Letters and Statements by Political Prisoners, 1977-1978 (48.10)

<<No 48 : 14 March 1978>>

Georgy Davydov: “Statement to Chairman of the Constitution Commission, L.I. Brezhnev” (Vladimir Prison, 15 June 1977)

Davydov writes that in the draft [1977] Constitution the question of freedom of thought and convictions has again been side-stepped.

Mikhail Osadchy: “To the American people, the Senate and US President Carter”

The author tells about himself. He has published a number of works of fiction and literary research, defended a Ph.D. dissertation (philology) and worked as a senior lecturer at Lvov University. He has twice been sentenced for political reasons: in 1965 and in 1972, the second time being for the short novel Cataract which was published in the West. He is at present serving a 7-year term in Mordovian Camp 1, after which he is faced with 3 years’ exile.

Osadchy writes of how the authorities are dealing with him and his relatives, using criminals for the purpose (see his letter to Brezhnev in CCE 47). In 1975 he was beaten up by criminals in the transit prison at Potma. Now he has been promised that he will be killed when he is in exile.

In conclusion Osadchy asks to be given American citizenship since he considers the USA to be a bulwark of peace, justice and freedom, and a close friend of Ukrainians and the Ukraine.

Yevgrafov, Karavansky, Kuznetsov, Murzhenko, Osadchy, Romanyuk, Tikhy, Fyodorov, Shumuk: “A Memorandum to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet”

The authors consider that a crime bordering on genocide is being committed in relation to them. They tell how at the end of 1976 the camp administration instigated an outburst of hostile actions by the common criminals against the political prisoners. Criminals were permitted to insult political prisoners, beat them up and prepare mass reprisals. Offensive weapons were prepared in large quantities in the zone. The authors tell of S. Shinkevich’s letters (see this issue, “In the Prisons and Camps“, CCE 48.10). The document ends with the following statement:

“1. The [1948] Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide has been ratified by the government of the USSR and should be observed. For this reason we protest categorically against the genocide being practised on us and demand an end to it, and also the punishment of those guilty of instigating and carrying out the genocide.

“2. We declare: although Soviet prison legislation is the most severe of any now existing, Soviet prison practice is altogether inhuman, and therefore we demand, as a minimum, that prison practice should be brought into line with the declarations of the USSR Constitution and with the articles of the Corrective Labour Code.

“If we do not receive an assurance from the organs of the KGB that they will cease their complicity in crimes of genocide, we shall have to appeal with a similar memorandum to the following instances:

  • [a] to the International Court;
  • [b] to the UN Commission on Human Rights;
  • [c] to the governments of countries signatory to the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”.
  • [d] to the governments of the [35] countries participating in the European conference [on Security and Cooperation, CSCE].

Yevgrafov, Karavansky, Kuznetsov, Rebrik, Romanyuk, Tikhy, Murzhenko, Fyodorov, Shumuk (Kuznetsov signed for Murzhenko and Fyodorov, Romanyuk for Shumuk):

“An appeal from political prisoners of Camps 1-6 [Mordovia] to all democratic organisations of the world, to the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in the USSR, to the Group to Assist the Implementation of the Helsinki Agreements” (December 1977)

The document tells of incidents of the beating up of political prisoners, especially frequent during transit, when political prisoners are separated from their fellow-prisoners. Further it says:

“… Assurances by the present Soviet rulers that they have condemned the lawlessness of the time of Stalin and Beria are false, if only in that even those who personally tortured and killed are not only not brought to trial but are even now endowed with especial honour as faithful henchmen.

