Ginzburg and Marchenko under surveillance, 1974 (34.14)

<<No 34 : 31 December 1974>>


As reported in CCE 32.18, the former political prisoner Alexander Ilych Ginzburg, released in January 1972 and placed under administrative surveillance from February until August 1972, was informed on 11 April 1974 that he would be subjected to another six-month period of surveillance.

Alexander Ginzburg, 1936-2002

The surveillance was authorized by Yulin, procurator of the Tarusa district (Kaluga Region), who told Ginzburg that persons sentenced for “especially dangerous crimes” against the State could be placed under surveillance a second time without any additional reasons being given. Ginzburg’s complaints to the Kaluga Procurator’s Office have remained unanswered.

In the course of the new period of surveillance, Ginzburg was subjected to many different forms of administrative persecution:

  • several times he was dismissed from a variety of jobs,
  • he was refused other work as soon as he informed the police of his intention to apply for them — and meanwhile, the police demanded that he should find a job immediately, threatening him with the decree on parasites.
  • The police would not give him permission to visit Moscow, where his mother, wife and son live;
  • two weeks after his wife and child came to spend the summer at Tarusa, his wife was fined for “living without a residence permit”.
  • In May, when Ginzburg was in the local hospital, suffering from an acute ulcer condition, the police issued a warrant against him for failing to report that week at the police station;
  • in August he was refused permission to travel to Moscow for medical reasons though they were officially approved by the Moscow hospital, in which he had been a patient for a few months in 1973, and supported by the Tarusa hospital which stated it could not give Ginzburg the drugs, etc., that he needed.

On 5 October, a few days before his period of surveillance was to end, Ginzburg’s 18-month-old son became seriously ill. There was no paediatrician or specialist on infectious diseases in Tarusa that day. Ginzburg applied to the police for permission to make a journey out of Tarusa (his wife was in Moscow at the time). On receiving a refusal he took his son to Moscow anyway, where the child was found to have scarlet fever.

On the same evening, the police, in the person of Lieutenant Lunev, came to check on Ginzburg. Not finding him at home, since he returned only on the morning of 6 October, they declared that he had “infringed the surveillance regulations” and handed the case over to a court.


On 9 October 1978, when Ginzburg reported to the police station, Lieutenant Lunev told him that the surveillance order had been extended to one year. On 10 October, on the day appointed for the court hearing (it did not take place then because one of the witnesses failed to appear — after hearing what Lunev had said Ginzburg’s mother had a heart attack), Ginzburg studied the surveillance order in the judge’s office. In the typewritten text the number ‘6’ (months) had been changed by hand to ‘12’, without adding the obligatory note to say that this was an “authorised correction”.

On 11 October Ginzburg sent a statement to the head of the Kaluga UVD (Regional Administration for Internal Affairs) and to the Regional Procurator, demanding that Major Volodin, head of the Tarusa district department of internal affairs, and his colleague Lieutenant Lunev be charged with forgery of official documents under Article 175 of the RSFSR Criminal Code.

On 12 October Ginzburg was summoned to the police station and given an order ending his surveillance “for family reasons and because of his health”. The order stated as before that the surveillance had been set at 12 months and that there had been an infringement of the regulations (although only a court can decide whether there has been an infringement). Ginzburg protested against this formulation in a letter to the USSR Procurator’s Office. On 15 October, the day appointed for the new court hearing, it turned out there was to be no hearing, as the police had withdrawn the case from court.

Ginzburg has as yet received no reply to the statements he sent to the Kaluga Procurator’s Office and the USSR Procurator’s Office [note 1].



On 14 October, Anatoly Tikhonovich Marchenko declared that he would no longer observe the regulations of the administrative surveillance ordered for him by the Tarusa town procurator in May 1974 (CCE 32.18). In Marchenko’s opinion, the surveillance had become an instrument for persecuting his family and himself.

Anatoly Marchenko, 1938-1986

At the end of November L. G. Krechetova, a judge in Tarusa, ordered an administrative penalty to be imposed on Marchenko for his infringement of the surveillance regulations: he was fined 35 roubles. Marchenko is slightly deaf, and he was taken to the courtroom without his hearing aid. He could not hear the proceedings and told the judge this, but she did not believe him.

Only in December did Marchenko’s wife discover that he had been fined on a false charge. It was alleged that on 7 November, at 8 pm, he had not been at home. Marchenko’s wife [Larissa Bogoraz]  sent the court a statement calling for charges to be brought against the police officials for giving false evidence, and provided a list of witnesses to the fact that Marchenko had been at home that night. Judge Krechetova refused to accept the statement, because, she explained, the evidence had served as a basis for her decision which, on being put into effect, became a legal act and now had legal force, so that the evidence too had become part of the law. Yulin, the Tarusa procurator, refused to charge the police officials, and, in reply to the statement, insisted that Marchenko’s punishment should stand. The punishment was not revoked.

On 4 December Marchenko was fined again (40 roubles) for not turning up at the police station for the compulsory weekly check. if there was a third such trumped-up charge of infringing the surveillance regulations he would be liable for prosecution under Article 198-2 (which carries a penalty of up to two years imprisonment).


On 10 December 1974, Marchenko sent a statement to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet in which he renounced his Soviet citizenship and asked to be given the possibility to emigrate to the USA. [note 2]

He had received two invitations from citizens of the USA. However, the head of the Kaluga regional branch of OVIR advised him not to apply for an exit visa to the USA, but rather to use an invitation from Israel: “In that case, we will let you out very quickly. If you apply to go to the USA or any other capitalist country — you will be refused a visa, and you will be arrested for infringing the surveillance regulations.” Marchenko unofficially received the same kind of advice from the KGB. A year earlier a KGB official had advised him, also unofficially, to emigrate: “otherwise you’ll go back to where you came from”, (i.e., to a camp).

At present, Marchenko is awaiting an official reply to his application for an exit visa to the USA.

Marchenko’s statements on the establishment of surveillance over him, on his refusal to cooperate with these surveillance regulations, and on his renunciation of citizenship will be published in the Archive of the Chronicle, No. 2.



[1] Alexander Ginzburg was again arrested in 1977 (CCE 44.3) and sentenced to 8 years in a special-regime camp the following year (CCE 50.3). In 1979, together with Valentyn Moroz, the Vins family, Eduard Kuznetsov and Mark Dymshits, he was freed and left the USSR in exchange for two Soviet spies (CCE 53.1).

[2] Over six years earlier, the Procurator-General and the KGB proposed that Anatoly Marchenko be deprived of his Soviet citizenship and deported from the USSR. The documents were drafted (15 April 1968 (Pb 79/XIII) but not used.

Tried and convicted for the sixth and last time in September 1981 (CCE 63.5), Marchenko died in December 1986 in Chistopol Prison after a prolonged hunger strike (see report in USSR News Brief, 15 December 1986).