In the Prisons and Camps (46.10)

MVD Directives on Conditions of Detention

No. 20 (14 January 1972) – the basic regulations, covering practically all aspects of the prisoners’ lives (see CCE 33.3).

No. 225 (25 April 1972)  – lays down food rations for prisoners of all categories (see CCE 33.2).

No. 118 – allows one food product to be replaced by another. For example, butter may be replaced by margarine — gram for gram. During the “non-vegetable” period (July-August) vegetables may be replaced by groats. The rule states that this exchange “does not change the number of calories or the full value of the food’.

No. 379 (24 November 1970) – regulates the method of making deductions from prisoners’ wages and the size of such deductions (which go towards the upkeep of the camp and to pay for food, clothing, money claims and alimonies).

No. 118 (1972) – defines more closely and expands the previous rule. In particular, it lays down that deductions must be made within a month; back-dated deductions are not allowed (see “Vladimir Prison” in the previous issue, CCE 45.11).

No. 601 – significantly extends (in comparison with the Corrective Labour Code) the number of cases in which handcuffs may be used (for example, in cases of refusal to let one’s hair be shaved off).

No. 125 (1 October 1975) – strengthens the existing rule about the necessity of a monthly haircut (the rule specifies “all hairy places’). Hair may only be grown three months before release.

No. 139 (12 May 1974) – allows the use of electric shavers (however, there are no electric sockets in prisons).

No. 040/56, “Directives on censorship” – According to these, letters are to be ironed, treated with chemical reagents and examined under the stamps. Section 29 of these directives reads:

Confiscation of outgoing and incoming correspondence:

(a)          if it is in cipher or in code, or suspicious in content;

(b)          if the text contains information which is a state secret or not for publication, that is:

  • about a crime which has either been committed or is being planned;
  • about the location of a Corrective Labour Institution and its sub-divisions;
  • about the numbers and composition of the prisoners;
  • about the security system of Corrective Labour Institutions;
  • about the nature and extent of the buildings and places of work;
  • about epidemics and mass illness and so on;

(c)           if it describes methods of illegal correspondence and of sending forbidden objects;

(d)          if it contains anti-Soviet expressions or a distorted view of internal and international life;

(e)          if it includes drawings or reproductions of a pornographic or censorable nature;

(f)           if it includes geographical maps;

(g)          if it includes literature which it is forbidden to distribute in the USSR;

(h)          if it contains carbon-paper or other objects which it is forbidden to store.

No. 93 – lays down the way in which searches are to be carried out. In particular, it states that in suspicious circumstances it is permitted to pierce soap and food products and to rip clothing in suspicious places.

No. 238 (11 July 1969) – lays down the procedure for marriage with persons who are at liberty.

No. 111 (1974) – lays down the procedure for making wills.

All the above directives, apart from Nos. 139 and 20, are secret – in spite of this, No. 20 is never shown to anyone.

(See also the statement of Yury [P.] Fyodorov in CCE 45).

Vladimir Prison

See Appendix for the identity of these prisoners, CCE 46.23.

Razmik Zograbyan arrived in March from Perm Camp 35 (for 3 years); in April, Izrail Zalmanson (until the end of his sentence, i.e., 15 June 1978; see CCE 45).

Josif Mendelevich arrived from Perm Camp 36 in June (for 3 years; see “The Perm Camps” in this issue).

All three have been put on strict regime for two months.

*

In July Popadyuk and Turik were sent to the Ukraine for “prophylactic measures’.

*

Viktor Ivanovich Bondarenko has arrived from Mordovian Camp 1. He has been imprisoned for 34 years already; he has 14 years of his sentence left to serve. Before being sent to Vladimir he exposed Major Malakhov, deputy commandant on duty, and Lieutenant Zadenchuk; they were selling the prisoners codeine at 5 roubles a packet.

*

The list of political prisoners in Vladimir Prison in CCE 44 left out Bezenchuk and Kobko among the ‘stripies’ [those initially sentenced to special-regime camps].