“The intolerably severe conditions of this concentration camp, the thuggery of the gaolers, and equally the combination of other objective circumstances force us to conclude that in connection with the adoption of the ‘humane’ Constitution the offensive by the worthies of the repressive apparatus against political prisoners has significantly intensified. As a result of the above, and counteracting the mortal threat hanging over us, we, the political prisoners of the Sosnovka special-regime concentration camp, have decided that in future we will resist the transporting of any of us outside the boundaries of Mordovia. In protest against the new wave of beating up of political prisoners we, the under-signed, declare ourselves to be on hunger- strike from 1 February until 1 March 1978…

“Besides this, we, the under-signed, have decided on the necessity of designating a special day dedicated to the memory of the millions of people martyred in Soviet concentration camps, a day of grief and of summons to just vengeance on the executioners. The world does not have the right to forget either the martyrs of the Soviet dungeons or their executioners. Let this day be called the ‘Day of grief and anger’. We will mark it every year by a hunger-strike on 1 March, and appeal to all people of good will to join us.”

*

An Appeal concerning the formation of an Association of Former Political Prisoners

To the Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights in the USSR, Academician Sakharov
To the Ukrainian Group to Assist the Implementation of the Helsinki Agreements [Ukrainian Helsinki Group].

Bearing in mind:

— that the exceedingly slow and contradictory process of liberalisation of the existing regime gives no grounds to suppose that judicial persecution for political reasons will cease in the foreseeable future in the USSR;

— that the presence of political prisoners in the USSR is not officially acknowledged by the authorities and one of the harshest systems of criminal penal legislation in the world is applied to them just as it is to criminals;

— that the system of the complete isolation of Soviet political prisoners deprives us of legal assistance, including any defence against the libel and misinformation spread by a press which is monopolized by the party;

— that the families of political prisoners, their friends and sympathizers are subjected to various forms of persecution and harassment — right up to depriving them of the means of existence;

— that political prisoners who have completed their terms are subjected for many years, or even for life, to discrimination in finding work, in the choice of where to live, in the possibility of receiving education and in other areas;

— that all attempts to date to support political prisoners and their relatives bore and bear, with all their usefulness, a haphazard and selective character;

— that the situation and needs of political prisoners and their families are especially understandable, immediate and compelling for those who have themselves been in prison, political camps and exile;

we, in agreement with other prisoners of the Mordovian political camps, propose to found in the USSR an Association of Former Political Prisoners, with the aim of providing material assistance and moral support to political prisoners and their families, and also mutual aid.

We envisage such an association as a legal one, not pursuing political aims, covering all of the Soviet Union but having maximum decentralization, uniting all those interested who have been tried for political reasons, irrespective of nationality, party affiliation, ideological position or attitude to the existing regime, i.e. an association which in no way limits any civic activity (pro-government or oppositional) on the part of its members outside the humanitarian tasks of the association, and which bears no responsibility for such activity.

In the event that our proposal is approved in principle we can offer a draft of the statutes of the proposed association for discussion.

Political prisoners of the Mordovian Camps Airikyan P.A., Osadchy M.G., Rebrik B.V., Romanyuk, V.E., Osipov V.N., Soldatov S.I., Chornovil V.M., Shumuk D.L.

10 December 1977

*

Vyacheslav Chornovil: “Statement to the Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet” (24 December 1977)

Chornovil recalls that on 1 March 1975 he announced to the Supreme Soviet his renunciation of citizenship (CCE 37). He states that he now considers himself to be not a Soviet citizen, only a citizen of the Ukraine, but that he is withdrawing his demand to emigrate from the USSR since he does not have “the moral right to escape and is obliged to share with his people all its misfortunes.”

Vyacheslav Chornovil: “Statement to the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR” (12 January 1978)

The letter is written on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the arrests among the Ukrainian intelligentsia. He writes:

… I protest against the continuation of the practice of ‘deciding’ national problems with the help of barbed wire and moral murders.

From our people is taken a heavy tribute not only in natural resources and sweated labour, but also we pay the greatest toll in Ukrainian patriots, people of thought and action.

