Miscellaneous Reports, pt 2 (51.19)

<<No 51 : 1 December 1978>>


At the end of August, a parcel of informational material of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group disappeared from the possession of S. Belokon, a resident of Kiev who was then in Moscow (in his words it was “lost’ by him). Soon afterwards S. Belokon, a Master of Historical Science, who had for a long time been trying to secure a Kiev residence permit and specialist work, obtained both the one and the other.


Kiev. In October Zvenislava Vivchar (the wife of political prisoner A. Sergiyenko), Vera Lisovaya (also the wife of a political prisoner), A.F. Matusevich (the mother of N. Matusevich), Pavel Stokotelny (the husband of N. Svetlichnaya), Elena Lelekh and Valentina Terpilo were summoned for “chats” at the KGB.


Vasilkov (Kiev Region). A meeting held in the workshop where Tamila Matusevich works, censured her for not dissociating herself from the anti-Soviet activities of her brother. The speakers said that she could not be trusted with the work of an engineer.


Dolina (Ivano-Frankovsk Region). On 6 October V. Streltsov, P. Sichko and V. Sichko, members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, were summoned (or taken) to the local KGB department, where they were warned: “lf anything happens in this district on the First Anniversary of the Constitution, you will be arrested”.


Kiev. Early in the morning of 3 November a man entered the home of Oksana Meshko (who lives in a detached suburban house on the outskirts of Kiev) and said that he needed to see Oksana Yakovlevna. To Meshko’s question “Are you an investigator?”, he answered in the affirmative. Asking him to wait in the hall, she started moving towards her bedroom. The man followed her, seized her by the hand, and getting out a revolver, demanded “Money!”, Oksana Yakovlevna broke away and jumped, screaming, through the window into the garden. Neighbours came running. One of them saw the man calmly leave the house, get into a taxi which was waiting at the gate, and drive away.

A while later a crime detective summoned by Meshko’s neighbour arrived. When he heard Meshko’s story this official asked why she had thought the man was an investigator, Meshko explained that, as the mother of a political prisoner, she had had dealings with investigators more than once, and that her “guest” had seemed a man of that type. The official then gave his version: “The attacker is a friend of your son. I saw the same thing myself a while ago. Acquaintances of mine also have a relative in prison for a political affair. Two men came to their house while I was there and asked for money to help political prisoners. We detained them and found anti-Soviet materials on them”.


Kiev. On 15 November Lyubov Murzhenko, the wife of Alexei Murzhenko (See “In the Prisons and Camps”), was summoned to the Kiev KGB. After a “chat” lasting an hour and a half, KGB official N, F. Sheremet issued her with a warning under the Decree of 25 December 1972 — for “circulation of false information” (as an example Sheremet mentioned L. Murzhenko’s letter to her husband about her arrest during the trial of Vins, see CCE 49.7; this letter was confiscated by the camp administration) and her “antisocial way of life”. L. Murzhenko did not sign the warning.


Moscow Region. In August Pinkhos Podrabinek (CCEs 47, 48) went to the post-office to find out why letters addressed to him and his family were not being delivered. The head of the post-office showed him the Statute on Communications:

“In the event of necessity, the organs of investigation have the right to confiscate and withhold correspondence.”

Podrabinek asked whether the Procurator had sanctioned the seizure of his correspondence. The head said that someone simply comes, shows his “credentials” and looks at Podrabinek’s letters.


Maikop. Acquaintances of V. Pavlov (CCE 43, 46) are constantly being summoned to the KGB. The party organizer at his place of work asks those who are seen in conversation with him what he has been talking about. KGB officials came to see Pavlov’s wife at work. They asked her whether she shares her husband’s views. Pavlov’s letters to Moscow (for example to V. Voinovich), and abroad, systematically go astray. To his complaints the post-office replies: “Your letter was lost in internal processing channels”, and the Deputy Procurator of the Adygei Autonomous Region told Pavlov: “You are not allowed to write abroad”.


Moscow, In March the telephone of Yu. Shikhanovich (CCEs 2, 27, 30, 32, 34) was disconnected. The chief of the Miussky telephone exchange, I. E. Desyatsky, told him that the telephone had been disconnected for six months on instructions from the chief of the Moscow City Telephone Network [MCTN] under Article 74 of the Statute on Communications (CCE 27). On 4 October, the telephone was reconnected, but on 1 November again disconnected. This time Desyatsky told Shikhanovich that the telephone had been permanently disconnected, and that it would be useless complaining to MCTN, because the authorization had not come from them and he did not know from whom it had come. He explained that the telephone had been disconnected “for his inability to use a telephone*.


