The Trial of Bolonkin and Balakirev, November 1973 (30.4)

<< No 30 : 31 December 1973 >>

From 19 to 23 November 1973, the trial was held in Moscow of Balakirev and Bolonkin, who were charged under Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code. The case was examined by the Moscow City Court.


Valery Ivanovich BALAKIREV (b. 1940), a lecturer at the Moscow College of Metallurgical Technology, was arrested on 22 September 1972. Alexander Alexandrovich BOLONKIN (b. 1933), was a Reader at the Moscow Institute of Aeronautical Engineering, a Doctor of Technology, and the author of about 40 scientific works. He was arrested on 21 September 1972.

Alexander Bolonkin, 1933-2020

The case was investigated by the KGB Department for Moscow and the Moscow Region. The charges were that the defendants, on various types of equipment (including a home-made rotary press) had prepared and circulated the following anti-Soviet literature: the journal Democrat, A Chronicle of Current Events, leaflets signed by “The Citizens’ Committee’’ (the “Economic Leaflet’ [see CCE 26.14, item 3, and CCE 29.3]), a translation of R. Conquest’s book The Great Terror, a document known under the title “The Program of the Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union’’, and a number of other works.

During the pre-trial investigations, both Bolonkin and Balakirev had testified about their own activities and those of their acquaintances. However, Bolonkin subsequently withdrew his testimony. The statements by Bolonkin and Balakirev at the trial of Davydov and Petrov (see CCE 29.2) reflect rather accurately their respective positions at their own trial.


Alexander Bolonkin pleaded not guilty at the trial and demanded that Academician Sakharov be admitted to the court [note 1]. Valery Balakirev condemned his previous activity.

About twenty witnesses testified at the trial, including Zarya and Yukhnovets (who were arrested in this case but subsequently released—on Yukhnovets see CCE 27.2, item 7).

The sentence: Bolonkin, 4 years in camps and 2 years in exile; Balakirev, a suspended sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment.



[1] Bolonkin was subsequently twice more put on trial, see CCE 51.7 and CCE 64.13.