Letters and Statements (51.20)

<<No 51 : 1 December 1978>>

115 signatures: “To the International Committee of the Red Cross and the League of Red Cross Societies”

“For a number of years, the International Red Cross has not responded in any way to reports about bad conditions in places of imprisonment, and to the abuse of psychiatry in the USSR.

“We call on you to initiate the setting up of a system of international inspection of places of imprisonment and prison and psychiatric hospitals in all the countries belonging to the League.

“We call on you to bring about the immediate release of those who have embodied the principles of your organization in their humanitarian activities.”


A. Sakharov: “To King Carl-Gustav XVI of Sweden” (5 June 1978)

During his official visit to the USSR the King of Sweden received a letter from Sakharov, asking His Majesty to speak out in defence of his colleague S, Kovalyov (while in Moscow Carl-Gustav took part in a biochemistry symposium). The King said that his position did not allow him to involve himself in politics and passed Sakharov’s letter on to his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Seder, who “gave the letter her consideration”.


Ivan Kovalyov: “To Scientists of the World; To the Participants in the 14th International Genetics Congress” (27 June 1978)

“Sergei Kovalyov was convicted of what the court termed ‘anti-Soviet propaganda’, which in actual fact meant his actions in defence of human rights and the circulation of the truth regarding these rights.

“I hope that you … will express your opinion regarding the imprisonment of your colleague, for whom active non-participation in deceit is a fundamental principle governing all his actions, in the field of science as in all other fields.”


Ivan Kovalyov and Alexander Orlov: “To the Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Chemistry Prize Laureate Linus Pauling” (25 September 1978)

The sons of the imprisoned scientists Sergei Kovalyov and Yury Orlov describe their fathers’ situation in camps to Professor Pauling.

“We turn to you in the hope that you will publicly express your opinion on the practice of persecuting people for freedom of thought and conscience, and in particular on the imprisonment of our fathers.

“We would be extremely grateful to you for showing any interest in their fate.”


Yu. Gastev, Yu. Golfand, N. Meiman, S. Polikanov, A. Barabanov, V. Yankov: “To Members of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee Andropov (Chairman of the KGB), and Brezhnev (Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet)”

The authors say that while under investigation in Lefortovo Prison, Yu. Orlov wrote three scientific papers. The prison head, however, not only refused to send the papers to scientific journals but would not even give them to Orlov’s wife.

“It can be said that among political prisoners in our country a sad but noble tradition has developed: not to stop creative work even in the most unconducive circumstances.”

In this connection the authors mention Nikolai Kibalchich, N.A. Morozov, N. G. Chernyshevsky and D. I. Pisarev [anti-tsarist figures]. They urge Andropov and Brezhnev to ’press’ the prison head to “correct his mistake”.

“We sincerely hope that you will help to put right this obviously improper state of affairs and that on this occasion our native science will not suffer.”


A. Sakharov: “To the World Council of Churches; To Pope John Paul II” (27 November 1978)

In connection with the forthcoming trial of the head of the All-Union Adventist Church, V. Shelkov (CCE 49), the author writes: “Shelkov has been arrested in reprisal for his purely religious activities and his long-standing, uncompromising fight for freedom of conscience and belief.”

Sakharov asks for help to prevent tyranny being used against the 83-year-old Shelkov.


Josif Zisels and Nikolai Gorbal (August 1978)

The authors write of the persecution of Ivan Kandyba (CCEs 47, 49) a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and of the threat of arrest hanging over him.


G. Davydov: “I am against terror” (August 1978)

“On 5 September 1977, from cell No. 4-32 in Vladimir Prison, I sent, as usual, the following statement: ‘Today, 5 September, I dedicate the traditional hunger-strike to the memory of the victims of the Red Terror,’ [unleashed in 1918].