Thousands of them have passed in latter years through the dungeons of the Gulag Archipelago, and today we bow our heads low before the memory of the sons and daughters of our people with those bones are paved, and with whose blood are spattered, the mines and constructions built by ‘shock workers’…

Further Chornovil enumerates the names known to him of [51] political prisoners, Ukrainians by nationality, who are at present in the Camps of Mordovia and Perm, in Vladimir Prison, in special psychiatric hospitals, in KGB investigation prisons and in exile. He demands their immediate release. Here is the list: Z. Antonyuk, D. Basarab, N. Budulak-Sharygin, V. Vasilik, B. Veduta, N. Gamula, V. Glyva, M. Gutsul, K. Dasiv, V. Dolishny, N. Yevgrafov, A. Zdorovy, Igor and Irina Kalynets, D. Kvetsko, N. Konchalovsky, N. Kots, A. Kravets, N. Kurchik, V. Lysenko, V. Lisovoi, M. Marinovich, M. Matusevich, Ya. Mikitko, M. Osadchy, V. Pidgorodetsky, M. Plakhotnyuk, Z. Popadyuk, O. Popovich, E. Prishlyak, E. Pronyuk, B. Rebrik, V. Romanyuk, M. Rudenko, P. Saranchuk, Ye. Sverstyuk, I. Svetlichny, R. Semenyuk, I, Senik, O. Sergiyenko, P. Serednyuk, K. Skripchuk, M. Slobodyan, V. Solodky, S. Sapelyak, V. Stus, O. Tikhy, S. Shabatura, D. Shumuk, Yu. Shukhevich and A. Yuskevich.

The author notes that the list is far from being complete and points out the falsehood of the assertion that there are only a few Ukrainian political prisoners and that they are people condemned for links with foreign intelligence. Chornovil states that in future he will mark 12 January by a one-day hunger-strike “for as long as there remains even one Ukrainian political prisoner behind barbed wire or in a psychiatric hospital”.

*

Sergei Soldatov: “To the government of the USSR” (23 March 1977)

In connection with the anniversary of the coming into force of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [UN, 1968] Soldatov demands the release of all convicted persons whose sentence is longer than 15 years, an end to persecution for beliefs, the release of Ginzburg, Orlov, Rudenko and Tikhy, the introduction of the status of political prisoner and an amnesty for all political prisoners.

The signature reads: “S. Soldatov, believer and citizen”.

Sergei Soldatov: “Declaration. To the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet” (30 October 1977)

1. I declare that, having the sanction of free-thinking society and exercising my elementary right, from 1 November 1977. I officially take upon myself the duties of secretary and ideologist of the Democratic Movement of Estonia (Demokraticheskoe dvizhenie Estonii), which is a regional component of the DMSU, the Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union [See “Corrections and Additions“, CCE 11.16]. My conditions of imprisonment make me treat the heavy burden, which I in effect bore earlier, with an even greater sense of duty. I shall represent the DDE before the existing authorities and the world public.

2. The duties of the president of the DDE, an Estonian by nationality, will be announced later. Temporarily, until this announcement, I take upon myself also the duties of president of the DDE.

3. As secretary and ideologist of the DDE I testify to my unshakeable loyalty to the ideals and principles accepted in democratic circles. The DDE does not have as its aim the overthrow of the existing rulers and does not employ immoral means in the name of its political aims. The immediate aim of the DDE is to give practical assistance to the democratization of society and to strengthen the foundations of justice and legality.

4. As secretary and ideologist of the DDE! publicly petition for the legalization of the DDE as an independent political organization by means of an open constitutional procedure.

As a minimal and primary measure Soldatov proposes the extension of an amnesty for political prisoners, and meanwhile he demands the speedy transfer of all political prisoners to the status of political prisoner.

Soldatov’s declaration is supported by P. Airikyan, V. Osipov, M. Kheifets, G. Ushakov, N. Budulak-Sharygin, B. Shakirov, M. Ravins and A. Yuskevich.

