In exile, 1978 (51.10)

<<No 51 : 1 December 1978>>

At the end of May Vasyl Stus (CCEs 44-48) received an officially registered telegram saying that his father (aged 87) was near death.

To his request for permission to travel to his father (in Donetsk) Stus was given a refusal. A. D. Sakharov and the exiles V. Chornovil, S. Shabatura and I. Stasiv-Kalynets sent telegrams to Andropov and Shchelokov and to the heads of the KGB and OVD of the Tenkinsky district in Magadan Region [Soviet Far East], demanding that Stus be allowed to go to his father. In support of their demand Chornovil, Shabatura, Stasiv-Kalynets and Stus began a hunger-strike. On 7 June Stus was given permission to travel to Donetsk.

Privacy of Correspondence


Georgy Davydov (CCE 47) has sent several letters to his friends in Vladimir Prison, but received no reply. After a number of complaints, he received the following reply from the head of the prison, A. P. Ugodin (No. 4/D-2, 31 January 1978):

“Regarding your letter of 4 January 1978, I would like to inform you that correspondence between prisoners and other prisoners who are not their relatives is not provided for by law.”

Because the Corrective Labour Code forbids only “correspondence between people serving their sentences in places of imprisonment and prisoners other than relatives”, and because exile is not “a place of imprisonment”, Davydov continued his protest. In reply Vladimir Prison returned to him all the letters he had sent.

Georgy (Yegor) Davydov, 1941-2011


In June 1978, Davydov appealed to the Frunze district court in Vladimir with a suit against Ugodin in accordance with Article 6 of the Russian Civil Code. In the Statement of Claim he demanded that the court “restore the position which existed before the law was violated”. The court refused to accept the statement for examination as it “went beyond its competence”.

In August the Vladimir Regional Court, having examined Davydov’s appeal, confirmed the decision of the people’s court:

“As is evident from the materials, the conflict between Davydov and the Director of OD-1/ST-2 arose in connection with correspondence with prisoners in OD-1 and concerns the nature of their contents. Complaints about violations of prison procedures are resolved administratively, and courts have no competence to resolve them.”


At the end of May, Davydov was summoned to the police station, where he was told that the previous night at 9 pm, he had not been at home. The police handed the report about this to the court. In court, however, it became clear upon interrogation of the policemen Yefremenko and Budarov, who had recorded Davydov’s absence, that the house they had described as his did not resemble his house, that they drove to that house “for dinner”, i.e., long before the time referred to by them in the record, and that they had not checked whether Davydov was in the yard; moreover, in the details of their evidence they contradicted one another. Therefore, Judge Krapivin ruled: “Refuse G. V, Davydov the application of measures of administrative punishment” (sic! Chronicle).

In August, a penalty was imposed on Davydov at work for “reading non-relevant literature, for conversing, for leaving the work-place, and also for not fulfilling his assignments for the last week”. (He works as a technician at an agricultural chemical station.) When he requested that he be shown the norms, they found them with difficulty. It transpired that, according to the official list no “non-fulfilment” had occurred; however, the penalty (“a stern warning”) was not revoked.


At the end of October 1978, Davydov sent a complaint to the Irkutsk Regional Procuracy, in which he wrote that the administrative surveillance imposed on him was illegal and asked to have it revoked. From there his complaint was sent to the Tulun Procuracy.

On 17 November, an Assistant Procurator of the Tulun district, A. E. Letnev, replied:

“… it’s been established that, in accordance with Article 81 of the Russian Corrective Labour Code, a person sentenced to exile is under surveillance by the authorities responsible for carrying out this form of punishment. Consequently, surveillance has been legitimately imposed and there are no grounds to revoke it.”

On 16 November, Yu. S. Semyonov, who called himself an Inspector of the Irkutsk Administration for Corrective Labour Institutions, talked with Davydov and, separately, his wife V. I. Isakova at the police station.

Semyonov told Davydov that the aim of the conversation was to avoid a mistake in deciding whether or not to continue the administrative surveillance. Normally, as there has been no infringement of the surveillance rules, no summonses to the police station and no evidence of drunkenness, the issue would be clear. “Indeed,” Semyonov remarked,

“it is obvious from the case file that the administration itself committed certain infringements” (see above, Chronicle). “But in your case, we have come across an unusual situation; your thoughts have remained the same, and because the thoughts arc the same, the repetition of a similar crime is not excluded. And you still do not consider yourself guilty.