“But on this occasion I considered it essential to add the following to the traditional text: ‘Through my 5 September hunger-strike I emphasize my fundamental disagreement with terror as a way of dealing with social problems’ …”


[Emigration (the right to leave)]

M. Novikov, B. Chernobylsky: “Letter to E. S. Orlovsky” (10 May 1978)

The authors write in answer to Orlovsky’s article “On the Question of the Freedom to Emigrate from the USSR” ( CCE 49). They consider that Orlovsky’s attitude to “refusals for security reasons” lends justification to the tyranny of the authorities.

“And that which you scornfully call a ‘hue and cry’ is an obstinate fight for human rights and is aimed at eliminating violations of these rights which are at present widespread and regular, and at introducing precise legal norms based on the Covenant [on Civil and Political Rights] …”


E. Orlovsky: “Once again on the Question of the Freedom to Emigrate from the USSR: Open Letter to B.M. Chernobylsky and M.Z. Novikov” (14 August 1978)

Explaining and clarifying what he has said earlier, Orlovsky writes:

“I repeat that I consider the right to emigrate one of the most important democratic rights. But l do not agree that it is the most important right. In my opinion, the right to free exchange of information, for example, is more important. And more important still — although this is not written into the Covenant, it is nevertheless accepted in many civilized countries and hinted at in the [Soviet] Constitution — the right to information regarding the activities of our government organs.

“Furthermore, the right to emigrate is important, but its importance does not apply solely to Jews — and among Jews to those with access to secret documents. And there is no direct connection between the degree of freedom to emigrate and the number of emigrants. It is perfectly feasible that in a situation where people have unlimited or almost unlimited freedom to emigrate, there are very few emigrants. It could just as easily be the other way round: an increased number of emigrants in a situation where freedom to emigrate is lacking and the authorities decide whether to let people go or not, or force certain people to leave, in accordance with their own arbitrary decisions. Your attitude to freedom of emigration tends to reduce the whole problem to freedom of emigration for Jews, and among them, primarily for those Jews with access to secret documents. I cannot agree with you in this, just as I cannot agree with the quota system.

“By ‘hue and cry’ I certainly did not mean the ‘determined fight against violations of the Covenant, which are at present widespread and regular’. You are right in saying that the reasons for refusal described in Izvestiya by the head of the USSR OVIR, which are widely used by the authorities, are by no means in accordance with the Covenant. The very fact that an invitation from a close relative is required contravenes the Covenant.

“But is this what you are fighting against? No, you agree with the system of invitation. If there are no real relatives, fake ones are used. Of course, after this everything depends on the arbitrary methods of the authorities. If they wish they will close their eyes to the faked invitation (or will themselves fake one). And if they wish they will have no difficulty in disputing it. Or they will engage you in a discussion about who is your closest relative. Within the terms of the Covenant all such discussions are irrelevant. You, however, are fighting not against refusals such as these but almost exclusively against refusals ‘for security reasons’, which are perfectly in accordance with the Covenant, Is this not a hue and cry?”

Orlovsky remarks:

“… basically, it is impossible to devise laws which would fully eliminate the possibility of their abuse and of arbitrary rule. Every law is a compromise between varying interests and can only reduce the possibility of tyranny to a level — as low as possible — where it is compatible with other interests.”


E. Orlovsky: “To the Editor of L’Humanité” (July 1978)

In connection with the summer trials ( CCE 50) Orlovsky analyses Articles 64, 70 and 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code.


[1980 Moscow Olympic Games]

Moscow Helsinki Group: To the International Olympic Committee; To the IOC President, Lord M. Killanin” (Document No. 55, June 1978)

“We urge you to demand uncompromisingly that contacts between people, cultural exchange, entry into the country, etc. are possible at the 22nd Olympiad to the same extent as at previous ones. … We call on you to demand a ‘ceasefire’ as a necessary condition for holding the Olympic Games in the USSR, to demand an end to persecution for non-violent activities in defence of human rights, for religious activity, for attempts to exercise the right to freedom of choice regarding one’s country of residence and one’s place of residence within one’s country … We call upon you to demand the release of all PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE.”


