Samizdat update (49.20)

<<No 49 : 14 May 1978>>

Socialists as Portrayed by A. I. Solzhenitsyn (8 pp.)

In an article signed with the pseudonym “An Old Socialist”, the author writes about “A.I.’s totally incorrect, biased and distorted description of political exile in the 20s and 30s” in Volume III of The Gulag Archipelago.

The Soviet State System and Psychiatry (8 pp.)

The author of this anonymous article, a psychiatrist by profession, affirms that there is no deliberate agreement between the KGB and the psychiatrists who carry out forensic-psychiatric examinations. He writes that the KGB knows how to have political detainees placed in psychiatric hospitals even without any such agreement — by making use of the ‘humanist’ tendencies of psychiatrists and the vagueness of diagnostic criteria in psychiatry, and the existence of psychiatrists of different ‘schools’. The author concludes:

“Then is there such a thing as psychiatric terror in the USSR, or not? There is. By whom is it carried out? By state organs (the KGB, the courts). Psychiatrists are used in this terror as an ignorant mass of people who do not understand the meaning of their actions …

“There exists the inhumane practice of placing ‘political’ patients in special prison hospitals…. And this practice… is a shameful state crime. And in the struggle against psychiatric terror in the USSR, publicizing of this shameful phenomenon must be emphasized …

“Such a change of emphasis in the struggle will be more clearly understandable to the entire psychiatric community in the USSR and will facilitate the quickest possible re-education of the mass of doctors and psychiatrists and the democratization of their views.”

In Defence of Economic Freedoms. Issue No. 1 (262 pp.), Compiled by K. Burzhuademov.

The collection is dedicated to the analysis of the dissenting intelligentsia’s opinions on the economic problems of our country.

The collection opens with an article by the compiler entitled “I accuse intellectuals — white-collar workers and consumers — of resistance to economic freedoms” in which he proposes that the country’s economic ailments be overcome by the activity of ‘economically free people’ (i.e., by means of black-market enterprise).

Later he includes reactions to this article from people involved in the humanities, engineers, mathematicians and ‘economically free people’. The compiler analyses their replies.

The collection also contains excerpts from samizdat, tamizdat and Soviet works on economic themes, reviews of these works by the compiler, and “open letters” by Viktor Sokirko on the same subjects.

The collection ends with an article by the compiler, “Samizdat must be paid for”, as a basis for discussion.

V. Sokirko: A Soviet Reader Works Out his Convictions (212 pp.)

The book consists of the author’s reviews of a number of samizdat books and articles (books by I. Shafarevich, M, Popovsky, A. Moskovit [Note 12], A. Yanov and the collections Self-awareness and Democratic Alternatives). Also included are notes on some officially published books (for example The Philosophy of the Common Cause by N. F. Fyodorov) and books stamped “for official use” (Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic).

In these reviews and in the final commentaries, the author states his attitude on a wide range of questions: the alternative paths of Russian history, the characteristic features of capitalism, socialism and democratic socialism, and the priority of political or economic freedoms in the struggle for human rights. The author regards works of a liberal-democratic tendency, particularly the articles in the collection Self-awareness, as nearest to his own convictions.

Sergei Cheremukhin: “Off they go again!” (2 pp.) “A Day in the Life of a Blood-Donor” (3 pp.) “Those who govern us” (3 pp.)

From the first article:

“‘Off they go again!’, exclaim with a sigh of sadness and indignation an ever-increasing number of people in our country, on hearing on the radio or reading in the newspaper the reports of the latest flight into the cosmos … Why all this, with our poverty? With our yearly increasing shortage of food supplies? …”

From the second article:

“On close examination, the reason for a donor’s enthusiasm turns out to be elementarily, mathematically simple. Every donor, apart from a day off work on the day he gives blood, receives one day’s paid holiday. Moreover, he is allowed… a certain amount of scarce food, usually not available in the shops.”

For the third article, “How those who govern us live” would be a more exact title.

Information Bulletin No. 4 (May 1978, 97 pp.)

