In Exile, August 1977 to February 1978 (48.11)

At the beginning of December 1977 MVD Colonel Krivonogov arrived in the Vershino-Shakhtama settlement (Shelopugino district, Chita Region) where Malva Landa (CCE 46.1) was in exile. Not finding Landa, he left. The following morning the district policeman told her that Colonel Krivonogov wanted to talk to her about an amnesty. On this same visit Colonel Krivonogov ordered the policeman not to give Landa the pass which for exiles replaces a passport and had torn up the pass that had been prepared.

Malva Landa, 1918-2019

On 15 February 1978, the head of the district police, Major A.A. Levin, summoned Landa to Shelopugino. He showed her a memorandum of 14 February from N.A. Butin, head of the  Shelopugino post and telegraph centre:

“l am forwarding to you two copies of telegrams sent from the Vershino-Shakhtama post office by Malva Landa. These texts were accepted in violation of item 7 of the existing regulations for communications services.

“Since Malva Landa, according to an employee of the village council, is living in the settlement of Vershino-Shakhtama and is under open police surveillance, may l ask you in future to take measures to distort (sic! — Chronicle) the despatch by Malva Landa of similar telegrams.

“Employees of the postal service who accept telegrams with distortion (sic! — Chronicle) of point seven will be punished.”

Levin said it was not acceptable for Soviet citizens to send telegrams of this sort but refused to show her copies of the telegrams in question.

“In these telegrams you undermine the most sacred thing that we have, the Soviet regime!” said Levin. Nonetheless, he read a few words from one telegram: “…indignant… Levko [Lukyanenko] … decent, good people, … are subjected to persecution.” Good people are not imprisoned. If they were put in prison it means they are criminals.

(Landa had sent the ’criminal’ telegrams six weeks earlier.)

Several times Levin mentioned the amnesty: “Don’t forget the amnesty! All this does you no good. We’ll take it into account when there’s a commission.”

On 24 February, the district policeman told Landa that she would probably be amnestied and that she could sell the house she had bought. It turned out that in the settlement they had known about this the evening before.

On 1 March 1978, it was announced to Landa that she had been amnestied.


On 10 December 1977, the term of exile of Vyacheslav Petrov (CCEs 29, 44) came to an end.

On 15 February 1978, the term of exile of Josif Begun (CCE 46.2) came to an end.


In August or September 1977 Bogdan Chuiko was finally permitted, as an invalid unfit for work, to move from Tomsk region to the town of Michurinsk to join his family (CCE 47).


Kolyma. On 10 February 1978, a search was carried out on Vasily Stus (CCEs 44-47) in connection with the case of L. Lukyanenko (in this issue “Repressions against the Helsinki Groups: Ukraine”, CCE 48.3). Stus was threatened with 15 days’ arrest for calling the searchers ‘policemen’ [he used the “derogatory” pre-Revolutionary term, ed.].

Stus is not being permitted to go and see his sick parents even for a few days (his father is 87, his mother 77 years old).


In January 1978, Stefania Shabatura, who is serving a term of exile in the Kurgan Region [Urals] (CCE 44), went on holiday to Lvov, to her mother. She was not permitted to stop off in Kiev on the way.

After Shabatura’s return from holiday a court secretary was moved into her room with her. This had been arranged by the procurator.

On 2 February 1978, Shabatura was summoned to the district Internal Affairs department as a witness. When she arrived, she found that an investigator who had come from the Kurgan KGB was about to interrogate her in connection with the Lukyanenko case: her address had been found in his possession. Shabatura said she refused to be a witness in the case of a man with whom she was not acquainted. A record was nonetheless made out and Shabatura, in signing it, wrote that she protested against the unceasing persecution of people who stand up against the violation of human rights in the USSR. The investigator said that now he would have to rewrite ‘the spoiled record’, but Shabatura said that she would sign nothing else and left. The same day she was again summoned, and in the presence of two witnesses the investigator demanded that she sign the rewritten record. Shabatura again refused.

Before her holiday, the head of the district police, Lobanov, had told Shabatura that her regime might be made easier: she would be permitted to report less often, not every Saturday. Soon after the interrogation Shabatura asked Lobanov about the promised review of the surveillance regulations. Lobanov answered that there would be no review and that he had received a rebuke for re-educating her badly. “Why did you have to talk to them like that? What did you gain?” Lobanov asked her.

Shabatura has a bad heart. During her holiday in Lvov a diagnosis was made: dysautonomia with vasoconstriction of the heart.