A. Sakharov: “Statement concerning the Moscow Olympiad in 1980” (14 September 1978)

A. D. Sakharov writes that he understands and deeply respects the motives of the initiators of the campaign to boycott the Moscow Olympics.

“… My attitude to the forthcoming Moscow Olympics is embodied in the fact that I supported the document produced by the Public Group to Assist the Implementation of the Helsinki Agreements, urging that the Olympic Character be fully upheld at the Moscow Olympics.

“Taking the ideas embodied in this document further, my wife and I consider it important and realistic that each delegation of athletes should accept specific responsibility for the fate of one, two or several prisoners of conscience in the USSR … and that they should ask the Soviet authorities for the release of these particular people as an act of humanity and friendship; this would be an essential condition of the participation of each delegation in the Olympics and a fundamental embodiment of the humanist principles of the Olympic Charter.”


A. Sakharov: “Interview with a French journalist” (14 September 1978)

1. Mr Sakharov, do you regard yourself as a believer?

This is, of course, a deeply personal question, a very personal question, and for me a difficult one. I have great respect for people with religious faith, but I cannot describe myself as a believer, at least not in any church sense, and for me this is the sort of problem about which I can say no more. [2-6. …]

7. Could the Orthodox Church play as great a role? (as the Catholic Church in Poland, Chronicle)

I don’t know. We always know less about our own country than we do about others, for in no other country, certainly, is there such a bad flow of information; from what I know, I don’t think that Orthodoxy today plays a large part in the life of the country … The official Orthodox Church is very indifferent to everything apart from its internal church affairs, and even in these internal church affairs it adopts a conformist attitude — under compulsion; but perhaps this is the only part of its position visible to us.


[The Christian Committee]

On 1 October, the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believers’ Rights in the USSR sent a letter to the future Pope — the successor to the deceased Pope John Paul I. The Committee asked Cardinals Slipij and Wyszynski and Archbishop [in fact Cardinal] König to make the contents of the letter known to the Conclave of Cardinals before the election, so that they would know “what sort of help the Christians of Russia expect from the new Pope”.

In the first part of the letter the authors analyse the “conformist course of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is similar to the Eastern policies of the Vatican”. Metropolitan Nikodim is taken as an example in this analysis (Pope John Paul I’s praise of him, and his call to follow his example had, according to the authors of the letter, deeply offended Orthodox believers). In the 1960s, when over 10,000 Orthodox churches were shut, Metropolitan Nikodim, Head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of Foreign Church Relations, managed to create the impression among Christians in the West that religious life was prospering in the USSR, and thus to neutralize protests. Another aspect of Metropolitan Nikodim’s activity was that

“being himself convinced that it was morally permissible for believers to combine the name of Christian with secret work for the KGB, and even that this was useful, he helped those who wavered, with the aid of his high authority among his Christian followers, to surmount the barrier of their Christian conscience.”

The unchanging policies of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the members of the Committee, show:

“the inertia of irrational fear from which the Episcopacy of the Russian Church continues to suffer, while the best part of Soviet society has already freed itself from it.”

The ten years existence of the democratic movement in our country shows that:

“only loud public protests against violations of human rights, including those in the sphere of religion, accompanied by widespread international support, bring genuine results.”

In the second part of their letter, the members of the Committee make a number of requests and proposals. They welcome a recent new trend: Pope Paul VI, in his last public statement, condemned the trials of human rights activists which took place in the USSR in the summer of 1978, and Pope John Paul I, during the turmoil of his coronation, asked heads of state to respect freedom of religion.

The members of the Committee express the hope that in the contemporary world, where totalitarian regimes encroach on men’s souls to a greater extent than on their bodies, the Papacy will not remain indifferent to the struggle for human rights, and especially the right to believe in God. In particular, they call on the future Pope to direct the attention of Catholic scientists to the victory of Academician Snezhnevsky’s school in Soviet psychiatry — according to which belief in God is regarded as a symptom of schizophrenia. The other specific proposal is to call on all Catholic sportsmen to use the forthcoming Olympic Games in Moscow to monitor the observance of human rights in the USSR, and in particular to speak out in defence of the prisoners of conscience and members of Helsinki groups V Romanyuk, Viktoras Petkus, Georgy and Pyotr Vins, V// Shelkov and Vladimir Osipov.


