News in Brief (25.10)

<< No 25 : 20 May 1972 >>


As CCE 24.11 (item 6) reported, in March 16 prisoners in Leningrad Region’s corrective-labour colony 6 (Obukhovo rail station, Leningrad Region) refused to eat and sewed up their mouths in protest at the conditions of their confinement. Following an investigation, the commandant of the colony was removed from his post, and the deputy head of the Department for the Administration of Places of Imprisonment in the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Leningrad City Soviet Executive Committee received a reprimand.

The inmates of the colony were subjected to a torrent of repressive measures. The solitary confinement cells and cell-type premises are packed with the prisoners who supported the protest. Some, driven to despair, are inflicting serious injuries upon themselves. There have been instances of warders being assaulted in the camp. In connection with this, almost half the prisoners in the solitary confinement cells have been chained with handcuffs whose construction prevents any movement of the hands: the wrist-clips tighten more and more with every move and cause severe pain. Many prisoners are now threatened with a camp trial for violation of the camp-rules.


In November 1971, the following persons took part in a hunger strike in Vladimir Prison: Vyacheslav Aidov, Yakov Berg, Leonid Borodin, Oleg Vorobyov, Alexander Ginzburg, Stepan Zatikyan [CCE 23.3], Zinovy Krasivsky, Vasyl Kulynin, Yaroslav Lesiv [CCE 17], Gunar Rode [CCE 22], and others. Their protest was directed against: the state security police employees’ practice of recruiting informers from among political prisoners; at blackmail; and the classification as anti-Soviet documents of statements sent by prisoners to State bodies.


in the prisons and camps, instances are not infrequent of persons with grave mental disorders being kept under an ordinary regime along with healthy people. The sick men Vasily Kondrala, Juozas Zelenkevicius and Tarasov are in Vladimir Prison. Prisoner Tregubov, transferred to that prison from camp 11 of Dubrovlag, used to call himself “President of all Russia” [cf. Patriarch of all Russia] and after the expiry of his term in 1969 was immediately sent to a psychiatric hospital.


On 10 December 1971, Ludvikas Simulis (b. 1935), sentenced to 25 years of special-regime as an active participant in the underground organization “Movement for the Freedom of Lithuania” (see CCE 18.3, “Political Prisoners in the Mordovian Camps” [there spelled Simutis), appealed a second time to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet. He requested to be released, stressing the deterioration in his health, the severe conditions of his confinement, his exemplary conduct and the absence of any penalties in his 16 years of imprisonment.


Vatslav Sevruk, arrested in Vilnius in January (see CCE 24), is under psychiatric examination in the Serbsky Institute.


In April, a diagnostic commission in the Serbsky Institute found Vladimir Borisov and Victor Fainberg (see CCE 24) sound of mind. At the end of April, they were transferred back to the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital to await a court hearing.


At the beginning of May, the poet Vasyl Stus (see CCE 24) was confined in the Pavlov Psychiatric Hospital in Kiev.


Anatoly Lupynos [Ukr. Lupynis] (see CCE 23) is in the Dnepropetrovsk Special Psychiatric Hospital. In the same hospital is [the artist] Leonid Beloborodov.

In 1960 L. Beloborodov and G[erman] I. Bendersky were arrested as they attempted to sail a boat across the Black Sea to Turkey. At first Beloborodov was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for “illegal frontier-crossing”. At the beginning of 1971 he was released, but then new proceedings were brought against him under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the Russian Code). A psychiatric commission found him of unsound mind, and the court sent him to Dnepropetrovsk Special Psychiatric Hospital [sec CCE 21]. Beloborodov is about 20. The fate of Bendersky is not known [cf. CCE 17].


In the summer of 1971, Hryhoriy Mykhaylovich PRYSHLYAK [b. 1912], [former] head of counter-espionage for the Ukrainian Insurrectionist Army [UPA], completed his 25-year sentence and was released from the Mordovian camps.

In July 1971 Vladimir Leonyuk [b. 1932] one of the five members of the organization “OUN-North’’ [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] was released from the Mordovian camps. This organization consisted of live Ukrainians who were former inmates of Stalin’s camps. Four of them remained living in the north after their release from the camps – hence the title of the organization.

On 12 January 1972 Yaroslav Hasyuk [b. 1925], another member of the same organization, was released from the Mordovian camps after the expiry of his 12-year sentence.


In November 1971 Mykhaylo Zelenchik, convicted by Ivano-Frankovsk Regional Court on 14 February 1956, was released early from the Mordovian camps.


