Political Trials, June 1972 (26.2)

<<No 26 : 5 July 1972>>

The Trial of Yury Melnik

On 15, 16 and 19 June in Leningrad City Court the case was heard of Yury Melnik (CCE 24.2), charged under Articles 70 and 196 (forgery, manufacture or sale of forged documents, stamps, seals or forms) of the Russian Criminal Code. The chairman was Karlov, defence counsel was Kheifets [note 1].

In the courtroom there were about thirty specially invited people, whom the court administrators for some reason referred to as “students”. At certain times these “students” played the role of guards at the doors to the courtroom. Contrary to the usual practice, access to the courtroom was unrestricted, except at the time when three witnesses were being questioned: K. Lyubarsky (see CCE 24.2); V. Smirnov; and the vice-director of a school of radio engineering (whose name the Chronicle does not know).


Yu. Melnik (b. 1945) has a secondary education. In the indictment he was charged:

One, with verbal dissemination of his views

on the absence of democratic freedoms in our country; the sending of Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia in 1968; the position of the Jews and the Crimean Tatars: and the “creation of a Human Rights Committee in Moscow, the aim of which is to circulate underground anti-Soviet literature and to publish an underground anti-Soviet newspaper”;

Two, with circulation

of Avtorkhanov’s book The Technology of Power [1959], the book Forever Flowing [1970], “attributed to V. Grossman”, issue No. 10 of the journal Social Issues (see CCE 20.12, item 4); articles entitled “Stalin’s heirs” (an analysis of the works of VC Kochetov and I. Shevtsov) and “A total criminal” (concerning L. M. Kaganovich) [note 2]; and three documents about the Crimean Tatars;

Three, with forgery of a signature on a form and the procurement of a radio-teleprinter by means of that form.

The defendant pleaded guilty under Article 196, but regarding Article 70, while he admitted all the facts of circulation held against him, he denied having had the intention of “undermining or weakening the Soviet regime” and therefore did not plead guilty under that Article. Moreover, he retracted part of the testimony he had given during the preliminary investigation, saying that he had slandered his friends (in particular Lyubarsky).

These friends, appearing as witnesses, confirmed all the facts mentioned regarding circulation, except the circulation of Social issues.

The Procurator demanded four years’ imprisonment for Yu. Melnik. Defence counsel requested the re-classification of the charge under Article 190-1.

The court found Yu. Melnik guilty under Articles 70 and 196 and sentenced him to three years’ confinement in a strict-regime camp.


In March 1971 seven people were arrested in Leningrad: Vyacheslav Dzibalov (a senior engineer at the Institute of Mechanical Processing), Sergei Sergeyev, Andrei Kozlov, Maria Semyonovna Musienko, the brothers Ivan and Sergei Purtov, and a seventh person, whose name is unknown. All seven were charged under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. The specific content of the charge is not known to the Chronicle. All that is known is that the accused professed the following “credo”: our society is sick, it must be made healthy, true Leninist policies must be restored, and communism built.

The trial took place in January 1972. Details are unknown to the Chronicle. All that is known is that four of the accused were ruled by a psychiatric commission to be of unsound mind and were sent to a special psychiatric hospital for compulsory treatment [see CCE 39.4]; the remaining three were sentenced to various camp terms.


In the summer of 1971 Yevdokimov (b. 1923), a journalist, was arrested in Leningrad. He was charged under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. The indictment imputed to him in particular the fact that he had written for Possev [the monthly emigre journal]. A psychiatric examination in the Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry found him of unsound mind. The trial of Yevdokimov and his wife was held recently in Leningrad. Yevdokimov, being of unsound mind, was not present in the courtroom.

At the judicial hearing Yevdokimov’s wife testified against her husband. In accordance with the ruling of the court Yevdokimov has been sent to the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital. His wife has been given a three-year suspended sentence with a live-year probationary term. Yevdokimova is the mother of two children [note 3].

In the Leningrad Special Hospital Yevdokimov has declared a hunger strike in protest at the brutal conditions of confinement.


Kiev. On 5 June, the trial was held of Vladimir Rakityansky charged under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the Russian Code). The sentence was five years. The Chronicle does not know the details [note 4].



[1] For other trials involving O.V. Karlov and S.A. Kheifets, see CCE 16.2 & CCE 16.5; CCE 17.5; CCE 34.2 and CCE 35.4.

[2] Cf. the bulletin Crime and Punishment No. 7. See Uncensored Russia, p. 429.

[3] The trial of Boris Dmitrievich Yevdokimov and Galina V. Yevdokimova ran from 12 to 14 June 1972. The judge was N.S. Isakova, the prosecutor I.V. Katukova, defence counsel for Yevdokimova was S.A. Kheifets and for her absent husband, Z. Goldenberg.

Yevdokimov was charged with receiving money for articles published under the pseudonyms “Sergei Razumny” in Possev (Nos. 2, 5, and 11, 1971), and as “Ivan Ruslanov” in Possev (“No. 4, 1971), and Grani (a 100-page essay, “Young People in Russian History,” in Nos. 68, 80 & 81).

[4] A signatory of a number of protests and appeals, Rokityansky used to work as a translator in the Psychology Faculty of Moscow University.