Leningrad. On 5 April, at a meeting of the department where Ernst Orlovsky (CCEs 46, 49) works, the question of discipline at work was discussed. The head of department accused Orlovsky of being twice (4 and 5 April) a few minutes late for work. “The other day at our meeting Orlovsky criticized several articles of the RSFSR Constitution, but I consider that the Constitution is perfect, except that there is one article missing, one which would send people like you, Orlovsky, to a building without architectural excesses!” The meeting passed a resolution; “to show the minutes of the meeting to the administration”.

Later the words: “for the purpose of taking necessary punishment measures” were added, and in a memorandum dated 22 April it was stated that the meeting had presented a “Petition for the imposition of an administrative reprimand”. In addition, on 26 April a “Report” dated “4 April” was drawn up, in which it was said: E. S. Orlovsky was indeed this morning seven minutes late for work, on 4 April 1978, and eight minutes late on 5 April 1978”. (None of the four people who signed the report works in the same office as Orlovsky)

On 28 April, an order was issued to give E. Orlovsky a reprimand. The personnel department, when they informed him of the order, did not allow him to write any of it down or to read the papers on the basis of which it was issued. In the end Orlovsky succeeded in doing the latter.

Orlovsky wrote “The History of a Reprimand” (six pp.) about this incident.


On 23 June, the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet issued a Decree to deprive Oskar Rabin of Soviet citizenship “for actions discrediting the title of citizen of the U SSR”.

Oskar Rabin, an artist, is one of the organizers of the movement of independent artists (CCEs 34-7, 44, 49). In January 1978 Rabin went to West Germany as a guest. Before his departure, the authorities tried for a long time to make him go not “as a guest” but “for permanent residence”. They instituted criminal proceedings for “parasitism” (Article 209 of the Russian Criminal Code) against his son and threatened Rabin himself with the same charge.


On November 16, the police came to the flat of P.G. Grigorenko (CCE 48) and ordered the relatives who were living there (with two small children) to vacate the flat immediately. An extension of 24 hours was obtained with difficulty. On 17 November, the flat was sealed. (Z.M. Grigorenko, the wife of P.G. Grigorenko, has not been deprived of Soviet citizenship).

Dirty Tricks

Since the spring of 1978 anonymous texts have been circulated in Moscow entitled “Memorandum of the Fifty-Seven” (Nos. 1-3) and signed “the All-Russian Inter-Ideological Union” (VMIO) or even “the Political Board of VMIO”. These reminiscences consist of threats, abuse, gossip and slander directed at the movement to defend the rule of law and its participants. To illustrate their level here are two quotations;

“In the final count, political information has materialized into roubles and kopecks. And financial independence has given the dissident leadership the operative means and opportunity for a relatively secure existence, condemning the majority of ex-political prisoners to simple slavish dependence.

“The money of the Aid Fund for Political Prisoners is expended on the Sakharov-Bonner and Ginzburg-Zholkovskaya clique for carousing and orgies, payment for Jewish visas, and buying homes and cars for the chosen.”

The authors of the “Memoranda” have demanded from the Fund money for VMIO.

Simultaneously with the “Memoranda”, Sakharov and several others connected with the Fund received anonymous letters. Their contents were mainly pornographic. At the same time, Zholkovskaya and Sakharov received several anonymous telephone calls. Zholkovskaya was threatened with violence to her children, and, on 17 September, Sakharov heard: “Have you forgotten that the Inter-Ideological Union of Democrats has warned you and the notorious public fund? If you don’t cease your activities, measures will be taken by us, including even acts of terrorism”: then the speaker hung up.

The Chronicle has grounds for supposing that ex-political prisoner Valentin Novoseltsev (CCEs 45, 46) contributed to these “Memoranda”. Moreover, this is what V, Uzlov, just before his departure from the USSR (see “The Right to Leave”), writes about Novoseltsev in a statement to the Sverdlovsk KGB:

Some say that he is a great and dangerous inventor of conversations about the existence of non-existent illegal organizations; others see in him a strong desire to be a leader of these mythical detachments. (This statement was written after several summonses to the KGB, where Uzlov was questioned about an alleged organization of ex- political prisoners.)


