In Exile, April-May 1978 (49.9)

<<No 49 : 14 May 1978>>


Before Vyacheslav Chomovil’s arrival at his place of exile (CCE 48), the local Party activists were informed that “an Enemy of the People” who had intended to overthrow the Soviet regime would soon be coming to the village.

The local population were ordered, if they did not want ‘measures taken’ against them, not to visit him or talk to him. Those who knew Russian better than the others, and people with police records, were personally warned that the coming ‘enemy of the people’ would try to ‘make use’ of them. Those responsible for such ‘prophlyactic measures’ included Veshnikov, procurator of Lenin district, and the local policeman Dormidontov.

So, for the first few days after his arrival the intimidated Yakuts would not answer Chornovil, even when he greeted them or asked everyday questions; they shied away from him.

Vyacheslav Chornovil, 1937-1999


The house to which Chornovil had been assigned as a tenant was openly ‘bugged’ by the post office.

On 10 April Chornovil wrote a declaration to the USSR Procurator-General, describing the above events. In this statement he also wrote:

“… The Lenin district KGB has not even realized that such barefaced intrusion into people’s private lives is, formally speaking, a criminal offence. (In other countries, presidents have been forced out for such things.)… I am informing you of the Lenin district KGB’s excessive zeal, not because I feel a great need of the Chappandinsk social circles of the taiga who are being frightened away from me, or because the usual ‘boycott’ bothers me particularly …

“But do not Soviet laws exist for some reason, after all, including those defining the status of exiles, as well as the new Constitution with its guarantees of the inviolability of the home and of one’s private life?”

After 10 May Chornovil began to work as a general labourer “to be used on light physical work” (because of doctor’s orders).

The headmaster of the local school called the teachers together and forbade them to visit Chornovil or talk to him. He said that audio-visual recording apparatus had been installed in the house where Chornovil was living, while in Nyurba (the centre of the Lenin district, Chronicle) people were sitting and watching him on a screen. He then warned the history teacher, who had visited Chornovil a couple of times, that if it happened again he would be sacked.

Before that, the history teacher had already been interviewed by a KGB official, who quoted back to him phrases he had uttered in Chornovil’s house.


In March Chornovil was allowed to go home to the Cherkassy Region for a week, because of special family circumstances — his brother had died, his mother had suffered a second heart attack, and his father was seriously ill. When he asked for his visit to be prolonged, this was refused.