The Right to Leave, May 1978 (49.15)

<<No 49 : 14 May 1978>>


On 21 April Lidia Artyomovna Valendo of Minsk (CCE 48.17, item 7) was arrested in a suburban railway carriage by a policeman and men in plain clothes. She was taken to the police station and from there to the republic psychiatric hospital. At first, they refused to admit her, but after a conversation between the policeman and the doctor (in private, of course), she was admitted.

The Directives on Urgent Hospitalization have been repeatedly disregarded. For example, the first commission did not examine Valendo until 11 May, whereas the examination is supposed to take place within 24 hours. [Information Bulletin no. 9 of the Working Commission on psychiatric abuse reports that she was released on 25 May 1978.]


Marija Jurgutiene, who has been trying for four years to obtain permission to go to her husband in the USA (CCEs 36, 44, 45), sent a statement on 4 May to the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party, Griskevicius.


Since October 1977 Reshat Dzhemilev (CCE 48.14) has been trying to obtain permission to emigrate to the USA. On 28 March 1978 he was told in the Tashkent OVIR that in mid-February OVIR had already decided to refuse him. Notification of this, according to the OVIR official, had been sent to him three times by post. Dzhemilev replied that he had received no notification, although he lived only a few blocks away from OVIR. ‘Then the post office are not doing their job — make a complaint to them,’ was the reply. To Dzhemilev’s question as to the reasons for their refusal, they replied: ‘Your relative is not close enough.’ ‘Who determined how distant or how closely related my brother is to me?’ asked Dzhemilev. The answer: ‘Our superiors investigate these matters.’


On 16 June 1977 Vadim Ivanovich Konovalikhin, an inhabitant of Neman in Kaliningrad Region (b. 1943), handed in a statement to the USSR Supreme Soviet renouncing Soviet citizenship and applying to leave the USSR. After this he attempted several times to hand in his documents to emigrate, but they were not accepted.

On 4 October 1977 Konovalikhin declared a hunger-strike, of which fact he informed the current session of the Supreme Soviet. On 6 October he was forcibly hospitalized in the Kaliningrad Region psychiatric hospital, where he was told that he would be released if he ceased his hunger-strike. The next day, after he had handed in the appropriate statement, he was released. (Konovalikhin had had contact with psychiatry before: in 1968, when he was doing his military service with the navy, he was discharged in connection with a suicide attempt and was registered as a psychiatric patient.)

After his release Konovalikhin continued to try to obtain permission to emigrate. He sent a statement to Shchelokov, the Minister of Internal Affairs, and appealed to the UN Human Rights Commission. When on 23 March 1978 he received a refusal from the Kaliningrad OVIR, Konovalikhin again declared a hunger-strike.

At that time proceedings were instituted against him under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code.

In the town of Sovetsk in Kaliningrad Region, a search was carried out in the flat of Roman Kosterin, a friend of Konovalikhin, in connection with his case.

On 28 March Konovalikhin’s own flat was searched. Copies of his letters and statements to various departments were confiscated. Konovalikhin was issued an order to undergo a forensic-psychiatric examination. He was made to sign an undertaking not to leave the town.

At interrogations, the investigator of the Sovetsk Procuracy Kudashkin asked Konovalikhin what the ‘Free Trade Union’ and the ‘Helsinki’ Group were.

Konovalikhin was placed in the Kaliningrad Region psychiatric hospital to undergo an in-patient psychiatric examination.

On 4 April 1978, the Working Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes sent a letter to the chief doctor:

“The Working Commission informs you that V. I. Konovalikhin, who is in your hospital awaiting forensic psychiatric examination, was examined in the month of April by a consultant psychiatrist of the Working Commission. As a result of the examination, the following conclusion was reached:

“‘On the basis of an objective examination of V. I. Konovalikhin and of information about his medical history given by him, it may be concluded that Konovalikhin Vadim Ivanovich shows at present no symptoms of mental illness, neither has he shown any in the past (when he was interned in psychiatric hospitals).

