The Ginzburg-Orlov Case (45.4)

<<No 45 : 25 May 1977>>

Officially this is two separate cases: Case No. 6, conducted by the Kaluga KGB against A. I. Ginzburg (investigator Lt.-Colonel Oselkov) and Case No. 7, conducted by the Moscow KGB against Yu. F. Orlov.

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On 4 July, the day after the arrest of Ginzburg, a search was conducted in connection with his case in Leningrad at the home of philologist Arseny Borisovich Roginsky, and also in the flat of his mother-in-law Yu, A, Frumkina. The search was carried out by officials of the Leningrad K G B on instructions from Kaluga. Issues 42 and 43 of the Chronicle, Andrei Platonov’s The Foundation Pit [Kotlovan] and two volumes of N. Ya Mandelstam’s memoirs were confiscated from Roginsky. Nothing was taken from Yu. A. Frumkina. In a search for foreign currency and money certificates, radio sets and a television were discovered.

A few days after the search Roginsky and his wife Natalya Frumkina were summoned for interrogation. They were asked whether they knew A. Ginzburg and his wife. Both replied in the negative. Further interrogations concerned the materials confiscated during the search.

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On 3 and 4 March 17-year-old Sergei Shibayev was interrogated in connection with Case No. 6.

Seryozha Shibayev lived in Tarusa and made friends there with Ginzburg’s family. Having entered a professional technical school in Moscow two years earlier, he had started living in their Moscow flat.

On 3 March officials of the KGB summoned Shibayev from class and took him to Kaluga. On the first day the investigator questioned Shibayev about himself, at which point it became apparent that they knew certain insignificant details of his life (lateness for lessons, for instance). The next day (he spent the night in Kaluga) Sergei announced to the investigator that he would not reply to questions about Ginzburg, since he was afraid that through ignorance of legal matters, he might say something that would be distorted and used against Ginzburg.

When the investigator wanted to know why Sergei did not trust him, Sergei replied: “You got hold of him when he was ill and did not tell Irina Sergeyevna [Ginzburg], who was herself unwell and got extremely worried.” Having failed to persuade Sergei to give evidence, the investigator questioned him about why he had become so close to the Ginzburg family and why he lived with them and not in a hostel. Sergei said that Alexander Ilych and Irina Sergeyevna were helping him with his studies, and that in their home he found a friendly attitude while in the hostel there were drinking sessions, constant noise and fights.

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In March, the artist Khvoshchov, who lives in Tarusa, was interrogated. He was asked what Ginzburg used to give him to read.

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In March-April two former political prisoners were brought to Kaluga for interrogation: Valentin Novoseltsev from Novokuznetsk and Yury Fyodorov from Tomsk Region (CCE 44). (Both were under guard. Novoseltsev was recently convicted on a charge of carrying an offensive weapon — a kitchen knife. For Fyodorov’s case see the section “In Exile” in this issue, CCE 45.13.)

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On 14 March, in connection with Case No. 474, there was a search at the home of an acquaintance of A. Podrabinek (CCE 44).

On 16 March, in connection with the same case, a search was conducted in the flat of Yu. Orlov. The search-warrant, made out in the name of Irina Valitova, Orlov’s wife, said that the search was being conducted “for confiscation of material valuables”. This was the third search in three months at the flat of Orlov (CCE 44.2-1). One-and-a-half kilograms of wool and certificates to the sum of 140 roubles were taken away.

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On 17 March, on the instructions of Lt.-Colonel Oselkov, a search was conducted at the home of former political prisoner Ivar Zhukovskis (CCE 33) in the town of Jelgava (Latvian SSR) in connection with Case No. 6. The search was led by Captain Kartlins. The second volume of Gulag Archipelago, one issue of Herald of the Russian Christian Movement, many books, newspapers, journals published in the period of Latvian independence, exercise books with Zhukovskis’s notes on the history of Latvia, Zhukovskis’s published articles (before his arrest he worked as a journalist), manuscripts of the articles “Democratic Tendencies in Latvia” and “National Sovereignty and a Nation”, letters and notebooks were confiscated.

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In April or May, the first wife of Orlov and his grown-up son were summoned for interrogation.

