological position of this organization; it is only known that they called themselves ‘anti-trampolists’, but what is meant by the term ‘trampolism’ is not clear.

Davidenko’s co-defendants:

  • Spinenko, Vasily (wrote under the pseudonym Smolin), b. 1945, a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy at Donetsk University, the “ideologist of the organization”; declared mentally incompetent, not responsible for his actions and interned for “compulsory psychiatric treatment”;
  • Kiselev, Alexander Ivanovich, b. 1951, a metalworker in a mine in the town of Makeyevka. Sentence — three years; now released;
  • Belomesov and Semiletov (see Camp 36, 2.2 “Anti-Soviet Organisations”).

The fate of two workers from Nizhny Tagil is unknown: Babishcheva, Evgenia Kirillovna, b. 1948, and Lavrentyeva, Natalya Dmitrievna, b. 1950.

(9) Kandyba, Ivan Alexeyevich: Ukrainian. Arrested in 1961 and sentenced to 15 years — apparently under Articles 64, 70 & 72 — for participation in the ‘case’ of Lukyanenko (see V. Chornovil, “The Green Book”).

(10) Dyak, Mikhail Dmitrievich: 39 years old, Ukrainian; until his arrest he was a neighbourhood commissioner, with the rank of police-lieutenant, in the Dolinsk district of the Ivano-Frankovsk Region. Arrested in March 1967 as one of the leaders of the “Ukrainian National Front” (on the case of the UNF, see CCE 17.7). Articles 64, 72 and 218 (illegal possession of weapons or explosives). Sentence — five years in prison (which he has served), seven years in camps and five years in exile.

Mikhail Dyak is seriously ill; the authorities proposed to him that he write a plea for a pardon, promising that this would be granted. Dyak refused.

(11) Demidov, Dmitry llych: 26 years old, Ukrainian, engineer. Arrested on 13 April 1973 in connection with the case of the “Union of the Ukrainian Youth of Galicia”. The verdict stated that Demidov “effectively took upon himself the responsibilities of deputy leader for ideological questions concerning the organization’s activities”. Articles 70 & 72, and an accomplice under Article 218-1, Pt 2 (stealing firearms, ammunition or explosives). Sentence — five years.

(12) Melekh, Nikolai: b. 1930, Ukrainian. Arrested in Lvov in 1961. Sentence — 15 years. Melekh’s four co-defendants were executed by shooting. It is known that the case is described in the book Ferment in the Ukraine, [1971] published in England.

1.3 – ZIONISTS

(13-15) Three of those convicted in the “Trial of the ‘Hijackers'” in Leningrad in 1970 (CCE 17.6):

  • Khnokh, Arie-Leib: 30 years old, a worker. Sentence — ten years.
  • Mendelevich, Josif: 27 years old, up to his arrest a student at the Riga Polytechnic Institute. Sentence — 12 years. Transferred to Camp 35 from Camp 36.
  • Altman, Anatoly: 33 years old, worked as a joiner until his arrest. Sentence — ten years.

All charged under Articles 64 (via 15), 70 & 72 and 93-1 (grand larceny of State property).

(16-17) Two of those convicted at the “Aeroplane Affair” trial in Leningrad in 1971 (CCE 20.1):

  • Yagman, Lev Naumovich: 33 years old, engineer. Sentence — five years. Articles 70 & 72 and 189 (being an accessory before the fact, Article 93-1).
  • Butman, Gilel Israilevich: 42 years old, engineer. Sentence — ten years. Articles 64 (via 17), 70 & 72 and 189.

All the above-mentioned count the start of their sentences front June 1970.

(18) Shkolnik, Isaac: 37 years old, a metalworker from Vinnitsa. He was preparing to emigrate from the USSR. Arrested at the beginning of July 1972.

At first, he was charged under Article 190-1 with ‘anti-Soviet conversations’, at work and with friends. Later charged with espionage on behalf of Israel (according to information in A Chronicle of Human Rights, No. 1, on behalf of Britain). A military tribunal in Vinnitsa, having investigated Shkolnik’s case, from the 29 March to 11 April 1973, sentenced him to ten years in camps. On 3 July [1974?] the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court reduced Shkolnik’s sentence to seven years.

1.4 – PERSONS ATTEMPTING TO LEAVE THE USSR

(19) Balakhonov, Vladimir: worked as a translator with the permanent Soviet delegation at the United  Nation’s Meteorological Organization in Switzerland. Decided not to return to the USSR; then changed his mind and returned to Moscow on 1 December 1972. The Soviet Consul had assured Balakhonov that he would not be subjected to any persecution. Balakhonov asserts that he had been well aware of the risks involved, but decided to return, nevertheless, because he could not bear the separation from his family.

In Moscow Balakhonov was summoned to the KGB several times and threatened; he was arrested on 7 January 1973. Article 64 — sentence 12 years.

[NOTE: Two documents, written by Balakhonov in 1974 and summarized in CCE 35, have reached the West. 0ne, an appeal to the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, was given to the addressee by the Swiss section of Amnesty in Geneva in summer 1975. On 11 July 1975 a demonstration for Balakhonov took place in Geneva.]

(20) Gladko, Georgy Vladimirovich: an ex-soldier. Escaped abroad from the Potsdam military prison. Sentence — 12 or 13 years, beginning in 1962 [see CCE 9.11; CCE 11.3 and 35].

(21) Valdman, I.: Estonian, a soldier. Crossed the Soviet-Czechoslovak border. Article 64, sentence — 12 years.

(22) Lychak, Ukrainian, perhaps a soldier. Attempted to cross the border; sentence — eight or 12 years; has about two years left to serve.

(23) Kruglyak, a sailor. Attempted to escape abroad. Sentence — 12 years; has about four years left to serve.

(24) Vendysh, a sailor. Attempted to escape abroad; sentence — 12 years; he was convicted in about 1970. [NOTE: See also CHR, 1973, Nos. 5-6, where some details differ: there Vendysh is reported to be a Jew born in 1947 and sentenced to 15 years after trying to escape from a Soviet ship in the Mediterranean in 1967. In 1972 he was in Mordovian Camp 19.]

See More …