Letters and Statements, July 1974 (32.22)

<<No 32 : 17 July 1974>>

In this section those statements from the many available to the Chronicle which have not been sufficiently reflected in other sections of this issue are either summarized and quoted in extracts or presented in full.

(1)

“To the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, L. I. Brezhnev, and to US President, R. Nixon” (25 June 1974)

Academician Andrei Sakharov

“You are meeting in order to discuss many political matters of importance to two mighty countries and to the whole world. I call on you to consider during your meetings problems of humanity and of basic human rights as well. These problems are not political ones, but their solution would promote international confidence and detente to a huge degree.

“Facilitate the mutual exchange of knowledge between the citizens of our countries and promote publicity and freedom of religion and thought in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular its 19th article. Facilitate the release of political prisoners, and the ending of persecution for religious convictions and for trying to leave the country. Facilitate the immediate release of such inspiring and courageous people as Bukovsky (you have no doubt received the disturbing letter from the mother of this noble man, who is being subjected to cruel injustices), and

GrigorenkoPlyushchMoroz
GluzmanKronid LyubarskyKudirka
UbozhkoReshat DzhemilevAkimov
BolonkinKhaustovShumuk
ShukhevichFeldmanGavrilov
PonomaryovNadezhda and Ivan Svetlichnyman & wife Karavansky and Strokata
man &wife E. Kuznetsov and Silva Zalmansonman & wife Kalynets and Irina Kalynets-StasivStefania Shabatura
Irina SenikDaria Gusyakbrothers Vulf & Izrail Zalmanson
the priest Romanyukthe priest ZalivakoChinnov
KrasivskyLupynosChornovil
DremlyugaMakarovZukauskas
SimutisRudaitisPovilonis
SakalauskasShakhverdyanA. Romanov
AbankinMeshenerKhantsis
BabichSuslenskySado
OgurtsovFrolovPopadyuk
SverstyukMarkmanMogilever
ShkolnikAltmanFyodorov [Yu.P.]
MurzhenkoMendelevichDymshits
KhnokhButmanKomarov
AzernikovMelnichukMakarenko
ShnarrLadyzhenskyPenson
PirogovNekipelovSuperfin
StarchikDandaronMontlevich
ButkusLavrovVail
AmalrikKheifets 

“This list is far from complete because there are many whom I do not know. Each name here involves an arduous and heroic fate. These people were not engaged in political activity and were not undermining the foundations of the state. They are fully entitled to be called prisoners of conscience, and victims of injustice and tragic circumstances.

“The fact that I enumerate Soviet prisoners here does not mean that I believe that injustices happen only in our country; I am simply writing what I am best informed about.

“Do what is in your power, if only for some of them – the women, the old and the sick, those who have been sentenced more than once – for the courts inflict particularly unjust penalties on them. Facilitate the immediate release of all those who have been imprisoned for more than the 15-year term prescribed by law.

“Facilitate international inspection of places of imprisonment in all countries, for it is there that human rights and the principles of humanity are most often violated.

“Nothing is so dangerous for mankind as hushed-up, concealed evil and violence.

“Facilitate in a democratic spirit a cardinal and definitive solution of the problem of freedom of movement and freedom of emigration and return, as dictated by the 13th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The full implementation of this right is most essential for international confidence and understanding, for the development of more uniform economic, social and legal standards.

“If you avoid humanitarian problems, you will deprive your nascent cooperation of any vital moral force, doom it to sterility and fail to achieve the high aims of peace and security. I want to believe that this is not what you desire.

“Yours sincerely,

Andrei Sakharov, Academician” [note 1]

(2)

In a statement to American television, which ended with the following words, A. D. Sakharov commented on his letter to Brezhnev and Nixon:

“I am for détente – but détente by collusion, détente by capitulation would be a catastrophe, a betrayal of people throughout the world. Genuine détente and a genuine guarantee of security mean not just talks between statesmen, but in the first instance contacts, mutual trust and mutual understanding between ordinary citizens.”

(3)

“I, Andrei Dmitrievich SAKHAROV, am declaring a hunger strike from midnight on 28 June in protest against the unlawful and cruel repression of political prisoners, I demand an immediate alleviation of the lot of Vladimir Bukovsky, a review of his case, and his release.