“Therefore, we are forced to regard you as a potential recidivist. As far as formalities are concerned, we have extremely negative reports about you from your places of imprisonment and we cannot ignore them. Moreover, you have been penalized at work” (see above, Chronicle). “On the whole, there are enough formal grounds for an extension of surveillance.”


On 20 November Davydov was informed of the decision to extend his surveillance for a year, although, according to the Statute on Administrative Surveillance, a surveillance can be extended for only half a year at a time and in eight months Davydov will complete his term of exile.

“The grounds for the extension were:

“From his place of work G. V. Davydov has been given negative references; his attitude towards his duties is slovenly, for which the administration has cautioned him. He categorically refuses to participate in social activities. He does not react to measures of a re-educational nature carried out by police officials and the administration.”

To the surveillance restrictions was added a ban on visiting the airport, the train station, the bus station and the restaurant.


Mikhail Kheifets is serving his term of exile (CCE 49.8, Camp 19 Dubrovlag) in the town of Yermak in the Pavlodar Region (6, Lermontov St) [Kazakh SSR].


In November B. Shakhverdyan (see CCE 49.8, Vladimir Prison) was transferred to the town of Turkestan in the Chimkent Region [Kazakh SSR].


On 3 October 1978, Stefania Shabatura (CCE 48.11) wrote to the USSR Procurator-General and the Procurator of the Armenian SSR. She demands an amnesty for all political prisoners and the release of R. Nazaryan [CCE 51.1]; she stated her solidarity with the Armenian National United Party and announced that on 7 October she would hold a hunger-strike in protest against violation of human rights and political repression in the USSR.


In the summer [of 1978], Atena Pashko (CCE 37), the wife of Vyacheslav Chornovil (CCE 49.9), came to visit him. They registered their marriage, which they had previously tried to do in vain (CCE 36) while Chornovil was in the camp. In June, just before Pashko’s departure for Yakutia, an officer of the Lvov KGB, Captain Shumeiko, spoke with her. He tried to dissuade her from going and from making the marriage, and he threatened that he would inform the Institute where her daughter studied. After Pashko’s return to Lvov Shumeiko again met her and repeated his threats.


Stepan Sapelyak is serving his term of exile (CCE 48.10, Camp 36) in the Khabarovsk Region (Bogorodskoye village, Ulchsky district [Soviet Far East]). At first, he was put in a hostel, in a room unfit for habitation. When he fell ill, the doctor did not even make a medical report (his blood pressure was 160/110). Sapelyak wrote a letter to Brezhnev, in which he requested that he be returned to the camp, because he had nowhere to live, and they would not take him to hospital.

On 30 October 1978 he declared a hunger-strike to support his demands for a dwelling and for medical aid. On 31 October he was summoned by the KGB and told to look for a flat. All he could find was a former bath-house without a stove.


In July Grigory Prokopovich was released from exile. In 1967 he was arrested in connection with the Ukrainian National Front organization. He was sentenced for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” to 6 years in a strict-regime camp and 5 years in exile (CCE 17.7).


With permission from the police V. Gandzyuk (CCEs 44, 46) went to Tomsk to buy medicine (he has tuberculosis). When he returned the director of the Chainsky consumer services enterprise, A. P. Fomichev, dismissed him for ‘truancy’. Gandzyuk had difficulty in finding a new job — as a watchman in a non-departmental security group. In the autumn he completed his term of exile.


Sergei Malchevsky, a Leningrad driver, has completed his term of exile. He was sentenced according to articles 70 and 72 of the Russian Criminal Code to seven years in camps and three in exile for his participation in a youth group with pro-fascist tendencies (CCEs 9, CCE 17, 18, 36, 37). His fellow defendants were N. Braun, A. Berger and Vodopyanov. Not managing to settle anywhere, Malchevsky returned to live at his place of exile (in the town of Troitsko-Pechorsk, Komi ASSR).


In November Nikolai Braun completed his term of exile.


Andrei Kravets (CCEs 39, 42, 47) has been released from exile. He was arrested in 1973 and sentenced for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” to 3 years in camps and 2 in exile. His fellow defendants were Slobodyan, Sapelyak, Senkov, Vinnichuk, and the brothers Marmus; all come from the village of Rossokhach in the Ternopol Region.