Having ended his prison term, Yefremov has been sent to a camp. Akhmedov and Kukushkin, whose sentences on political charges have come to an end, but whose terms on criminal charges are still in force, have been transferred to cells for common criminals. All three of these men are ‘stripies’.

*

The beating of prisoners in Vladimir Prison is continuing. After Lieutenant-Colonel Ugodin became the prison governor (CCEs 43, 44) the beatings became even more severe.

On 9 April 1977, the warders in Block 4 savagely beat the ‘criminal’ Urbonavicius. In the next cell, 4-17, the prisoners started to pound on the door, demanding that the beating should stop. For this, one of the prisoners in that cell, Adzhari Guseinov, was transferred to the cooler for 12 days on 16 April. During his spell in the cooler Guseinov was taken to Lieutenant Alexandrov, a security inspector. At the end of their ‘talk’, Alexandrov kicked Guseinov in the back so hard that he lost consciousness. They threw water over Guseinov to revive him and returned him to the cooler.

On 14 April First Lieutenant Zhizhin, the duty deputy governor of the prison, Major Kiselev, and Ugodin himself beat up Omar Askhanov. He and other prisoners had demanded “inspection of beatings” (that is, that the traces should be recorded in a medical document). The block nurse refused to do this: “If the governor allows it — then we’ll examine you.” Only after a friendly knock at some cell doors did Ugodin arrange to call a doctor. Butova, head of the medical section, “inspected the beatings”, saying meanwhile that there was nothing very terrible to look at. At the time Askhanov was covered in bruises and was coughing blood (Askhanov has tuberculosis; in February he was taken off a special diet by order of the security department)

Sometimes prisoners who have ‘misbehaved’ are put in a cell with specially-picked common criminals, who rob, beat up, and sometimes even rape the victim they have been sent. On 6 February, I.V. Chaika was sent to such a cell, 3-32. He was there robbed of all he had, but when security inspector Rylov came to take him away, one of the thieves said to Rylov: “Let’s have Grandfather Frost and his big sack as well.”

Cases of violence against political prisoners have multiplied. Once at the beginning of April Bondarenko was led away before the end of an exercise period. He resisted. Then he was dragged along by his scarf. Bondarenko lost consciousness from suffocation.

On 16 April Major Kiselev, security official First Lieutenant Khripunov and some warders, together with the usual patrol of two guards, came to the cell where Afanasyev, Davydov and Safronov were held, before they went out for exercise. Safronov and Davydov said that they were ill, were on a regime for the bedridden, and would not go out for a walk. Kiselev, without listening to their explanations, dragged Safronov out of his bunk. “I’m not interested in your illness,” he shouted, “you’ve got to take a walk . . . clear the cell!” Khripunov and the warders dragged Safronov out. Kiselev pounced on Davydov. Only when a nurse, passing by chance, confirmed that they had been put on a regime for the bedridden by a doctor, were Davydov and Safronov left in peace.

On 1 May, also before an exercise period, Popadyuk received “minor bodily injuries”. Drunken warders threw themselves on him and began to suffocate him, saying that he seemed to have swallowed something.

*

In January none of the political prisoners was put in the cooler.

On 20 February Bondar got 15 days in the cooler for refusing to share a cell with Konstantinovsky, then an extra 12 days for ‘micro-writing’ and for his statement to the Central Committee about Bukovsky.

On 24 February Abankin got 15 days for communication between cells, and an extra 12 days for using insulting expressions about the administration.

On 25 February Afanasyev got 10 days for ‘micro-writing’.

On 28 February Trufanov got 15 days for the memoirs he had written in his cell.

On 3 March Makarenko got 15 days for trying to pass on a note during a visit, and an extra 12 days for complaining.

On 4 March Safronov got 15 days and Superfin 12 days for communication between cells.

At the beginning of April Konstantinovsky got 10 days for not standing up when a prison official entered the cell.

