The Trial of Ruban, April 1977 (45.3)

<<No 45 : 25 May 1977>>

On 29 December 1976, the Chernigov Regional Court sentenced Pyotr Vasilyevich Ruban on a charge of “theft” (Article 81, part 3 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code) and “private-enterprise activity” [Article 150] to 8 years’ special-regime camp and 5 years’ exile (CCE 44, “Letters and Statements”). In CCE 44 there was also the information that the case against Ruban was instigated soon after his work had been stolen from his domestic studio — an inlaid wooden book made as a gift to the American people on the 200th anniversary of the USA.

P. V. Ruban appealed to the Supreme Court of the Ukrainian SSR. The Supreme Court set aside the sentence and sent the case for a fresh investigation.


This time Ruban was charged not only under the two former articles but also under Article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (corresponding to Article 190-1 of the Russian Code). The basis for a charge under this article was Ruban’s camp diary (he came out of the Mordovian camps in 1973) and also his critical pronouncements on some sort of ware which had been given the mark of good quality.

The trial went on for seven days. About 40 witnesses appeared, many of whom refuted the prosecution’s version of events, especially the theft of materials from the furniture combine of the town of Priluki where Ruban worked. However, in the speech for the prosecution the Procurator said on this point that Ruban had such a big briefcase that he was able to carry many material valuables away in it.

The defence lawyer stated that his defendant was not guilty, and he demanded his acquittal. Ruban himself also pleaded not guilty. He said at the trial: “I am being tried for wanting the Ukraine to leave the Soviet Union and for the fact that after serving a 5-year sentence for this I have not changed my views.”

[This time] The court sentenced Ruban to 6 years’ imprisonment and 3 years’ exile.