“He is fully responsible for his actions and behaviour.” [Note 7]

The application of compulsory medical treatment to Konovalikhin in connection with charges against him under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code would be considered by the Working Commission as the use of psychiatry for political purposes.

On 27 April A. Podrabinek sent a similar letter to the Procurator of Sovetsk.


From December 1977 to April 1978 Tamara Alexandrovna Los (b. 1955) of Mineralnye Vody sent seven letters and two telegrams to Brezhnev demanding permission for herself and her family to emigrate. The only reply was summonses to the Procuracy, the police, the KGB and the Town Party Committee, where she was warned that she would be made to answer for ‘anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda’.

On 26 February 1978, the head of the passport office notified T. Los that she could leave the USSR with her family. After the forms had been filled in, she was told that she must be examined by a medical commission; the head of the passport office, Romanov, declared to Los that she was mentally ill. Afterwards Los and her family stopped filling in documents.

In May, a consultant psychiatrist of the Working Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes examined T. Los and concluded that:

Tamara Alexandrovna shows no symptoms of mental illness at present, neither did she ever show any previously. [Note 8]


In 1968 and 1969 Dmitry Mikheyev tried several times to visit his fiancée in Hungary; he was refused permission. The Party committee of the Physics Faculty of Moscow University did not give him a reference in view of his ‘political immaturity’. Neither was he permitted to invite his fiancée to Moscow.

In 1970 Mikheyev attempted to leave the USSR using the passport of a foreigner but was arrested in Sheremetevo airport and tried for “attempting to betray the motherland” (CCE 21.2). In October 1977 he was pardoned and released, after which he applied to OVIR; he was told that he needed an invitation from relatives.

In spring 1978 Mikheyev appealed twice to Brezhnev by letter. His statement of 20 April ends:

“I consider it my duty to warn you that I intend to obtain the right to leave the country by using every available legal means. I will not be stopped by any persecution whatsoever.

“I inform you that if my petition is not granted, I will be forced to appeal to world public opinion for help and to publicize all the details of my biography.”


Paul Ionovich Solodnik (Chernovtsy, Ukrainskaya ul. 11, kv. 10) is a ‘refusenik’, as his wife’s parents do not give her permission to emigrate. Solodnik is a doctor.

Mikhail Naumovich Livin (Minsk, Kuznechnaya ul. 54, kv. 44) in November 1977 was refused permission to emigrate because of the ‘non-consent of his wife’s relatives’.

Rafail Mikhailovich Rozhansky (Sverdlovsk, Akademicheskaya ul. 13, kv. 33) in October 1977 was refused permission to emigrate as ‘his parents are staying in the USSR’. Rozhansky has a sister and an aunt in Israel. He is a construction engineer.

In July 1972 Uriel Gavrielovich Malayev, his parents, his three brothers and his sister applied to emigrate, and in November they received permission. A few days later U. Malayev was told that he and his wife had been refused permission. His parents, sister and brothers left while he stayed. From 1973 to 1977 Uriel Malayev applied again and again and was refused each time. In 1977 Malayev was at last given the ‘reason’ for the refusal; ‘Your relatives live in the USSR!’ Malayev is a shoemaker; his wife is a hairdresser.

In 1975 Ilmiya Tashayevich Ashurov (Nalchik, ul. Suvorova 85, kv. 2) handed in his documents for an exit visa and was refused without a reason being given. In 1977 he again handed in his documents and again received a refusal without a reason being given. Ashurov is a metalworker.

Ilya Leibovich Khmelnitsky (Minsk, ul. Kozlova 16, kv. 24) in February 1977 was refused permission to emigrate, for ‘security reasons’, even though he had never had a security pass.

David Shvarts (Lvov, ul. Kutuzova 34, kv. 2, tel. 74-62-29) was refused permission to leave in June 1977. The reason: he had graduated from Moscow Aeronautical Institute. Shvarts is an automation engineer.