On 5 April Balakhonov got 15 days for ‘micro-writing’ containing “libellous material’.

On 9 April Abankin got 15 days, again for insulting the administration, plus 12 days for telling stories about his childhood, plus 15 days for violating the regime regulations (it was not stated which regulations).

On 13 April Superfin got 15 days for communication between cells.

On 25 April Zdorovy got 15 days for “using impermissible expressions in complaints” and secret writing.

On 26 April Stepanov and Trufanov got 15 days for “using impermissible expressions in complaints”.

On 28 April Safronov got 15 days for some papers which were confiscated during a search.

At the end of April Bondarenko was in the cooler (term and reasons unknown).

On 26 May Superfin got 15 days for refusing to put his hands behind his back.

On 27 May Turik, Popadyuk and Zdorovy got 10 days each for the same thing.

On 10 June Bondarenko got 15 days for drawing a caricature of Butova, head of the medical department, who had refused him treatment. Bondarenko was so weak that he was in no state to carry his trestle bed into the cooler for the night and slept on the cement floor.

On 18 June Makarenko was put in the cooler for his refusal to give his fingerprints before being released. His spell in the cooler was ended by his transfer to Leningrad, where he was released on 2 July.

In June Abankin got 15 days. In six months, he had served 84 days in the cooler (see CCE 45).

*

In a conversation with Safronov, Captain Doinikov said that the increased frequency of terms in the cooler was the result of Bukovsky’s behaviour abroad.

Commenting on a camp photograph of Corvalan, with his hair untrimmed and in casual clothes, Doinikov said: “Pinochet deliberately doesn’t cut his prisoners’ hair, he wants them to get lice and become ill, but we take care of our prisoners, as we’re the cleanest nation in the world.”

*

At the end of May Antonyuk was deprived of access to the camp shop.

*

Davydov was deprived of his last visit because he had left a button undone. (On 21 September, his prison term is due to end; after that he still has to serve two years in exile). He has rheumatic heart disease and chronic pneumonia. In camp he was given the status of a third- group invalid. In Vladimir this was confirmed.

*

Since April, the prisoners have in reality been put on a ten-hour working day, of which two hours are unpaid. This is justified by reference to article 41 of the Corrective Labour Code, which allows prisoners to be given two extra hours a day of unpaid work “to organise amenities in places of detention . . , and … to improve the cultural and living conditions”. However, in Vladimir these two unpaid hours are used for the ordinary industrial work and are assigned daily. The political prisoners are continuing to boycott work.

As a reply to provocations, fault-finding and punishments connected with being taken out for exercise, many political prisoners refused from 11 May to go out for exercise.

*

In May stronger measures were taken to stop leakage of information. No complaints except those addressed to the procurator were allowed through. Books which were examined were torn, the covers ripped off (in connection with this, see “In Tarusa” in the section “After Release’, CCE 46.11).

They even tore a book which Popadyuk received through “Books by Post”.

*

In May the political prisoners began to be transferred to another block. Their new cells are interspersed with the cells of common criminals, who have been specially picked by the authorities.

*

At the beginning of June Captain Fedotov, deputy governor for regime matters, twice announced over the internal radio that a ‘Cactus’ high voltage security system had been established around the prison. Contact with it is fatal. The prisoners are to be asked to sign a statement that they have been informed of this. Fedotov announced that because the new system was so secure the guard posts were to be removed.

However, for the time being they are still there.

*

In September 1976 one of Antonyuk’s letters was confiscated (although at first he was told that it had been sent). Captain Doinikov explained to Antonyuk that the letter had been confiscated because it contained quotations from Herodotus in the Ukrainian language, and advised him to write on everyday subjects. In statements addressed to Rudenko and Andropov, Antonyuk demanded that his letter be sent, describing the actions of the administration as a demonstration of anti-Ukrainian feeling.