‘The name of Bukovsky has become a symbol in the sacrificial struggle for human rights and humanity in our country. The repression to which he is being subjected is a challenge to the conscience of mankind. I ask that my hunger strike be regarded as support for the appeal which I have sent to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and to the President of the USA, and for all the pleas contained in that appeal.”

(4)

Tatyana Khodorovich – “To the International Red Cross”

(An Express Telegram, 1 July 1974)

“Believing that human mercy stands outside all politics and above all politics, I call on you, who have voluntarily assumed the Cross of the active manifestation of mercy – of help to all who suffer – to render immediate support to the prisoners of conscience in Soviet concentration camps, prisons and psychiatric hospital, who are in a desperate situation.

“Those who particularly need your help at present: Vladimir Bukovsky, Valentin Moroz, Leonid Plyushch, Alexander Sergiyenko, Alexander Feldman, and Igor Ogurtsov.

“I am hoping that your active intervention in their defence will perform another good deed: it will enable his relatives and friends to persuade Academician Andrei Sakharov, who is filled with a moving love for people and is ready to suffer with them, to terminate the hunger strike he has begun. A continuation of this hunger strike could have a serious effect on Sakharov’s state of health.”

Tatyana Khodorovich, 1921-2015

(5)

Anatoly Marchenko – “I support the protest of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov”.

“I support the protest of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov against the inhuman conditions in which Soviet political prisoners are kept, and I associate myself with his demand for a political amnesty.

“In solidarity with A. D. Sakharov, I am declaring a hunger strike as from 2 July,

“Anatoly Marchenko,

Kaluga Region, Tarusa, 39 Lunacharsky St.”

(6)

On 4 July 1974, A. D. Sakharov made a statement which ended as follows:

“My appeal and hunger strike have been supported by many people in the USSR and abroad and have attracted a great deal of public attention. I have been forced for medical reasons to limit the length of my hunger strike to six days. I am ending my fast this morning.

“But it must not be forgotten that Vladimir Bukovsky is swollen from hunger, on a punishment starvation diet in Vladimir Prison, that Leonid Plyushch is being tortured in Dnepropetrovsk SPH, and that Igor Ogurtsov has been confined for seven years in Perm Prison and is now threatened with the tyranny of psychiatric internment. I implore world public opinion, all honourable people, not to relax their efforts in their defence and in defence of all the others who are suffering so unjustly.

“I hope that the leaders of my country will manifest good will and start to satisfy your and my aspirations, proceeding from the simplest of motives – mercy for the suffering.

“I am deeply convinced that not only the spiritual well-being of humanity but also its actual physical preservation depends on the observance of fundamental human rights and humane principles.”

(7)

Tatyana Khodorovich – “The Dictates of Conscience”

The author states that she feels an affinity not to a party or an organization but to people who are united “by a natural feeling of sympathy for the unjustly persecuted and by respect for the human personality, its free spirit, and for truth”.

These people are now called ‘dissidents’ or ‘dissenters’, says Khodorovich and she contends that these terms do not reflect Soviet reality but merely obscure the truth: in the Soviet Union there is no opposition or juxtaposition between people who think correctly and those who dissent, there are only “people on the one hand, and on the other a faceless, organized and trained system of violence with a single well-developed instinct – that every thought must be stifled, providing only that the thought derives from an individual personality.”

Regarding unofficially transmitted proposals [from the authorities], such as “Keep quiet and, in exchange, the lot of your imprisoned friends will be mitigated”. Khodorovich says that she sees her duty in preserving her creative and spiritual freedom, “even at the cost of losing normal freedom”. She rejects the proposal made to her of trading her own conscience. She defines the essence of her position as moral resistance to violence and injustice.

(7)

In January 1974, T. Velikanova, S. Kovalyov and T. Khodorovich published a statement in which they say:

“… Of late, as members of the Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights in the USSR, as well as certain other people who do not wish to keep silent, we have been receiving proposals from people who do not name themselves. Vouch for such-and-such a friend of yours who is imprisoned, they say, and his lot will be alleviated … The substance of the guarantee is straightforward: both the prisoner and the guarantor must in future keep silent …

“We are presented with an intolerably difficult choice; the blackmail has been accurately and cruelly calculated. We know that anyone who agrees to this sort of bargain should not be censured, for such a step is dictated by pity and love. But to sacrifice one’s own soul is suicide; and someone else’s, murder. Spiritual murder.