On 22 November 1971, Vyacheslav Alexandrovich AIDOV was released from Vladimir Prison. In May 1970 he had taken part in a hunger strike (see CCE 15 [and 18]) and been transferred to Vladimir. Aidov, an engineer born in 1938, was sentenced in March 1967 by Moscow City Court to five years in a strict-regime labour camp for forming a “Union to Struggle for Freedom”: the incriminating documents were a programme, statutes, and the text of a leaflet which was supposed to be duplicated on a printing-press. Since his release Aidov has been living under administrative surveillance in Kishinyov [Moldavia].


Yakov Berg, who was sentenced to seven years in the same case as Aidov, is in Vladimir Prison.


On 31 December 1971 Ivan Zholdak died in Dubrovlag Camp 3, He was about 60. He had spent 15 years in the camp and was a blacksmith by trade.


On 31 March 1972 political prisoner Rostislav Serbenchuk from Odessa, who had served eight years and five months for attempting to form an “anti-Soviet organization” was released from Mordovian Camp 385/19.


On 19 May 1972, Ilya Gabai (see CCE 12.3 and CCE 30.1] was released after serving a three-year sentence of imprisonment.


The artist Yury Ivanov (see CCEs 10, 22) has been released early. He tried to get a job in Saransk, but as he could not obtain a residence permit there he has gone to Smolensk.


Moscow, Kim Davletov, who was arrested in December 1971 (see CCE 24), was expelled from the Communist Party on 30 December by the [Moscow] City Party Committee (until his arrest he had been a member of the Party Committee at the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Philosophy). It is thought that he has been charged, under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code, with publishing his works in the Western press under a pseudonym. According to some reports, K. Davletov has been ruled to be of unsound mind.


It has become known that the investigation of the case of Ilya Glezer (see CCE 24.11, item 4) is proceeding under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code.


The Moscow KGB has completed its investigation of the case of A. Dronov (see CCE 23). A charge has been brought under Article 88 of the Russian Criminal Code (“violation of the foreign currency transaction regulations”). Apparently, the samizdat confiscated during a search, and the interrogation of witnesses, did not provide [enough] material for a charge under Article 70, although many witnesses were questioned about the circulation of literature and about statements by Dronov on political topics.


Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, the name of Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Platonov, a specialist in Abyssinian history sentenced in 1968 to seven years’ imprisonment by the Leningrad City Court (see CCE 1.6), was omitted from a report on the fate of members of the “All-Russian Social-Christian Union for the Liberation of the People” [ASCULP] (see CCE 19.4 [and note 1]). He is in Dubrovlag Camp 3, and was one of ten [in fact nine] prisoners who appealed to the International Red Cross in a letter of December 1971 (see CCE 23). [Note 1]


In March-April 1972 Yury Shtein and Yury Glazov (CCE 24) left the USSR.


In March [1972] Revolt Pimenov (see CCE 22.8, item 23) was unanimously elected to the post of Junior Research Officer in the Komi branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He has been entrusted with forming first a group and then a department specializing in his own mathematical field.


On 11 April 1972 the Kiev authorities, thanks to a telephone call from the Mayor of New York [J. Lindsay], permitted wreathes to be laid at Baby Yar in memory of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto. A meeting, however, was banned. About 200 people were present. Four wreathes were laid bearing the inscription: “We shall not forget! We shall not forgive!” Towards eight o’clock in the evening the crowd was dispersed, and those who expressed their indignation at the prohibition of the meeting were detained. Six people of advanced years [among them Isak Margolin, Semyon Nivelt and Lazar Zingerman] were jailed for fifteen days.


After the publication of her penitential letter {see CCE 24) Zinoviya Franko was reinstated in her job; she was given a new, four-roomed flat and granted two weeks’ leave for moving in.


On 21 April 1972 members of the Human Rights Committee, A. D. Sakharov, V. N. Chalidze, A. N, Tverdokhlebov, I. R. Shafarevich, and a consultant to the Committee, A. S. Volpin, sent to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet a memorandum on the restoration of the rights of forcibly deported peoples and ethnic groups. They call upon the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet to facilitate the restoration of the right of the Crimean Tatar and Meskhetian peoples (and other nationalities and groups) to live on the territories from which they were forcibly and unconstitutionally deported.



[1] See also the ‘remarkable’ 100-page essay, “Encounters of a Convict” by Alexander Petrov-Agatov,  published in full in Grani (Nos. 82. 83 and 84), and his two shorter essays about Platonov and L. Borodin in Possev 3, 1971.