The Helsinki Groups under Investigation (49.6)

<<No 49 : 14 May 1978>>


On 28 April 1978, Alexander Ginzburg and his lawyer E. A. Reznikova were ready to sign the record to the effect that they had finished studying the case, when it suddenly transpired that the pre-trial investigation, which should have finished before 3 May (CCE 48.2) was to be extended for one month. The investigator made reference to Ginzburg’s petition for an extension, which he had made in March.



In April 1975, Alexander Sergeyevich Lyapin (b. 1948) travelled from Bashkiria to visit Yury Orlov. In December 1976 he visited him a second time.

Yury Orlov, 1924-2020

On 4 January 1977 criminal proceedings were instituted against Lyapin, who was charged under article 206, part 3, of the Russian Criminal Code with making an armed attack on six people. On 13 January 1977 he was arrested.

In his letter (see below) Lyapin relates that during the pre-trial investigation, which was conducted by the Procuracy, a KGB official had several discussions with him. This official told Lyapin that the case against him would be closed if he voluntarily gave evidence against Orlov. In particular, it was suggested to him that he testify that Orlov had commissioned him to take a sample of earth from the 285th kilometre of the Chelyabinsk-Sverdlovsk highway and collect information on the nature of the goods manufactured at a machinery factory in the town of Kumertau. The KGB official promised that when he had given this evidence he would be assured of a good invalid pension and an easy job. Lyapin declined call the KGB’s proposals.

According to Lyapin, in the prison medical unit he was twice given ‘disinhibitors’ (internal injections of an amytal-caffeine compound). When he went into a state of euphoria and had difficulty controlling his behaviour, a KGB official would begin to ask him questions: ‘Whom is the packet to be given to?’, ‘What is Yury Fyodorovich [Orlov] to be given?’, etc.

A forensic-psychiatric examination pronounced Lyapin not responsible for his actions.

On 22 March 1977, the Kugarchinsky district people’s court sent him for compulsory treatment to an ordinary psychiatric hospital. He was released from hospital on 14 October 1977.

On 22 April 1978, Lyapin wrote an appeal to the English barrister MacDonald, who had taken on the defence of Orlov, Describing the above-mentioned facts, Lyapin asked that his letter be used in Orlov’s defence. Lyapin also wrote an open letter: ‘I, Alexander Sergeyevich Lyapin, several times gave Yu. F. Orlov documents on the violation of human rights…’

After relating the incidents mentioned above, he writes about his compulsory treatment:

“In half a year, with the aid of neuroleptic drugs (triftazin, amitriptilin, haloperidol), I was turned into an invalid and my hands trembled. I was warned that if I went poking around where l ought not to, then the result would be that I might poke my head into a noose …”

The letter finishes:

“At the present time l am being sent to live in Leningrad region, Vyborg district, Goncharovo settlement… I am now receiving a pension of 45 roubles and, of course, I will no longer be able to travel to Moscow …”

At the end of April 1978, Orlov and his lawyer E. Shalman had finished studying the pre-trial investigation materials. Shalman lodged a petition that the case be closed due to ‘the absence of a corpus delicti’. The petition was rejected.



On 2 March 1978, the relatives of Anatoly Shcharansky sent the chairman of the KGB, Andropov, the following telegram:

“Despite our categorical demands we have been given no meetings with Anatoly, so we cannot find out his wishes regarding his defence. We have not received from him the detailed instructions provided for by the law. In this way he is being deprived illegally of the opportunity to engage a defence lawyer. We categorically protest against the illegal appointment of an official lawyer by the KGB in this case.”

In reply to this declaration Shcharansky’s mother, I. P. Milgrom, was summoned to Lefortovo prison on 16 March. She was interviewed by Lieutenant-Colonel Volodin and the Procurator for supervision of the state security organs, Ilyukhin. After prolonged wrangling Ida Petrovna was brought a note from Anatoly. It reads:

“Dear Mama! I declare to the investigators and repeat to you that I am entrusting you and Natasha with the choice of a defence lawyer. I have categorically refused the lawyer appointed by the Bar. If you do not succeed in finding the lawyer you want, I will choose one myself.”