On 24 September Raisa Borisovna Lert, a member of the editorial board of the journal Searches (See “Samizdat Update”) was handed Roy Medvedev’s “Open Letter” addressed to her. Formally, it seemed to be an answer to P. Abovin-Egides’s “Open Letter to Roy Medvedev”, published in Searches Nos. 1-2. Ten days later Roy Medvedev handed Georgy Vladimov a “copy” of his letter to R. Lert. However, the texts of the two letters are not the same — the second letter contains a series of paragraphs and phrases missing from the first letter. For example:

“… of course, the head of any charitable fund has the absolute right to use part of the assets of the fund for his personal needs. I do not consider that Ginzburg did not have the moral right to buy a house in Tarusa or a cooperative flat in Moscow. However, he could have managed without the various banquets on his birthday.”

Similar rumours were spread by the KGB even during the investigation of Ginzburg. In fact, the cooperative flat in Moscow was obtained by I. Zholkovskaya in 1967, and Ginzburg bought the house (or, rather, half a house — 13 square metres) in Tarusa at the beginning of 1973. (The Aid Fund for Political Prisoners has been in existence since 1974). R. Medvedev writes:

“From the collection Kaluga, July 1978 it is clear that the witnesses at Ginzburg’s trial were exclusively cx-criminals … but why did Ginzburg have so much to do with ex-criminals, and why did he entertain them so freely?”

Only one ex-criminal, Gradoboyev (CCE 50.3), took part in Ginzburg’s trial, as the above-mentioned collection shows.

R. Medvedev writes that Ginzburg, Orlov, Alexeyeva and Tverdokhlebov “collected donations for the needs of the movement to defend the rule of law”. This is, in fact, untrue. Money was only collected to help political prisoners and their families.

“… they made lists of “donors” and even wrote down the amounts they had paid. It is clear that the confiscation of such material from the people listed above served as grounds for the investigation and even arrests of a considerable number of other, honest people, especially in the provinces …”

R. Medvedev cites no concrete evidence for this because none exists.

R, Medvedev reproaches Ginzburg with “strange carelessness”, with “an almost deliberate provocation of repressive measures against himself and his immediate circle”, and with conceit, Medvedev accompanies his reproaches of carelessness with an appeal for strict conspiracy, for “going underground”, etc. On this point the Moscow Helsinki Group’s Document No. 65 states:

“This really does resemble provocation.

“The Helsinki Group, like other civic groups defending the rule of law, acts legally, basing itself on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and operating within the limits of international covenants and agreements ratified by the USSR.

“The appeal for illegality is a calculated attempt to pervert the very essence of the movement to defend the rule of law.”

R. Lert, G. Vladimov, P. Abovin-Egides, E. Gnedin, S. Babenysheva and A. Babenyshev sent indignant replies to R. Medvedev’s deliberately slanderous letter.

in Document No. 65 dated 18 October, “The Propaganda Campaign to Discredit the Movement to Defend the Rule of Law in the USSR”,  The Moscow Helsinki Group includes “The VMIO Memoranda” and R, Medvedev’s “Open Letter” in the context of the general campaign being conducted by the authorities to discredit the movement. The authors write about a multitude of newspaper and magazine articles and false rumours disseminated through official propaganda, including judges (See CCE 50 and I. Zholkovskaya’s letter in the section “In the Prisons and Camps”).


In October 1978 Vladimir Borisov and three of his friends from Leningrad — Lev Volokhonsky, Nikolai Nikitin and Albina Yakoreva — staged a “play” with the aim, as they wrote afterwards, of “clarifying for ourselves which moral and ethical norms… to live by in everyday life”. Choosing a few dissidents of differing outlooks, they made phone calls to them and, telling them some story on behalf of other (sometimes invented) characters, wheedled from them a few pairs of underpants and bottles of vodka. Their experiment having demonstrated, according to them, the low moral level of the people tested, Borisov and his comrades described it in the form of a play, “The Knickerade [Kalsoniada] (Gangsters and Philanthropists)”.

One of the involuntary personages in the play, Yury Grimm, wrote in reply the article “After the Premiere (Instead of a Review)”, which ended thus:

“To our way of thinking, this whole Borisov lark is very like a denunciation to the Cheka [an earlier name for the K G B]. And if these gangsters from the Democratic Movement are unable to find an application for their talents in the necessary channels in future, the threat to the democratic movement from within will become fairly real.

“We’ve had enough Yakirs, Petrov-Agatovs, Gamsakhurdias, VMIO Memoranda and “Knickerades’.”