*

Sergei Soldatov: “To the Procurator-General of the USSR” (7 November 1977)

“… Already for six decades human dignity has been trampled in this country and basic human rights have been crushed…! declare that such a policy, directed against man, led and will lead to a deterioration in the economic situation and to an increase in internal political tensions, to a fall in moral and political prestige and to international isolation…

“I prophesy that the eighties will be fateful years for the regime and will bring with them social and natural vengeance. Fate offers the regime, with this last round-numbered anniversary, a chance to partially redeem its guilt before the peoples…

“On the 60th anniversary of this regime I declare a hunger-strike, my 28th this year.”

S. Soldatov, secretary and ideologist of the DDE

Sergei Soldatov: “To the Procurator of Latvia” (18 November 1977)

As an imprisoned member of the DDE, on the day of the 59th anniversary of Latvian independence I express my solidarity and support for the age-old hopes and aspirations of the Latvian people …

I demand the release of my Latvian fellow-captives.., including the young Latvian patriot M. Ravins…

Sergei Soldatov: “To the Procurator-General of the USSR” (30 December 1977)

“…In autumn 1975, in my capacity as an activist of the DDE-DMSU, I was condemned and thrown into a political concentration camp.

“In autumn 1976, as a result of a provocation planned by the authorities and with the aim of putting pressure on me, my son Alexander Soldatov was thrown into a camp for criminals.

“In autumn 1977, as a routine terrorist act ordered by the authorities, my flat was sealed and boarded up… And you need all this so that when my son is set free, he will wander the earth as a hunted vagabond without house or home.

Soldatov demands that those guilty should be punished. At the end he writes: “… On 30 December 1977 I am declaring a hunger-strike, my thirtieth in 1977”.

Sergei Soldatov: “A Declaration. To the Presidium of the Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet” (3 January 1978)

This declaration, written in Estonian, duplicates the content of Soldatov’s 30 December 1977 declaration (see above).

Sergei Soldatov: “To the Presidium of the Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet” (24 February 1978)

“60 years ago Estonia declared itself the democratic and sovereign Estonian Republic… 1 demand from the Soviet government respect for the right to national self-determination … I demand the release of all political prisoners…”

Soldatov’s statement was supported by Airikyan, Osipov, Kheifets, Ushakov, Saranchuk, Ravins and Budulak-Sharygin.

*

On 26 February a group of political prisoners in Mordovian Camp 19 heard a paper on the history of the national and democratic movement in Estonia since the beginning of this century.

*

Vladimir Osipov: “To Gromyko, USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs” (17 January 1978)

Osipov writes that the West cannot assess the policy of the USSR as being other than militaristic, as the extremely harsh veto on dissidents in the USSR testifies to the world that the country is on a war footing.

Airikyan, Budulak-Sharygin, Osipov, Ravins, Rudenko, Saranchuk, Soldatov, Ushakov, Kheifets: “To the Committee on Human Rights” (14 March 1978)

“The [CSCE] Conference in Belgrade has not justified…the hopes of those who support peace and cooperation in Europe. The fault lies with the harsh and unaccommodating position of the Moscow administration. Acceptance of the concluding document of the Belgrade conference, which Soviet citizens consider as a point in a propaganda game with the West, was marked by a reduction in the cubic capacity of our punishment cells and by the right [given to our administration] continuously to incarcerate us in the internal camp prison” (see the new rules to be introduced from 15 March 1978).

Stepan Sapelyak: “Statement to L.I. Brezhnev” (May 1977)

Sapelyak tells how he was arrested in 1973 when he was barely 22. He was sentenced to 5 years’ deprivation of freedom and 3 years in exile. After sentence had been passed, he was taken to the Camp VS 389/36 [Perm 36]. During the time he spent in Corrective-Labour Colony 36 he received, in all, three personal visits from relatives, each of them lasting one day. He was deprived of six short visits, spent 184 days in the punishment cells, for 12 months did not have the right to buy food products in the camp shop, and during this whole period only one food parcel was not forbidden him. Besides this he was given about 20 reprimands, warnings and orders to do so-called ‘extra tidying-up of the territory of the zone”.