On 22 November, the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believers’ Rights in the USSR and the Catholic Committee for the Defence of Believers’ Rights (See “Events in Lithuania”) published a joint letter to: Pope John Paul II; the heads of autocephalous Orthodox Churches; the Primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop D. Coggan; the World Council of Churches; the United Christian Committees to Defend Believers’ Rights; and US President Carter. The letter says:

“The suppression of human rights in any sphere arouses a feeling of deep protest, but it is especially horrifying when man’s spiritual freedom is flouted. Christ warned his followers to shun — not those who killed the body, but the killers of souls … Our times are characterized by widespread awareness of freedom and of the dignity of the human personality. But there is also a contrasting tendency: the formation and development of totalitarian states of a type unknown in previous history. The creation of a new type of person with a unified, atheistic consciousness has become a government task, which is pursued to the accompaniment of a campaign against religion, using the forces of the government apparatuses … The formal proclamation of the principle of “freedom of conscience’ in the state Constitution in no way guarantees its implementation, either in everyday life or in the legal sphere. So, for example, in our state … the formal recognition of this principle goes hand in hand with open discrimination against believers both through the enforcement of legislative acts and through actions of the authorities which violate even the few rights granted to believers by law.”

The discrimination is so intolerable that believers are sometimes forced — in order to be able to live in accordance with the dictates of their religious conscience — to apply for permission to emigrate. Thus 20,000 Pentecostalists, the letter states, have applied to emigrate from the USSR.

The members of the Committee propose that the UN should adopt a ‘Convention on the fight against discrimination in the sphere of religion’, and ask their addressees to initiate such a convention. They consider that during the working out of such an international agreement the laws in force in various countries should be examined.

“‘Profession of religious belief’ should be precisely defined. A person’s religious conscience cannot accept the fact that the constitutionally proclaimed ‘freedom to profess religious belief’ is limited in the legal framework to the freedom to have an inner religious conviction and ‘freedom to attend religious services’. In addition, it is forbidden to engage in missionary work, religious charity work, to teach religion freely to children, for children and young people to participate in religious services, to prepare, circulate or receive religious literature and much more… The right to profess in full one’s thoughts and one’s belief in God, by word and deed, should be proclaimed a norm of man’s religious life in contemporary society.”


In Information Bulletin No. 9 of the Working Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes, the aims and principles of the Commission are set out as follows:

“The Commission has three main aims:

1. To detect and publicize cases of illegal compulsory confinement of persons in psychiatric hospitals* and to work for their immediate release.

2. To give help to people who have been groundlessly placed in psychiatric hospitals, and also to their families.

3. To work for the general humanization of conditions for patients in psychiatric hospitals.”

The Commission does not claim (and never has) that all those whose release from psychiatric hospitals it seeks are free from all psychological abnormalities and in perfect mental health.


K. Matviyuk: “To the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR” (May 1978)

Former political prisoner K. I. Matviyuk (CCE 42), who since his release has not been allowed to work in his profession (CCEs 44, 48), asks for protection from the KGB for himself and his family. After describing his conversations with KGB officials, he asks:

“If all these conversations do not indicate an attempt on the part of the state security organs to persuade me to work for them, then why have I been deprived of the right to work in my profession and left to my own devices? Why, in order to work in my profession, am I obliged to pay with my own moral downfall? …why am I deprived of the opportunity to work as a teacher or a researcher? … In what way must I rehabilitate myself and what am I guilty of now? … What are my children guilty of? … Neither in the Constitution, nor in the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR, can I find grounds for the administrative harassment, or the demands and threats of the KGB, to which I am being subjected.

“On the other hand, the KGB is still not the supreme governmental institution and I still hope for protection from it. I turn to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR requesting that I, a citizen of the Ukrainian SSR, and my family, be protected from the harassment of the KGB.