The Free Inter-Trade Association of Working People

After the Free Trades Union (CCE 48) was effectively destroyed (CCEs 48 and CCE 49.18), an attempt was launched to organize a new association along similar lines.

On 28 October, at a press conference held in Mark Morozov’s flat (See “Arrests, Searches, Interrogations”), the formation of a “Free Inter-Trade Association of Working People” (FIAWP) was announced. V. Borisov, L. Volokhonsky, N. Nikitin, A. Yakoreva, L. Agapova, A, Ivanchenko (CCE 43), E. Nikolayev (CCEs 48, 49), V. Novodvorskaya and V. Skvirsky (CCE 43) made up its “Council of Representatives”.

On 1 November Mark Morozov was arrested.

On 2 November V. Borisov, L. Volokhonsky and N. Nikitin were deported to Leningrad.

On 13 November V. Skvirsky was arrested and charged with the theft of library books.

On 24 November V. Novodvorskaya was compulsorily hospitalized (See “In the Psychiatric Hospitals”),

A. Ivanchenko was warned by the KGB (first through his father, then in person) that he would be arrested if he did not cease his “activities”.


The authorities are trying to keep Soviet eyes away from the pollution of contact with the six-pointed star (the form of a Mogen dovid or “Star of David” — a Judaic holy sign). For example, in S. A. Klepikov’s book Russian Watermarks of the XVIII — Early XX Century (Moscow, Nauka, 1978) they blanked out the six-pointed star on the Goncharov family’s coat of arms (and the department’s employees were told to keep quiet about it); and on the gates of the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy Club a six-pointed star has been removed from the latticework.


In several libraries issue 17 of The Gazette of the USSR Supreme Soviet for 1976, in which the “International Covenants on Human Rights” were published, is not being issued. For example, in the State Historical Public Library a reader was told that it had been “put into the special archive”.


The Lithuanian Glavlit (Main Administration for Barring State Secrets from the Press), attached to the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR) issued an order on 10 May to remove the books of Tomas Venclova from the library and trade network. (These are three books published in 1962, 1965 and 1972. T. Venclova, a member of the Lithuanian Helsinki Group, left the USSR in January 1977 — (CCEs 44, 45.)

On 3 August, the Ukrainian Glavlit issued an analogous order about the books of Mykola [Nikolai] Rudenko.


In 1978 Progress Publishers put out a book by Thomas Rezac, Solzhenitsyn’s Spiral of Treachery (an authorized translation from Czech). References are made in the book to the “revelatory” utterances about Solzhenitsyn of K. Simonyan, a school comrade of Solzhenitsyn who died in 1977, and L. Kopelev. Kopelev has published a denial under the title “Forgery”.


Novosibirsk. Yu.I. Kulakov, an Assistant Professor in the Physics Faculty of Novosibirsk University, is well-known as a connoisseur and “populariser” of painting. He is often invited to give art lectures. In the past ten or twelve years he has given lectures in many Soviet towns.

At the beginning of 1978, a certain “Petya” attended several of Kulakov’s art lectures and made his acquaintance. One day he went up to him at the university after a physics lecture and suggested a talk. He introduced himself to Kulakov as a KGB official and introduced him to “Vasily Ivanovich, a KGB Colonel from Moscow”.

They told Kulakov that a pile of information — letters from people who had listened to Kulakov’s art lectures — had built up, showing that the content of the lectures was ideologically harmful, for example, his lectures on Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall and Picasso. The Colonel invited Kulakov to write an explanation. The next day Kulakov delivered the explanation, but the KGB men did not look at it and began to question Kulakov about his circulation of samizdat and other “anti-Soviet literature”. They referred to literature shown them by acquaintances of Kulakov who had received or seen it at his home. They showed Kulakov several statements.

Kulakov did not want to embark on detailed explanations, especially about circumstances which affected other people; he was then invited to write yet another explanation — this time about the “circulation” of literature, even just about himself.

At a third meeting Yu.I. Kulakov announced that he would not write an explanation. In reply, Vasily Ivanovich and Petya began threatening Kulakov with various reprisals — sacking from the university (Kulakov has been teaching there for over 15 years), expelling his daughter from the Stroganov College (in Moscow), and also the instituting of criminal proceedings.

In the autumn of 1978 Petya approached Kulakov several times and reminded him that “the conversation was not finished”.

In November 1978 Kulakov was summoned to the KGB and informed that in view of his age (he is 55 or 56) and other circumstances, they would close his “case” but advised him to be sensible, and especially to refrain from doubtful utterances in his lectures on art.