Alexander Bentsionovich Magidovich (Tula, ul. N. Rudneva 60, kv. 65) has been a refusenik since 1973 for ‘security reasons’, although he stopped working in a factory doing secret work in 1969. Magidovich is a radio engineer, in October 1977 he appealed to the Foreign Minister of Great Britain for help.


On 21 December 1977, a meeting was held at last of representatives of the ‘Rossiya’ collective farm in the Talovaya district of Voronezh Region (CCE 48). Not one of the people who wished to leave the collective farm was permitted to speak. It was decided by 85 votes against 17 to refuse them permission to leave the collective farm.

The new chairman of the collective farm, A. G. Kuvaldin (the previous one had been promoted to Head of the District Agricultural Administration) and the chairman of the village soviet announced to the inhabitants of Ilynka: ‘You will live and work here until the day you die — we will not let you go anywhere.’

The district and regional procuracies replied to complaints, saying there had been no infringement of the democracy of the collective farm, and no reason could be found for the organs of the Procuracy to intervene.

A statement on this subject by the Moscow Helsinki group (document no. 49) says:

What is most shocking is that all this is not contrary to the ‘Model Statutes of a Collective Farm’… where … there is not a single word about free departure from the collective farm!


This spring the U S Embassy in the USSR forwarded invitations to approximately 130 Pentecostal families in Estonia and the Leningrad Region. In Leningrad Region they were received; in Estonia they were not.

In April, a large group of Pentecostals from the Caucasus, the Ukraine and Rostov Region appealed to President Carter and the American Government, requesting them to send invitations to them from the USA.


This spring several Pentecostals in Batumi who had handed in their documents to emigrate were deprived of their residence permits, The District Procuracy maintains that they were illegally registered.

The Pentecostals are: A. Temnikova, Z. Bondarenko, N. Noskova, and the Kapustin couple. After their residence permits had been cancelled, they were dismissed from work, whereupon the town authorities ordered them to ‘clear out of the town immediately’. The victims complained to Brezhnev, Rudenko, and to the highest Soviet organs of Adzharia and Georgia. There were no answers. In Moscow, in the reception room of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Shchelokov, they were advised to return to Batumi to wait there for a decision on their emigration. When the believers returned to Batumi, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Adzharia ordered them to leave the town immediately.


In March, in the village of Zhaden, Rovno Region (CCE 48), where nearly the entire congregation had handed in their documents to emigrate (approximately 40 families), the chairman of the District Soviet Executive Committee asked all those who wished to emigrate to prepare immediately to leave. He said that their documents would be handed over to them at the border. At the same time, he announced to all the inhabitants of the village that extra kitchen-gardens would be allotted to them (at the expense of those who were leaving, he said). After some time, the authorities’ talk about an imminent departure ceased. On the other hand, the pressures on the congregation over the holding of prayer meetings in the village eased.

In places where there are no people wishing to emigrate (in Bystrichai, Mokvin, Kholopy, Drokhovo and other villages of Berezno district) believers are not allowed to meet, they are fined, and prayer- meetings are interfered with.


On 18 April, the newspaper Sovetskaya Kuban again published an article containing harsh attacks against the Pentecostal Presbyter of Starotitarovskaya Settlement, N. P. Goretoi (CCEs 47, 48). The author of the article ‘Bitter is the Bread of Foreign Lands’, A. Zenkov, writes that Goretoi ‘repeatedly went to Moscow with the purpose of passing slanderous information to foreign representatives’ and also that he ‘continues to incite believers to send slanderous statements to various departments’. On 22 April, the article was published again, in the newspaper Tamanets.

The Pentecostals of Starotitarovskaya sent collective and individual letters to the editorial offices of these newspapers. They accuse Zenkov of slandering and harassing their presbyter. [Note 9]


Victor Vasilyev of Vilnius (CCE 48) sent another statement to the ‘Government of Lithuania and the USSR’. Attached to the statement were the signatures of 58 of Vasilyev’s fellow-workers, who were in accord with his emigration.