The reasons for which Sapelyak was punished are these: “non-fulfilment of output norms”; “covering himself with a pea-jacket” (in winter, while he was sleeping, with a temperature of 8-9°C in the barracks); infringing the clothing regulations — in summer on the sports-ground he was undressed to the waist, at work in a work cell his top button was undone, he took off his head-gear and carried it in his hand; “absence from work place”; “organising a religious assembly in the work zone” (during the official work break, to mark his name-day, he drank tea with friends); “failure to greet an officer”; “arguing”; and “tactless and provocative behaviour”.

Sapelyak was put in the punishment cells for “not going to work”, because he declared a protest work strike and a protest hunger-strike and because at Christmas on 7 January 1977 he did not go to work because of his religious convictions. Sapelyak’s term in a punishment cell was increased because of “the unsanitary condition of the walls of the cell” (in the summer he had swatted mosquitoes in the cell) and “for violating the regime in the punishment cell” (he sat on the floor).

In conclusion Sapelyak writes: “Soon I shall be taken away and transported into exile. What awaits me there?”

In CCE 47, section “In the Prisons and Camps” (Diary of Camp 36) it is erroneously stated that the above statement is in the same issue, number 47.

*

Semyon Gluzman: “To US President Carter” (15 December 1977)

Gluzman is responding to Carter’s speech of 19 January 1977. The end of Gluzman’s letter reads:

“The USA, like any other country, really cannot by itself resolve all the pressing problems of Earth. Each of us bears responsibility for the events taking place today, for better or worse, in the world. And the position of your administration, Mr President, is all the more moral and secure in that its policy is founded on the aspiration to an ideal of truth and freedom for each person. Politics is not by its nature in the least antithetical to morality; like any sphere of activity, it depends on the aims and means which it consists of.

“Even today the view of the poet and humanist Francesco Petrarch — ‘There is nothing better than freedom of opinion, and, as I demand it for myself, so I do not deny it to others’ — has not become commonplace and habitual for all of humanity in all parts of the planet, is our loss, but one that can be put right.”

“Together we can achieve much, if we are guided by criteria of Divine Goodness. For, as Isaiah taught, God is truth and justice.

Semyon Gluzman, doctor-psychiatrist, especially dangerous state criminal”

*

Sergei Kovalyov: “To Zhuravkov, head of Camp VS-389/36”, (12 February 1978)

“Gluzman is completing his third day of hunger-strike. He is trying to obtain a mere trifle — an explanation as to what exactly the censor objects to in his letter to Carter. How exactly he has distorted internal and international life. Along with Procurators Myakishev, Orekhov and Yazev he considers that this should be directly and precisely stated, and it is difficult to deny his logic: how else will he be able to satisfy the censor in future?

“As you told me on 10 February, you have another point of view: you feel that you are not obliged to explain anything to Gluzman about distortions of the internal and international situation. The appeal was confiscated, and that’s that.

“I am not going to take issue with your view, in all its obvious inconsistency. All right, suppose even that you are not obliged to do so, but why not spend 20 minutes on this over and above your obligation? A man is on hunger-strike and it’s not a bottle of cognac that’s being asked for, but an explanation. I do not even entertain the thought that you want this hunger-strike, that it gives you pleasure. So why not then explain? What would be bad in that? How would it diminish your authority or the prestige of the regime? All the more so since the Law entrusts you to some extent also with educative functions. It is impossible to imagine education without a thorough, calm, frank and respectful talk. Why then do you avoid giving Gluzman a direct explanation of his mistake?

“I believe, Citizen Major, that if we leave aside rhetoric and a somewhat feigned amazement (forgive me for it), the reason will be crystal clear and you and I would easily agree on it, if you had the opportunity of speaking with hand on heart.