“In the event of a refusal, please inform me that the KGB’s activities meet with your approval.”


Reshat Dzhemilev: “To the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet; To Nobel Peace Prize Laureate A. D. Sakharov; To Radio Liberty” (15 April 1978)

The Verdict of ‘Society’ on a Dissident

In his letter R. Dzhemilev gives a detailed account of a meeting at his place of work, which branded him a ‘slanderer’, and at which it was demanded that he be prevented from leaving the USSR ( CCE 48; the letter s second and third addressees were those to whom the ‘denunciatory’ letters, discussed at the meeting, were addressed). Dzhemilev writes:

“… ‘to leave one’s Motherland’ is not an expression that can be applied to me. Soviet power already deprived me of my Motherland in 1944, and in 1968 … I and my family were for a second time forcibly evicted from the Crimea. I now demand that — until our national question is settled — I should be granted the right to choose my own place of banishment.

“But I am not settling personal accounts here. I only wish to leave this celebrated paradise of all the peoples, this socialist camp. It will not be the first time that I have been robbed — my family and I are willing to leave this paradise for the capitalist hell, leaving behind all our property — that is, if we are convinced that I still owe something to the Soviet regime.”

In connection with the fact that the main speaker at the meeting, Department Head Manasyan, was unusually well informed about broadcasts by foreign radio stations, and letters signed by Dzhemilev, and the latter’s friendly relations with P. G. Grigorenko and A. D. Sakharov, R. Dzhemilev remarks:

“it is perfectly obvious that he was furnished with this information, in falsified form, by the same institution which has for many years kept me under constant surveillance and through which I have on several occasions been suppressed for my active participation in the national movement of my people.”

In conclusion the author writes that on 28 March he was informed that he had been refused an exit visa because he did not have close enough family connections abroad (the invitation had come from his cousin).

“Am I obliged to live and to give the fruits of my labour to a regime which is alien to me, and which does not even recognize the existence of my people, for the sole reason that I was born in a land which was conquered by Russia and annexed by her as eternally Russian? …Why am I forced to be a ‘white slave’ of the Soviet regime at the end of the twentieth century?

“In practice there are many well known cases where permission to go abroad has been granted; various measures have been employed to force many Soviet citizens to leave, even though they had no relatives abroad. Evidently these people were considered to be more dangerous in the USSR than abroad. In my case the opposite decision was taken: it was considered that a person with a lot of information about the Crimean Tatar movement is more dangerous abroad than in the USSR, where he can at any moment be swept into prison or into a psychiatric hospital.

“But I demand … permission to leave the USSR.

“If I do not receive this permission, I will be forced to renounce my Soviet citizenship unilaterally.


In a statement dated 28 November 1977 Ivan Kovalyov informed the Procurator-General that live letters written by his father Sergei Kovalyov had been lost ( CCE 47). Ivan Kovalyov’s statement was sent to the Procurator of the town of Chusovoi, V. A. Goldyrev.

On 19 January 1978 Goldyrev wrote to I.S. Kovalyov that “the facts referred to in your statement have not been confirmed’.

On 7 March I.S. Kovalyov asked Goldyrev to explain exactly which of the facts he had described had not been confirmed:

1.            The confiscation of a rough draft of S. Kovalyov’s statement to the Procurator-General ( CCE 47);

2.            The ‘loss’ of five of S. Kovalyov’s letters (CCE 47);

3.            The refusal to allow the receipt numbers of these five letters to be mentioned during a visit;

4.            The confiscation of two letters from L. Boitsova [S.A. Kovalyov’s wife].

On 11 April Goldyrev informed Ivan Kovalyov that “all the letters were legally confiscated; the administration of [penal] institution VS-389/36 did not violate the law”.