This issue of the bulletin contains materials related to the cases of Ginzburg, Orlov and Shcharansky for the period October 1977 to May 1978 (Issue No. 1 was summarized in CCE 44; Issue No. 2 in CCEs 47 and 48). CCEs 47 and 48 publicize parts of these materials too.

Ausra (The Dawn) No. 10 (50), March 1978, 50 pp.

The article “The Historical Significance of Lithuania” (signed J. Medvegailis) is dedicated to the history of Lithuania, which is constantly distorted by Soviet historians. The author points out that Lithuanian schoolchildren are taught almost nothing at all about Lithuanian history. In the article “Empire of Terror”, (signed A. Zivintas) the conduct of Soviet leaders and those of Western countries in their relations with their peoples is compared. The article “On the Altar of Freedom” is dedicated to Balys Gajauskas, who has already served 25 years (1948-1973) and has again been arrested. In the article “Unity and Publicity” the fate of Jonas Matulionis is described; he served nine months’ pre-trial imprisonment and then received a 2-year suspended sentence (CCE 47): he is continually shadowed, he is not given work, or if he is, he is fired. The author calls on all Lithuanians — including Party officials and Chekists — to remember that they are Lithuanians and are living among their own people, who do not forgive betrayal but value magnanimity. The article The Significance and Theoretical Bases of Propaganda” describes the official means of receiving, distorting and circulating the information used by propaganda officials.

Ausra (The Dawn) No. 11 (51), May 1978, 55 pp.

The issue is dedicated to Balys Gajauskas and Petras Paulaitis (CCEs 32, 44, 46).

The article “The Partisan War in Lithuania” discusses the problems of the Lithuanian struggle for independence in 1944-1954 and gives some statistics. The author estimates that in all about 100,000 persons participated in the struggle and that half of them perished. He raises the question: was the partisan movement historically justified, doomed as it was to failure and to bringing cruel repression on the peaceful population? The author answers positively. The continuation of the article “The Significance and Theoretical Bases of Propaganda” is printed. The articles “For What?”, “We will not disappear!” and “After the Belgrade Conference” discuss the contemporary internal policy of the Soviet government: a policy of persecution of dissenters, repression of national movements and active Russification of the border lands.

Ausrele (Little Dawn), 16 February 1978, 66 pp.

The journal reprints some articles from the Herald of Freedom (Laisves Sauklis) which is no longer printed — “suppressed by the secret police”. Some of them are listed in CCE 45.

Endnotes

1.            This date, 3 ½ weeks later than the date on the Chronicle‘s title-page, is nonetheless correct, and illustrates one aspect of how the Chronicle is compiled. A cut-off date is chosen by the editors (in this case 14 May 1978), and then all material about events prior to that date is collected, edited and put in order. This process takes several weeks in the conditions the editors work in. But if important material arrives at the last moment, from a fully reliable source, it is sometimes inserted even if its date is later than the chosen cover-date.

2.            By mid-September Nikolayev had been released. He spoke at a press conference of the Moscow Helsinki Group reported in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 September 1978.

3.            Far-right anti-Semitic groups used by the tsarist authorities in the early 20th century to carry out pogroms against Jews.

4.            This 854-page book, Tashkentskii protsess, was published in Russian in 1976 by the Herzen Foundation (Amstel 268, Amsterdam — C). It concerns the trial of 10 Crimean Tatars in 1969.

5.            The Russian edition of A Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR (see Bibliographical Note).

6.            Cf. note 1 above.

7.            The full text of this psychiatric report (6 pp.) by Dr Alexander Voloshanovich is in the possession of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, and other medical bodies.

8.            Note 7 above applies also to this report (4 pp).

9.            Copies of these documents and Zenkov’s article are in the files of Keston College, Kent, as are other religious documents referred to in this Chronicle.

10.          Konstantin Gamsakhurdia, father of the arrested Zviad Gamsakhurdia, is regarded by many Georgians as their greatest modern novelist.

11.          It circulated, however, in samizdat, and has reached the West.

12.          Pseudonym of Igor Yefimov, who recently emigrated.