News in Brief, July 1972 (26.14)

<<No 26 : 5 July 1972>>


At 5 o’clock pm on 23 May, the editor of the journal Veche, Vladimir Osipov, was walking along a Moscow street. A policeman approached him and, after checking his documents, ordered Osipov to get into a car that had driven up. Osipov was driven to police station No. 2.

Vladimir Osipov, 1938-2020

There, without any explanation and without the sanction of a Procurator, he was subjected to a body search, had his fingerprints taken, and a statement was drawn up concerning his violation of the residence regulations. Are the authorities not preparing to prosecute V. Osipov, as they once did A. Marchenko (see CCE 3.1, item 1), for a breach of the secret “Statute on Identity Cards” (see also Article 198 of the Russian Criminal Code). Furthermore, the police, again without any Procurator’s sanction, confiscated everything in Osipov’s briefcase (academic and literary materials).

On 5 June, Osipov wrote a letter to the Minister of Internal Affairs, N. A. Shchelokov, about the unlawful incident that had occurred, demanding the return of his belongings that had been taken from him and the punishment of the guilty persons.


On 3 July M. N. Landa (see CCE 25) was declared a suspect under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. Until then she had been summoned to interrogations in the capacity of a witness.


At the beginning of June leaflets addressed to working people were distributed in Moscow. The subject of the leaflets was economics. The Chronicle does not know the precise content of the leaflet.



In June 1972 prisoners convicted at the Leningrad “aeroplane” trial (CCE 17.6) declared a hunger strike in connection with the second anniversary of their arrest. One of the strikers’ demands: inasmuch as the Israeli government had granted them Israeli citizenship they should be transferred to a camp for foreigners.

Gennady Gavrilov (see CCEs. 10, 11, 15) has been transported from Mordovia to the Lefortovo KGB Investigation Prison, apparently for interrogation.



On 25 May employees of the Department of Internal Affairs presented themselves at the apartments of Zinovy Melamed, Lazar Slutsky and Alexander Feldman, and escorted them to a police station. There they were required to put their signatures to a typewritten text concerning the “non-commission of anti-Soviet acts“. When they refused to do so they were put in a preventive detention cell, Melamed and Slutsky were released on 27 May, A. Feldman on 30 May.

On 25 May Klara Geldman received a summons to come to a police station. There she was charged with causing a breach of the peace. After this she was placed under arrest for fifteen days. As a protest against her groundless arrest Kl. Geldman declared a hunger strike from the very first day of her imprisonment.

On 25 May S. Borshchevsky was stopped on the street by a stranger who stated that Borshchevsky had pushed him. There happened to be some druzhinniki standing nearby, Borshchevsky was taken off to a People’s Court where he was sentenced to fifteen days’ imprisonment for “petty hooliganism”, which had consisted in his having “expressed himself in obscene language and insulted national pride …” (whose is not known, Chronicle). A. Feldman, Kl. Geldman, and S. Borshchevsky are being questioned as witnesses in the case of L. Plyushch and Lyubov Serednyak (see CCE 24.3).


The [infant] son of Nadiya Svitlychna (CCE 25.2, see Kiev entries) has been returned to his relatives.


Valery Ronkin has been released from camp and sent to serve his term of exile in Syktyvkar.

He was sentenced in Leningrad in 1965 to seven years imprisonment and three years’ exile, for participating in a clandestine Marxist circle which produced the journal Kolokol (The Bell).

On 12 June, upon the expiry of his term of imprisonment, [Sergei] Khakhayev was released from camp. He still has three years’ exile to serve.


On 22 May, the artist Yury Titov and his wife Yelena Stroyeva left the USSR. When they received their luggage in Rome, all Titov’s paintings were found to have been burned through with sulphuric acid.


On 20 May, Alexander Volpin left the USSR. A poet and mathematician, who has opened up a new field in fundamental mathematics, Volpin was a consultant of the Human Rights Committee, and the son of Sergei Esenin.