On 30 April I.S. Kovalyov wrote to Goldyrev saying that he wished to know the legal grounds for confiscating a prisoner’s draft statement to the Procurator-General, for concealing from Sergei Kovalyov’s family the postal receipt numbers of the ‘lost’ letters, for confiscating two letters from L. Boitsova, for concealing from L. Boitsova the fact that her letters had been confiscated and why, and for the camp administration’s keeping of Boitsova’s letters; he also wished to know the whereabouts of the five ‘lost’ letters.


In June 1978 Mart Niklus wrote to the USSR Procuracy and the Lithuanian Procuracy requesting the return of the things confiscated from him during a search in connection with the Petkus case in November 1977 ( CCE 47). On 31 July, a senior assistant to the Lithuanian Procurator, Ju. Bakucionis (CCE 50) replied:

“… in accordance with the court verdict of 13 July 1978 in the case of V. A. Petkus, the things confiscated from you are to be sent to the KGB of the Estonian SSR; the materials connected with your activities which were included in the Petkus case will be sent there in the near future.

“Therefore, the question of the fate of these possessions can only be decided by the Estonian KGB.”


V. Kuvakin: “To the Ninth Session of the USSR Supreme Soviet” (July 1978)

On 20 October 1977 legal labour inspector of the Central Committee of the Trades Unions of Oil and Gas Industry Workers V. Kuvakin was dismissed (CCE 48). Considering his dismissal illegal, on 13 December 1977 Kuvakin sent a complaint to the Eighth Session of the USSR Supreme Soviet. The complaint was passed on to a secretary of the All-Union Central Trade Union Council, I. M. Vladychenko. Not receiving any reply from Vladychenko, Kuvakin complained to the next session of the Supreme Soviet.

On 11 July 1978 he received a post-card from the Secretariat of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet stating: “Your letter addressed to the 10 July 1978 Session of the USSR Supreme Soviet has been sent to the All-Union Central Trade Union Council for the attention of Secretary comrade I.M. Vladychenko’.


I. Ovchinnikov: “To the Ideological Department of the CPSU Central Committee. An Open Letter” (15 November 1978)

“On 9 November, this year (1978) I was invited to KGB headquarters in Alexandrov for a talk with a representative of the Vladimir Regional KGB in connection with my manuscript, confiscated from the typist while she was typing it, on 5 October this year.

“The confiscated manuscript is the first part of my autobiographical novel, in which I express my personal view of numerous events in the recent history of our country, discuss matters about which other people usually decide to remain silent, and give an independent analysis of past and present.

“I have had rather an unusual life. I was only just four years old when (in 1933) state security arrested my father, a simple peasant and honest worker. At the age of six I was imprisoned with my mother in a concentration camp in Vladivostok, where I saw vast numbers of prisoners deported from Russian towns and villages to the Kolyma tundra where my father was serving his sentence and where slave labour, hunger, scurvy and death awaited them.

When I was seven, my mother too was taken from me; she died, aged 43, from overwork, suffering and deprivation. I had only just started school and begun to learn the rudiments of grammar, when my first schoolteacher was arrested and disappeared without trace (in 1937). In addition, there was the terrible hunger of the war years, homelessness, an orphanage. From the age of not quite 15 onwards — an army barracks, then study in a military institute of higher education, service in the German Democratic Republic, departure to the West, return, prison, camp … The vicissitudes of life led me to reject standards of thought that did not correspond to reality and were false, and to work out my own independent world view. All this is naturally reflected in the manuscript of my book.

“During my interview with them, I was told by KGB officials that my manuscript contained material of an anti-Soviet nature and that my actions came under article 70, part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code… It was also proposed that I repent, acknowledge my guilt and deposit the rest of my work with the KGB.

“My autobiographical novel On Russia’s Crossroads is the story of my life, in which the history of my country is also partly revealed …

“The head of the Vladimir KGB told me that he would inform ‘higher authorities’ about my manuscript and that my fate would depend on what they decided.

“I hope that the Ideological Department of the CPSU Central Committee, taking into consideration what I have written above, will intervene in the activities of the KGB in this matter and help me to get my manuscript back and put a stop to the harassment and threats.”