In 1968 Yu. I. Kulakov signed the letter from 46 Novosibirsk academics (CCE 1.2, item 2.6) about the trial of Ginzburg and Galanskov, and was, for this, subjected to an informal investigation.


Moscow. On 13 April, at the Steklov Mathematical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, a philosophy seminar was held. The seminar was devoted to a “creative exchange” with the writer I. Shevtsov (author of the scandalously famous novels Aphis, In the Name of Father and Son and Love and Hate) and the poet F. Chuyev. Shevtsov read a chapter about Stalin from his new novel, and Chuyev read poems in which Stalin was mentioned.

During his speech Shevtsov talked about “the battle for people’s souls” and against “the corrupting poison of cosmopolitanism”. He said that he is particularly horrified by the influence of the process of denationalization on young people: “We are bringing up a generation of traitors”, (One of the Institute’s party activists afterwards corrected Shevtsov. He said that everything was well with our young people, although there were isolated exceptions.) Shevtsov complained that his works had not been printed for many years. “They’ve got the Solzhenitsyn Fund, but nobody helps us, and one has one’s family to support, you know”. During Shevtsov’s speech giggles were heard in the hall, then an alienated silence reigned.

The next speaker was Academician Pontryagin, who also talked about the battle for souls and against people who are indifferent or hostile to Russian culture and Russian traditions. He complained that attention was not being paid to the problem in the Academy of Sciences and that people were scared to talk about it in general meetings; often those persons who were worried about this question were subjected to undeserved taunts and insults. For example, Academician Lavrentev had called Pontryagin an anti-Semite. Pontryagin mentioned the merits of Lavrentev, in particular in setting up the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences, but said that he considered Lavrentev, in the given instance, to have behaved like a traitor to the Russian people. As an example of the baits which help to force Russian people to serve alien interests, Pontryagin pointed to the Nobel Prizes,


Leningrad. On 4 July, American Independence Day, a concert should have taken place on Palace Square, Famous American and Soviet artists — Joan Baez, Alla Pugachova, the group “Santana” and others — were due to perform. The concert was announced m the newspaper Evening Leningrad about two months in advance.

A few days before the concert Leningrad newspapers announced that it had been cancelled. All the same, on 4 July from 4 pm onwards young people began to gather on Palace Square. Many of them had come from other towns especially for the concert. By evening several thousand people had assembled.

The police started to act. They surrounded the square. A lot of cars drove up. The police tried to clear the square both by persuading the crowd to disperse and by using force. Many were caught and taken away. Then water-cannons moved on the square and, together with police cars, started to press the crowd towards the Fontanka Canal. Some people jumped into the water. Only towards 11 pm did the police manage to clear the square.

It is well-known that the American participants of the concert, as well as the television company which had the contract for filming the concert, were only informed of the cancellation a few days beforehand and without any clear explanation of the reasons.


Moscow, On 13 July Shkalikov, Secretary of the Admissions Commission of the Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty of Moscow University, took Valery Senderov (CCEs 45 and CCE 47.17), a mathematics teacher from School No. 2 (CCE 27.11) to the police station, accusing him of helping school-leavers to write appeals (See “Samizdat Update”). Senderov wrote an “explanation”:

“In particular he lost his temper when I advised one of the pupils, who was writing an appeal, how, in my opinion, to do it in a literate and tactful way …”

After this he was allowed to leave.


Moscow. On the noticeboard of the All-Union Vitamin Research Institute of the Ministry for the Medical Industry hung an invitation to Komsomol members to take part in a quiz:

Our Socialist Commonwealth

1              What has socialism given man in 60 years?

2.            Why is there one party in the USSR? Is socialism compatible with a multi-party system?

3.            Can socialist planning take the place of competition?

4.            Can Soviet citizens set up their own public organizations and publish periodicals?

5.            Why can art not be divorced from politics? What is Socialist Realism?

6.            Does planning in science not hinder its free development? Its unfettered exploration?

7.            Why was it necessary to adopt a new Constitution and how does it differ from the old one?

8.            Does any kind of limitation on rights and freedoms exist in the USSR?

9.            How is environmental conservation organized in the USSR?

10,          How is price stability on basic consumer goods guaranteed in the USSR?

11.          What is the relationship between the State and trades unions in the USSR? Are there any laws in the Soviet Union limiting trades union rights?

The winner will receive the preferential right to a holiday in one of the socialist countries in 1979 (allocated through the Komsomol district committee).