Repression in Ukraine, pt. 2 (27.1)

<<No 27 : 15 October 1972>>

Arrests

In Kiev two staff-members of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Philosophy Vasyl Lisovy and Yevhen Pronyuk (aged about 30), have been arrested [note 1].

Lisovy had written a letter to the Ukrainian Central Committee and the KGB protesting about the increasing repressions in the Ukraine. The letter describes the state of culture and the economy in the Ukraine and supplies statistical data. About 70 photocopies of the letter had been placed in envelopes addressed to prominent personalities in the USSR but were not sent out because they were confiscated during a search of Ye. Pronyuk’s home.

Extra-judicial Persecution

In mid-September 1972, by decision of the Presidium of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, a 4 % staff reduction was implemented in the various institutions of the Academy. Institute staff to whom nationalist or anti-Soviet attitudes had been ascribed were dismissed, and the directors of some institutions.

Dismissed from the institute of History were Master of Historical Sciences [Mykola] Braychevsky [note 2], Doctor of Historical Sciences Olena Kompan (six months before she was to have retired on a pension), Master of Historical Sciences Olena Apanovych, and Master of Historical Sciences Dzyra. Svetlana Kyrychenko has been dismissed from the Institute of Philosophy. The Director of the Institute of Archaeology, corresponding member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences F.P. Shevchenko,”‘ has been sacked and transferred to another post. Large numbers of employees from other institutes have been dismissed: from the Institutes of Cybernetics, Art Studies, Folklore and Ethnography, and Linguistics.

Literary scholar V.P. Ivanysenko has been expelled from the Party, dismissed from his post in the Institute of Literature and expelled from the Ukrainian Writers’ Union [note 3]. The Information Bulletin of the Board of the Ukrainian Writers’ Union (No. 6-7, 1972) and the paper Literary Ukraine report that the decision of the Kiev writers’ organization to expel him was carried unanimously at a meeting of the Board of the Ukrainian Writers’ Union on 27 June 1972, chaired by Yu. Smolych. Ivanysenko was expelled for ‘anti-social conduct, actions and behaviour which grossly violate the statutes of the Writers’ Union”.

V.P. Ivanysenko was born in 1927. In 1944-1949 he served in the army. In 1953 he graduated from the Faculty of Philology at Kharkov University, worked as a teacher and defended a thesis on Soviet Ukrainian poetry. Since 1953 many articles and books by him have been published.

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According to some reports, Mykola Hryhorevich Plakhotnyuk, arrested on 13 January (sec CCE 24), declared a hunger-strike in protest against the harsh treatment accorded to him while he was under psychiatric examination in the Serbsky Institute and on 9 September was sent back to a KGB isolation prison in Kiev.

Plakhotnyuk was born in 1936 in the village of Tikhy Khutor, Kiev Region. After graduating with distinction from a medical-technical college he entered a medical institute; he graduated so well that he was given a job in the institute but was dismissed a year later lor political reasons. Prior to his arrest he worked in a sanatorium at Pushcha Voditsa [ Dnepropetrovsk Region].

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The above-mentioned letter by M. Kholodny, published on 7 July 1972 in the paper Literary Ukraine, elicited replies from the persons libelled by the author in the article: writer Borys Dmytriyevich Antonenko-Davydovich, member of the Ukrainian Writers’ Union; Ivan Makarovich Honchar, Honoured Worker in the Arts; and Oksana Yakovlevna Meshko, mother of the convicted Serhiyenko. Their letters were not published, and the editor did not reply to them [note 4]. Honchar was expelled from the Party. Antonenko-Davydovich was summoned for an interview and was promised that his stories, now on ice at the publishers, would be printed only if he published a condemnation of the “activities” of the arrested persons in the press.

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A search was carried out at the home of another oi the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Library, Victoria Tsymbal.

Persecution of Ukrainian Jews

BABY YAR, 7 September 1972. A group of Kiev Jews attempted to lay a wreath and flowers on the gravestone at Baby Yar in memory of the 11 Israeli sportsmen murdered in Munich. Participants in the ceremony of mourning were met by rows of policemen and KGB men in civilian clothes (amongst them KGB operatives Smirnov and Bryukhanov from the Kiev regional department already well known to many Jews–and others who have often taken part in various police actions against Jews, in particular at the Kiev synagogue). As well as police anti KGB cars there were several belonging to the regional Party committee.