“And here is this obvious reason: although Gluzman not only does not distort, but simply does not touch on any event of internal and international life whatsoever, even so, this same Gluzman is not wanted, absolutely not wanted by our authorities, he’s spoiling such an ordered, such a radiant and joyous picture of the new historical community. And really there’s no point at all in reminding Carter about this Gluzman. And what is he, after all, one of the Wilmington Ten or something? If he’s got to come up like a birth-mark blotching our achievements let him be a criminal, and better — a self-avowed one. So come on then, make out that the puny intellectual is a criminal. You won’t get him wounded in cross-fire with a police patrol, like some other poets and historians, and it wouldn’t even enter the head of a single procurator to pin arson of a baker’s shop on him. Nothing for it of course, even ones like that have to be painted as criminals, but still it’s better not to disgrace ourselves, better do it somehow on the quiet.

“This is what happens: all the Soviet psychiatrists are performing so splendidly, so smartly, in tune and in step, in ordered ranks, all enthuse about ’Leonid Ilyich [Brezhnev] personally’, but this one, you see, talks about Petrarch and Isaiah. And what sort of Isaiahs can there be in your and my fatherland? Here’s this bitch of a turncoat spoiling the whole shop — so don’t you hesitate, citizen Major, tell him all of it like it is. This one won’t give up anyway, that’s the way they are.

“And you don’t have to answer my statement, I’m not going to go on hunger-strike. You’d do better to reply to Gluzman.”

*

On 13 February, Zhuravkov explained to Gluzman that the “distorted portrayal of internal and external policy” consisted in two passages: 1. in the words “the USA like any other…for each person”; and 2. in the signature.

Zhuravkov admitted that in regard to the length of time during which the letter was checked, the law had been broken.

Semyon Gluzman: “To Citizen Savinkin, head of the Administrative Affairs department of the CPSU Central Committee”, (18 January 1978)

Gluzman points out that contrary to Article 18 of the [UN] Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [in force 1976], it is forbidden in Camp VS 389/36 “to celebrate sacred dates”.

“… Thus, it was for celebrating the day of Christ’s birth that political prisoner Kovalyov S.A. was incarcerated in the punishment cell; it was for this that disciplinary punishments were imposed on other political prisoners.

“In protest against the ignoring in this case of a principle which is fundamental to the legal system of any civilized state, and understanding the futility of merely appealing to the supervisory bodies,

“I deliberately refuse to go to work during the time S. A. Kovalyov is in the punishment cells, and Imake this known to you, as the one real power in the Soviet Union.”

Vitold Abankin: “Three statements to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, for L.I. Brezhnev” (4 February 1978)

First statement:

“Six months are left to the end of the 12-year sentence given me by a military tribunal under article 64 of the RSFSR Criminal Code in 1966. By this statement I wish to inform the Soviet government that on ending my sentence I do not intend to commit any action falling under the sanction of the Criminal Code of any union republic, either under the section on state crimes or any other but intend to leave the USSR by legal means.”

Second statement:

“When I was on military service in East Germany in 1966, I attempted to escape to West Berlin, having long since decided to leave the USSR, as I did not wish to live in a country where people do not say what they think and do not do what they say. I made my final decision to leave the USSR after the well-known events in Novocherkassk in 1962.

Since there was no free emigration from the USSR l was forced to escape secretly. I was caught and condemned for attempting to betray the Motherland [Article 64]. At the trial I said that I had betrayed not the Motherland, but the authorities. I said that the regime is not the Motherland, since the regime changes, while the Motherland remains. But the court did not pay attention to my words, and now I state this again. In the course of 11 ½  years I have, as they say, experienced on my own skin what Soviet humanism is. On 25 March 1974, as a protest against violations of human rights in the USSR and against the humiliation of political prisoners, I renounced Soviet citizenship and demanded to emigrate from the USSR. Then they replied that the question of citizenship would be decided at the end of my sentence.