According to Volodin, Anatoly had agreed to write this note only on condition that his mother answer it. In his turn, Volodin placed the following condition on Milgrom: that in her note she should not refer to Anatoly’s wife Natasha, because the investigators did not recognize this marriage (CCE 48.2). Apart from that, he forbade her to write about the health of Anatoly’s father, (On this score I. P. Milgrom hypothesizes that the investigators had told Anatoly of his father’s serious illness but had not told him that he had recovered.)

On 2 April Milgrom sent a declaration to the Head of the KGB’s Investigation Department, General Volkov. Referring to the note received from Anatoly, she wrote that she and her son’s wife had to choose a defence lawyer for a man threatened with a death-sentence; by this token they bore a huge responsibility. Therefore, Milgrom insisted on a meeting with her son so that they might together make the right choice of a lawyer.

The next day Milgrom handed a copy of this declaration to Volodin and Ilyukhin. They advised her to stop looking for a lawyer altogether, assuring her that Anatoly was quite capable of defending himself.

After his talk I. P. Milgrom sent a letter of complaint to USSR Procurator-General Rudenko, demanding a meeting with her son in order to discuss the different possible lawyers she had already chosen.

The USSR Procurator-General’s office answered that a meeting could be offered only after the case had been examined in court, and the question of the defence had been decided in the course of the pre-trial investigation in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On 10 May I. P, Milgrom sent Rudenko a telegram demanding his personal intervention in her son’s case. She received no reply.

On the anniversary of Shcharansky’s arrest — 15 March — the Moscow Helsinki Group and representatives of Jewish refuseniks held a press conference. A declaration of the Helsinki Group (document No. 40) states

“… We categorically deny the hypocritical and slanderous charge against Anatoly Shcharansky that he has been involved in some kind of espionage. Shcharansky provoked the especial annoyance of the state, being at the same time one of the leading figures of the Jewish movement for repatriation and of the movement for the rule of law. His arrest and charge are to be explained by purely political reasons.”

As well as this, Anatoly’s mother recounted developments to the foreign correspondents.



Searches (with subsequent interrogations) have been carried out at the homes of Yelena Antoniv (Lvov, January), Vladimir Zatvorsky (Komi ASSR, Inta) and the exiles Grigory Prokopovich (CCE 46), Nikolai Kots (CCE 46) and Bogdan Chuiko (CCE 48).

Nothing was taken from E. Antoniv’s home. From Zatvorsky several letters from Lukyanenko were confiscated, together with a copy of Lukyanenko’s declaration to the Exarch of Kiev (a request to be sent a Bible in Ukrainian), the ’Declaration’ of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group (CCE 43), an account of the trial of Rudenko and Tikhy, and several exercise books with notes on literary and historical subjects which Zatvorsky had made in camp. From Prokopovich several letters from Lukyanenko and copies of his declarations (including the one to the Exarch of Kiev) were confiscated. Letters from Lukyanenko were confiscated from Kots.

In Kremenchug Vladimir Vodenyuk was interrogated.

On 24 March investigator Sanko interrogated Yevgeny Obertas (CCE 43; see also The Trial of Marinovich and Matusevich’ in the present issue, CCE 49.3). Obertas does not know Lukyanenko. He was questioned about the ‘Declaration’ of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group.

On 4 May member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group Ivan Kandyba (see ‘After Release’, CCE 49.11) was summoned to the Lvov KGB for interrogation. Investigator Rufinsky asked him about the documents of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group signed by, among others, Kandyba. Amongst these documents was ‘Letter No. 2’ (CCE 46). Kandyba said that this was the first time he had seen it, but if it was a document of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group then he acknowledged himself to be a co-author.

On 13 May P. Vins, a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, was interrogated (see “The Trial of Pyotr Vins”, CCE49.4).