*

The prisoners are being given less food than they are entitled to, for example by the soup being watered. They are given mouldy bread, rotten fish and cabbage. However, Doinikov — after visiting the prisoners, who were making a fuss about this — admitted that they were right: the seal-meat was rotten. On this occasion it was changed for something else.

The Mordovian Camps

Those who took part in the 100-day hunger strike in camps 3 and 19 in support of the demand to introduce a “statute for political prisoners” — a strike timed for the Belgrade conference (CCE 45) — have been punished. At the end of April Sergei Soldatov and Vladimir Osipov (Camp 19) were put in the punishment barracks; several people were put in the cooler.

At the end of June Soldatov was sent to Tallin.

Camp 1 (special regime)

Ivan Gel declared himself on hunger strike, demanding better living conditions for his wife and daughter. After a month on hunger strike S. Karavansky is seriously ill. In June-July he was in hospital.

E. Kuznetsov and Father V. Romanyuk were transferred to Saransk in May. On 27 May Kuznetsov had a short visit.

S. Shinkevich has been sent under escort to Dnepropetrovsk.

On 13 June, a hunger-strike “In honour of Belgrade” began.

Camp 3

From 13 March to 13 May Nijole Sadunaite was in Saransk. During the journey there, she became ill with bronchitis, which turned into bronchiectasis.

The censors remove Christmas or Easter cards from the letters N. Sadunaite receives. Over 300 letters which were sent to her from England have been returned to the senders. In January and February two letters written by Sadunaite were confiscated.

In November 1976 Nadezhda Usoyeva (CCE 33) was put in the punishment barracks.

Camp 19

Vasily Kalinin (b. 1917, since 1957 serving a 25-year sentence for religious propaganda) is a member of the True Orthodox Church. The warders do not allow him to pray (he tries to do this in the storeroom) and every so often they confiscate or break the religious objects he makes by hand.

Kalinin has often been punished for not going out to work on Sun days and religious feast-days. He has regularly been put in the cooler, and his hair, beard and whiskers have been shaved off. The camp officials, not excluding Commandant Pikulin and Seksyasov, head of the medical section (Chronicle 45), mock his faith.

Nikolai Budulak-Sharygin,[CCE 32], seriously ill with hypertonia, has not been given clearance to go to hospital by Seksyasov for a long time, nor has he been released from work. In May, Budulak-Sharygin was taken to the hospital in a very serious condition.

Petras Paulaitis has in practice been deprived of the right of correspondence. His letters are held back under the pretext that there is no-one to translate them from Lithuanian. Paulaitis is 73 years old. When he was a secondary school teacher he led a group of young people who fought for Lithuanian independence, both under the Germans and after the return of Soviet troops. In 1946 he was sentenced to 25 years. In 1956 he was released after his case was re-examined. On returning to Lithuania, he refused to condemn “Lithuanian bourgeois nationalism” and in 1957 was sent back to ‘serve out’ his sentence. After he was arrested, a new charge was brought against him and he was again given a 25-year sentence.

Razmik Markosyan’s incarceration in the cooler on 14 February (CCE 45) was due to his non-attendance at political lectures, his appearance in a living area “not his own’, and his non-fulfilment of the work norm.

Maigonis Ravins, who was put in the punishment barracks at the end of January (CCE 45), was twice transferred to the cooler regime for 10 days (with a break of two days).

*

The prison block in Camp 19 also ‘serves’ the prisoners in Camp 3. It is laid out as follows: three punishment cells (two for four people and one for three); on the other side of the corridor are three cooler cells (for two, three and four people), a work cell, the warders’ room and an exercise yard with a lavatory. A cell for four persons has an area of about eight square metres, folding bunks in two layers (kept locked up during the day), a stove, a latrine bucket, a table, benches and one stool. Right under the ceiling is a small, barred window. The door, which has a spyhole and a number of locks, is fitted with warning apparatus.

*

Camp commandant Pikulin declared Sunday, 20 February, to be a working day. The order to this effect, like that concerning two Sundays in January (CCE 45), was not officially registered.