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On 21 May in connection with Case No. 6 a search was conducted at the home of Anatoly Marchenko in Chuna (Irkutsk Region), where he is in exile (CCEs 35, 36). Marchenko’s manuscripts were confiscated.

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On 23 May, Ivar Zhukovskis, summoned from Latvia, was interrogated in Kaluga. He gave evidence that when he had been in camp his family had received about 1,000 roubles from the Fund. He refused to state who precisely had given them the money.

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On 25 May in Leningrad, in connection with Case No. 6, Valeria Isakova, wife of political prisoner G. Davydov, was interrogated. Isakova said that she had received money from the Relief Fund for Political Prisoners but refused to answer the question whether she had herself given aid to the families of other prisoners. To a question as to whether she had received any literature from Ginzburg, Isakova replied in the negative.

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On 5 April, when Irina Zholkovskaya brought a routine parcel to the Kaluga Prison for her husband Alexander Ginzburg, half of the food in it was for various reasons not accepted: biscuits because they contained raisins; fish conserves — the doctor did not allow them; cheese because it was runny; toffees because they were not bought in Kaluga; sausage because it was not Soviet-made; parsley — no explanation; (all the above-named products are on the list that hangs in the room where one hands in parcels in Kaluga prison). The receptionist stated that she would accept only those products that had been bought in Kaluga. (The salesgirl in the Kaluga supermarket ‘Sunrise’ told I. Zholkovskaya that they had had no cheese at all for three months.)

I. Zholkovskaya’s complaints to the head of the prison and the Procurator of the USSR remained unanswered.

On 5 May almost everything was accepted.

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On 13 April I. Valitova and I. Zholkovskaya made a statement to the Press:

“… recently ominous rumours have spread round Moscow that both Ginzburg and Orlov will be tried for violating the laws on foreign currency transactions. There is every reason to believe that these rumours are deliberately inspired by the KGB, evidently with the aim of demoralising those people who are speaking up in defence of the arrested men.

“Certain passages in the article of Petrov-Agatov, the foreign currency planted in Ginzburg’s flat, and the confiscation from Ginzburg and Orlov of all their money and a certain number of valuable objects (in the most recent and rapacious raid — the third — even one-and-a-half kilograms of wool were taken away from Irina Orlova, and before this at Ginzburg’s home, where there are two small children, only 38 kopeks were left behind) — all this makes us fear that the authorities have decided to stage not a political but a criminal trial…”

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On 18 February 220 foreign physicists sent a telegram to the USSR Academy of Sciences in defence of their colleague Professor Orlov. [Note 38]

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A group of West German physicists has proposed the election of Orlov as a foreign member of the German Society of Researchers. In connection with this A. D. Sakharov sent Professor H. Mayer-Leibniz a letter describing the scientific activities of Yu. Orlov.

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The English defence lawyer J. MacDonald has undertaken to defend Yu. Orlov (the American defence lawyer Williams, who is defending Ginzburg, is written about in CCE 44.3). Members of the Moscow Helsinki group have sent both defence lawyers their thanks and an invitation to come to Moscow. Both defence lawyers asked for entry visas at the Soviet embassies. MacDonald has already been refused.

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A collection has appeared in samizdat under the title The Case of Alexander Ginzburg and Yury Orlov: Information Bulletin no. I (February-April 1977). From the foreword:

“The outcome of the ‘case’ of A. Ginzburg and Yu. Orlov will be of major significance, and not only for our country …

“Now, when many people the world over are tensely and anxiously following the fates of A. Ginzburg and Yu. Orlov, when Soviet propaganda is trying to pour filth on their names, it is especially essential to have true and accurate information on all the circumstances connected with their ‘case’.

“This task is undertaken by our Information Bulletin, issues of which will appear whenever enough documentary material has accumulated.”

The Bulletin contains about 40 documents (mainly letters, appeals, statements), short pieces of information about events connected with the ‘case’, and, as an appendix, a list of the scholarly works of Yu. F. Orlov (67 items).

Almost all the materials published in the bulletin are reflected in CCE 44 and in the present issue.

See also the section “Letters and Statements” in this issue, CCE 45.14.