A. Khlgatyan: “To Head of the Investigations Department of the KGB, Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR: An Explanatory Note” (12 May 1978)

“On 22 December 1977, during a search carried out in my home and in my wife’s flat, a number of rough drafts and notes for my statements and appeals were confiscated, in particular those relating to letters I had already sent to party and government departments concerning the question of my leaving the USSR to take up permanent residence abroad.

“In answering the investigators’ questions, I gave a detailed explanation of the contents of these papers and the reasons for their presence in my home. Nevertheless, I consider it necessary to make the following additional statement:

‘In the period between April 1974 and December 1977 I composed and sent by post or personally delivered several dozen statements and appeals (amounting to hundreds of pages) to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet and the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, all comprising one insistent request — permission to leave the USSR …

‘In February of this year, at the Armenian KGB headquarters, I gave a written undertaking that henceforth in my official correspondence with the Soviet authorities on the question with which I am concerned, I would not digress on to matters having no direct relevance to my theme, and not include criticisms which might be termed slanderous under Soviet law.

You are well aware that I have strictly adhered to this undertaking and henceforth I pledge myself to keep an even tighter rein on my pen.

“I would like to assure you that I am not anti-Soviet, nor a slanderer, — not even an oppositionist (since I have not and will not take part in oppositionist political activity). I have simply been too late to be a defender of the rule of law. My career was cut short at its very beginning.

“If it is possible to give a political description of oneself, I would describe myself as a law-abiding citizen with a critical bent, dreaming of a democratic revival in his country. My desire to leave the USSR I consider a forced civic desertion and I justify it by my grave doubt as to the possibility of the establishment in the USSR of a multiparty democratic system in the foreseeable future.

“I request and hope that, in assessing my rough notes according to their contents, you will take into consideration the explanations given above.

“I also ask you to add the present explanatory note to the evidence which I give to the investigation as a witness in the case of Robert Nazaryan.”


V. Franchuk: “To L. Lerov, author of the article ‘Who Finds this Convenient?’, published in Ogonyok Nos. 33-5, 1978” (25 November 1978)

Lerov’s article ( CCE 50) was devoted to the arrest of some Swedish Pentecostalists and to the Soviet Pentecostalists whose homes were searched in connection with this arrest ( CCEs 46-9). Vladimir Franchuk, a resident of Zhdanov, begins his letter thus:

“Comrade Lerov!

“I am a poet and a preacher of the evangelical (Pentecostalist) faith. I read your article “Who Finds this Convenient?’ in the journal Ogonyok. Your open and brazen lies stirred me to the depths of my soul…”


A. Zgurovsky: “To citizen B. M. Shain” (28 July 1978)

A. N. Zgurovsky, Deputy Head of the Saratov Regional Industrial and Technical Communications Administration, writes in his reply to a complaint from B. M. Shain, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, that his letter to the USA had been returned to him by the international post-office:

“… citizens of the USSR may send abroad manuscripts, printed matter, drafts and other scholarly material only through the appropriate institutions competent to deal with these and other matters, and must submit them together with form F103*M.”

Shain’s letter contained the manuscript (typescript) of an article on mathematics. In his complaint of 4 September Shain writes that he had received this manuscript from the USA and was sending it back.


47 signatures: “Appeal” (July 1978)

“This summer will remain a black page in Russia’s memory — the summer of political trials in Moscow, Tbilisi, Kaluga, Vilnius, and Ukraine. Disregarding world public opinion, the authorities demonstrated their determination to eradicate freedom of thought and all that goes by the name of the struggle for human rights. The main target of the trials were the Helsinki Groups, which had collected incontrovertible evidence that the humanitarian obligations undertaken by our State were not being fulfilled and that the authorities did not intend to fulfil them.

“We call on the world public not to weaken in the struggle which has developed around these trials; and to insist that the trials be subjected to review in conditions of full publicity and on the basis of the international agreements on human rights. This is not only a question of the fate of individuals. It is a question of opposing the spiritual sterilization of the whole of our society.”