On 29 March Vasilyev was summoned by the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Lithuanian SSR Major-General 2imbulis. He told Vasilyev that if he continued to try to obtain permission to emigrate, imprisonment or a psychiatric hospital awaited him.


Teodor and Otilia Dymko (CCE 46) again appealed to the Chancellor of the F R G to help them emigrate. Teodor Dymko’s father, two brothers and two sisters are in the FRG. The Dymko couple have renounced their Soviet citizenship; they do not vote. They have eight children (the eldest is 16, the youngest is two).


In 1965 Alexander Miller, wishing to emigrate and seeing no legal means of doing so, attempted to cross the Soviet-Turkish border, but was arrested by border guards. He was held in prison for six months and in a psychiatric hospital for seven, after which he was released.

In January 1977, his sister emigrated from Latvia to the FRG. Having received an invitation from her, on 4 October Miller handed in his documents to emigrate to the Bukhara OVIR. On 21 December he was refused on the grounds that his mother was staying in the USSR. On 23 December Miller sent a statement requesting permission to emigrate to the M V D of the Uzbek S S R. The statement ends:

“In one of the issues of the weekly paper Abroad, a letter from a Jewish Emigre who recently left the USSR was published. He wrote that his emigration had been a tragic mistake and that he was prepared to spend five years in prison in order to return to the USSR.

“I, Miller Alexander, am willing to spend five years in prison if I am guaranteed that after my release I will be permitted to emigrate. I am prepared to confirm this in an official statement.”


On 20 February 28 German families in Estonia, who have been trying to obtain permission to emigrate to West Germany, formed the organization ‘In Defence of the Family’. At a general assembly they endorsed a ‘Programme Planning Document’ and Statutes. The ‘Document’ states;

The voluntary organization ‘In Defence of the Family’, according to its statutes,… ceases to exist as a juridical entity after the acceptance of the petitions of all members to re-unite their families by joining their relatives in West Germany.

A statement on the foundation of the organization, the ‘Document’ and the statutes were sent to the Chairman of the Presidium of the Estonian Supreme Soviet


On 4 April Nelly Teirer (CCE 48) was lured by means of a trick into the Issyk department of the Alma-Ata KGB (her husband was summoned, and she went with him). There the deputy head of the department, Kolesnikov, told her:

“At the beginning of November you sent a letter to Moscow; whom were you writing to? Who is the Tanya you wrote to? The letter contains anti-Soviet material. Do not write any more of these letters. Who is the Tanya you are expecting? How does she happen to have your address? Where was the letter to be sent? Whom was she supposed to pass it on to? You are writing to people you do not know, you have associated yourself with people with foreign connections who send slander abroad. Break off your associations with your friends in Moscow, and with the Embassy. You will be in the West soon enough; do not take the liberty of speaking against the Soviet government when you get there.”

On 18 April, the head of the Alma-Ata OVIR, Kanalin, informed the Teirer couple (CCEs 45, 46, 48), Valentin Klink (CCEs 34, 45, 48) and Helmut Martens (CCEs 45, 48) that they were permitted to emigrate to West Germany. ‘When you meet your friends, tell them that you were allowed to leave not because you handed in your passports, but because you have relatives there. Do not meet representatives of various groups abroad, and do not give any interviews,’ added Kanalin.

Those Who Have Left

In March, the biologist Ilya Glezer (CCEs 24, 27, 37) left the USSR, having served three years in a camp and three years’ exile. He returned from exile in January. For the period of his efforts to obtain an exit visa he was given a temporary residence permit in Moscow, after being refused several times at first.

On 22 March, an activist of the Jewish emigration movement, Dina Beilina, a refusenik of six years’ standing (CCE 48), left the USSR.