Materials from the Newspapers (26.12)

<<No 26 : 5 July 1972>>

On 8 February, the paper Penza Pravda [Volga District], under the heading “Legal Feature , published an article “The Fall” (by O. Telbukh) concerning the trial of A. S. Lakalov, who was accused of “the dissemination of deliberate fabrications defaming the Soviet system” [note] (evidently Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code) and also probably of bribery.

The charge is not precisely formulated in the newspaper. There is merely an indication that Lakalov had, under the pseudonym of “A. Karpov’’, been sending letters to Radio Liberty. Not directly to the radio station, however, but to the private address of one of its announcers. “God will protect the protected!” remarks the author of the article at this point. (Evidently the author, his editor and the censor with him, regards the X-ray inspection of mail as a matter of course, and is referring ironically to the naive precautions taken by Lakalov.)

Under the same pseudonym, says the article, Lakalov tried to take part in a debate in Komsomolskaya Pravda. It is not clear from the article how all these letters came to be known to the investigation; it is alleged merely that “These lampoons were exposed by simple Soviet people . The verdict of the court is not cited in the feature. It is said simply to have been “harsh but just”.


At the beginning of December, the “Circle of Christian Democratic Students” asked the Soviet Ambassador in West Germany, [V.M.] Falin, to either refute or condemn certain facts regarding the persecution of dissenters in the USSR.

In reply, representatives of the circle were invited to a meeting with Soviet press-attaché Bogomolov, which took place on 10 December [note 1]. In a discussion about the Sinyavsky-Daniel affair, Bogomolov asked his guests what their attitude would be towards a West German writer who praised the West German system in some of his works while simultaneously criticizing that system in other works published abroad under a pseudonym. They answered that a Western writer had every opportunity to publish criticism of any kind in his own country; nor was publication abroad at all at variance with the law, moreover.

When they expressed an interest in knowing why certain psychiatric hospitals in the USSR were under the jurisdiction of the KGB, Bogomolov replied that there might be cases of mental sickness amongst foreign spies. They had to be treated, and so they were accommodated in clinics under the authority of the KGB.

(An account of this interview was published in the paper Rheinischer Merkur newspaper, 17 December 1971.) [note 2]



[1] According to the New York Times, 3 October 1971, Alexander Ya. Bogomolov is a KGB officer.

[2] As the account of the German newspaper does not mention Sinyavsky and Daniel the Chronicle’s correspondent clearly had access to additional sources.