Now there are six months left, so I am sending you this statement and hope that you will have enough time to decide the question of my emigration from the USSR. I am doing this in advance, for I do not wish to remain a day or an hour in a country in which, regardless of anything, they continue to trample on human rights and humiliate prisoners. I ask you also to convey my thanks to the administration of all corrective labour establishments that I have been in over these years for having, through their inhuman methods of re-education, made me into a conscious and stalwart anti-Soviet…

In the third statement Abankin rejects in advance any possibility of an early release: “I do not want to receive my own freedom as a hand-out”.

*

The first statement was sent off, but after a long delay. The second was confiscated for the expressions “I have found out…Soviet humanism is” and “through their inhuman… anti-Soviet”. The third statement was confiscated for its general content; Abankin was told: “They’ll release you if they want to, and until they do there’s no point in writing.”

*

Dmitry Demidov: “To Zhuravkov, head of Camp VS-389/36”, (7 February 1978)

Demidov writes about the illegal punishment of Zdorovy and Slobodyan for non-fulfilment of output norms.

“You know that… neither in the Corrective Labour Code nor in the same regulations is there the demand that output norms should be fulfilled, i.e. the camp administration is not entitled to consider non-fulfilled, and to apply disciplinary punishments in such a case. Legislation is unambiguous on this point, demanding from the convict a conscientious attitude to work.”

Demidov makes it clear that Zdorovy’s non-fulfilment of the norm was connected with the fact that he is not as yet sufficiently accustomed to the work, while the norm is excessively high.

“In Slobdyan’s case, though, it is not only unjust to demand fulfilment of the norm, but also inhuman — Slobodyan is seriously ill, and is not receiving essential treatment. I wish to emphasize that he became ill during imprisonment, and that he suffered neither from ulcers nor from diseases of the throat and ears before his arrest. But in spring 1977 Slobodyan was sent by you to perform heavy labour (rolling logs, dragging planks), although he was trying to obtain medical treatment due to a sharp deterioration in his health.

“Your deputy Major Fyodorov then intervened in a provocatively blatant fashion in the work of the medical sector and forced Slobodyan, who was suffering from a bleeding stomach ulcer, to continue work on the log-sawing process. The result is known to you: Slobodyan’s condition reached crisis point, and he was quickly hospitalized in the central hospital of VS-389. Slobodyan’s ulcer was not cured, and as before he has been ill and has been asking fruitlessly for qualified medical assistance, while they have been demanding that he fulfil a norm designed for a physically fit man.”

Demidov tells that on 4 February, when Slobodyan felt so unwell that he could not go to work,

“he was not examined by a doctor, and not released from work. This fact speaks…of the irresponsibility of the doctors when it was their duty to examine Slobodyan urgently…”

He says in conclusion:

“I appeal to you, since I am not yet convinced whether the initiative for prosecuting a seriously ill man, in violation of the law, lies with you.”

Igor Kalynets: “To the Chairman of the Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet” (23 February 1978)

(Quoted in translation [from Ukrainian])

“I entertain no hope whatever that my statement will lighten the fate of Levko Lukyanenko, who has been put in prison for the second time…Conscience does not permit me to remain silent when there is no end to yet further arrests…! do not doubt that this time, also, he was striving to attain one thing only: that Soviet organs should observe their own laws.

“I, like my wife and many others, am a victim of unfounded, illegal persecutions, of the tyranny of judicial trials and of the harshness of the punishment…

“It seems to me that it is high time to see sense and cease the harassment of dissident Ukrainian patriots. In declaring a protest against the arrest of L. Lukyanenko I wish to hope that the Chairman of the Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet will recognize his responsibility to our nation and will concern himself to ensure that Soviet Ukraine is not numbered amongst those regimes which are condemned by the whole of democratic society.”

The statement was confiscated for “distortion of the internal life of the country”.