Persons who approached the memorial with flowers or refused to disperse were detained. In all 27 people were detained; five of them were fined 25 roubles and eleven sentenced to 15 days’ administrative arrest on the basis of false testimony by witnesses, and a different “corpus delicti” was invented for each person. Arrested were: Yury Soroko, Basya Soroko (his wife), Simkha Remennik, Zinovy Melamed, Mark Yampolsky, Yury Tartakovsky. Dmitry Dobrenko, Vladimir Vernikov, Vsevolod Rukhman, David Miretsky and Yan Monastyrsky [note 5].

Following an objection by the Procurator responsible for ensuring legality in places of confinement. Basya Soroko was released one day before the expiry of her term in view of the fact that she and Yu. Soroko have a child who is a minor. All the arrested persons were freed at different times and in different places so as to prevent the possibility of their meeting. The police tried to disperse their friends and relatives when they gathered outside the prison. Yu. Soroko and Z. Melamed were driven straight from prison to the offices of the Kiev regional KGB, where an officer called Davydenko “chatted” with them in threatening tones. He declared that “circumstances had changed”, that the KGB had now “had its hands untied”, and that the next time their term of imprisonment would be far longer (Yu. Soroko and M. Yampolsky had been held under arrest for 15 days in February-March 1972 for visiting the Kiev synagogue).

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On 16 September 1972, there was a general conference of the secretaries of the various Party organizations in the city of Kiev. A new’ procedure was announced for the completion of documents by persons emigrating to capitalist countries. References now require the signatures of the director and secretary of the Party organization and of the chairman of the trade union committee: their deputies do not have the right to sign.

The secretaries and Party organizers were advised that when a person asked them to supply a reference in order to get an exit visa for permanent residence in a capitalist country, they should warn him that he would be obliged to pay for his higher education whether it had been completed or not. The conference heard a report by regional [in fact: Kiev city] Party committee secretary [A. F.] Botvin to the effect that resolutions concerning the Lvov region were being poorly implemented (a reference to some secret resolution regarding ideological work).

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BABY YAR, 29 September 1972. On this day, as the custom has been since 1964, wreaths and flowers were laid on the gravestone at Baby Yar. The official meeting began later than usual, at 6 pm. The speaker laid particular stress on Israeli aggression against the Arabs. There was also mention of the multinational Soviet State and the fact that many Soviet people of differing nationalities had perished during the tragedy played out at Baby Yar.

The inhabitants of Kiev (several hundred in number) had come to Baby Yar to honour the memory of their dead brothers with garlands and flowers. The pavements were cordoned off by numerous police detachments. The only wreaths permitted to be laid were those with red and black ribbons and inscriptions that were not in Yiddish (“it’s not clear what’s written on them”); blue and white ribbons (the colours of the Israeli flag) were removed by order of the police. At 7 p.m. police squads began clearing the streets and by 8 o clock everything was deserted and the flame by the gravestone had been extinguished.

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NOTES

[1] Pronyuk was a witness at the trial of Va. Hevrych in 1966 and was subsequently demoted ‘’for links with sentenced people” from the rank of junior research officer in the institute to that of assistant librarian. Pronyuk wrote various articles, e.g. ‘‘From the History of Idealism in Galicia in the Second half of the 19th Century”, published in Z Istoriy filosofiy na Ukrainy, Kiev (1967).

[2] Dismissed in 1965 for signing a petition, Braychevsky was author of a samizdat article on the 1654 treaty between Russia and the Ukraine. The article was published in Canada in 1971 as a brochure and also in the emigre journal Novi dni. In a letter published in Visiy z Ukrainy (Kiev, 20 April 1972), where his post is given as being at the Institute of Archaeology, he dissociated himself from the publications and stated that he had never been persecuted for his academic views. Cf. CCE 5.3.

[3] See an official biography of Victor Ivanysenko in Pismenniki rad. Ukrainy, Kiev, 1966. This biography was excluded from the edition of 1970, the year when he was first accused of samizdat activity. See Ukrainian Herald Nos. 3 and 4.

“As he is believed to have been a speechwriter for some Ukrainian politicians, perhaps including the Party first secretary, P. Shelest, it is interesting to note that his expulsion came only a month after Shelest’s removal from the first secretaryship and his sharp demotion.”

[4] On these three see various issues of the Ukrainian Herald. On Antonenko-Davydovich see also CCE 17, and, on the sculptor Honchar, CCE //

[5] On the 7 September episode see also News bulletin on Soviet Jewry, Vol. III, No. 1.

Yampolsky (who left the USSR in late 1972) was arrested on 26 February, Soroko on 4 March: see NBSJ, Vol. II, No. 213,  also the reference in CCE 24.