During Nixon’s visit to Moscow repatriates from the USSR carried out a hunger strike at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in protest at the persecution of Jews in the USSR. About 200 people took part in the hunger strike, most of them young. they also staged a demonstration in front of the building of the Orthodox Mission, where Patriarch Pimen, who had come to Israel, was staying. The demonstrators chanted “Let My People Go!” and handed in a petition to the Patriarch demanding freedom of religion in the USSR.


At the end of 1971, an “International Committee on the Situation of Minorities and on Human Rights in the USSR” [note 1] was founded, with its headquarters in Brussels. Directly concerned in the founding of the Committee were Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of the International Institute for the Rights of Man, René Cassin, and the Norwegian public figure Odd Nansen, son of Fridtjof Nansen.

The Committee has begun publishing, in French, English and Russian [in fact only in English and French], an information bulletin “Human Rights in the USSR”. A voluntary group attached to the Committee has published a French language edition of Nos. 19 and 20 of the Chronicle of Current Events [see note 2].

In Sweden, the SMOG-Committee is publishing a Swedish translation of the Chronicle of Current Events.



The International Committee for Amnesty of Political Prisoners [correctly: Amnesty International] has published an English edition of all the issues [in fact only No. 16 onwards] of the Chronicle of Current Events and is continuing to publish issues as they appear.


In 1972, the publishing-house Polonia Book Fund in London published a book in Polish [Kronika Biedacych Wydurzen] consisting of the complete texts of Nos. 1-12 of the Chronicle of Current Events  and excerpts from Nos. 13-16 of the Chronicle. In the introduction to the book the translators, Nina Karsow and Szymon Szechter, [note 3] write:

“… in the Summer of 1968, an unusual text found its way to the West. . . . From that day issues of the Chronicle began to appear steadily in samizdat, and to reach the West at regular intervals of two months. And probably no-one realised at that time how tremendously significant this journal was to be for the development of the democratic movement and in particular for informing the Western public about events in the Soviet Union.

“The Chronicle’s laconic, to-the-point, non-editorializing, we might even say dry reporting on judicial and extra-judicial terror, conditions in Soviet prisons, camps and prison psychiatric hospitals . , . and, finally, the review of samizdat news which appears in each issue—all of this has become the chief and sole source of accurate information, especially for those who wish to make use of such information. , . . For the Western press, the Chronicle has become a source of non-falsified information. It is thus fulfilling a task of prime importance; the informing and consequently the mobilization of the Western public, so that it should react more strongly than it has in the past to what is happening in the Soviet Union. There is still a great deal that can and must be done in this sphere; truth to tell, what has been done is very little, but for what has been achieved we are indebted to samizdat and to the Chronicle in particular”.


The English-language book Uncensored Russia has come out in London. Its compiler is the English historian, Peter Reddaway. The book contains the text of the first eleven numbers of the Chronicle, split up into chapters and sections. The text of the Chronicles is annotated and accompanied by an introductory article by the compiler. The book contains many photographs. The forward to the book is by J. Telesin (CCE 14.11, item 22).



[1] At its first conference, held in Paris in June 1972, the committee renamed itself “The International Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in the USSR”. A detailed account of the  conference, including the contributions to it by L. Rigerman, Yu. Titov and E. Stroyeva (see above, “Departures”), appears in Human Rights in the USSR No. 6-7, 1972.

[2] The only regular publication of the Chronicle in Russian is in the journal Volnoye slovo. Samizdat Izbrannoye (Possev publishers, Frankfurt). No. 1 (1972) of this journal published CCE 21; No. 2, CCE 22; No. 3, CCE 23;  No. 4 CCEs 24 and 25; and No. 5 is due to publish CCE 26.

The Chronicle is also published regularly in Italian (in condensed form) in Russia Cristiana, Milan.

[3] Karsow and Schechter are joint authors of the autobiographical Monuments are Not Loved, London, 1970 (published in New York as In the Name of Tomorrow: Life Underground in Poland, 1971).