“We cannot agree to this.

“And to those who put us in such a position we can say only one thing: No. Your deeds, your conscience and your sins are your responsibility.

“You want to use hostages? We shall not assist you.”

(8)

On 12 February 1974, in response to news that L. Plyushch’s condition [CCE 29.6]// had taken a severe turn for the worse, Elena Bonner, Tatyana Velikanova, Sergei Kovalyov, Andrei Sakharov, Tatyana Khodorovich and Andrei Tverdokhlebov sent an appeal to international organizations, ending with the words,

“… Leonid Plyushch is on the verge of death. We are appealing to you to press urgently for an international inspection of the Dnepropetrovsk special psychiatric hospital, as well as of other hospitals of this type; and for an international examination of the state of Leonid Plyushch’s health and his transfer to a foreign hospital to recover his shattered health. This appeal to you, and in your person to international public opinion, is the only path left open to us for saving the life of Leonid Plyushch.”

This statement was circulated by the International League for the Rights of Man and was sent, in particular, to UN Secretary-General Waldheim.

(9)

On 6 March 1974, T. Velikanova, S. Kovalyov, A. E. Levitin (Krasnov), G. Podyapolsky, A, Sakharov and T. Khodorovich appealed to the International Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, the International League for the Rights of Man, Amnesty International, and to workers and trade-union organizations throughout the world to speak out in defence of V. Khaustov [CCE 32.2] and not to allow further reprisals against him.

The authors write:

“… The charges against Khaustov were, specifically, that he had taken several samizdat documents to Oryol at the request of his friends and had taken part in the sending abroad of E. Kuznetsov’s prison diary. It was these actions, which were perfectly normal acts of exchanging information, that provided the grounds for a charge of anti-Soviet activity and a harsh sentence. Khaustov’s case is yet another link in the long chain of persecution of people for their beliefs ….”

On 7 March M. Landa associated herself with the appeal.

(10)

Statement in defence of Gabriel Superfin (16 March 1974)

On 16 March, a statement in defence of Superfin [CCE 32.3] was published. In particular, it says:

“… Concealment of a crime inevitably gives birth to new crimes. This is how it will be until the public conscience is purged, until truth is given full voice. Until that time, all who dare to make secret things public will turn out to be “guilty”. For the logical crime there must not be witnesses. They are tried for “slander”, put in camps, left to rot in prisons and mad-houses, or thrown out of the country.

“But the main thing is this: the authorities want to force them into stating that their bearing of witness was a criminal offence. The whole mechanism of the investigation is subordinated to this end. … And to us, who live in freedom, it is not given to know how they break a human soul there, inside. If the mechanism succeeds, the spectacle is put on show. But if not? …

“It is already four months since Superfin repudiated the evidence he had given earlier, the authors continue, as became evident at Khaustov’s trial:

“… But a voice which has miraculously broken through to us from the silent depths of an investigation prison-cell, the voice of a man who found within himself the strength to resist baseness and lies and thereby brought upon himself a new danger, calls on us to make a choice: will we be the habitually silent accomplices of yet another crime, or will we try to avert it?

“On the basis of this extorted and then renounced testimony dozens of people have been recently interrogated in Moscow, Leningrad, Riga, Tallinn and Tartu … And each one was told a barefaced lie: “Confirm it … he has confessed everything.”

“This is the essence of their methods – the lie. It unfailingly guides the whole course of the investigatory machine, which serves neither the state nor its security, but, for the sake of self-preservation, keeps demanding more and more victims. And until its immorality and illegal essence are revealed, the shadow of the Gulag Archipelago will relentlessly pursue us.

“How long will such “cases” be fabricated? How long will innocent people, deprived of contact with the outside world, defenceless against any fraud and blackmail, be pulverized in investigation prisons?

WE DEMAND:

“1. That Gabriel Superfin’s isolation be ended immediately and that his relatives and the defence lawyer chosen by them be allowed in to see him.

“2. That a commission from the International Commission of Jurists be allowed in immediately to find out all the circumstances of the investigation of Superfin’s case and the methods used by the KGB.

“3. That Superfin be released, and a decision taken to terminate the investigation of his case.”

Signed:

Yevgeny Barabanov, Valentina Berdichevskaya, Vadim Borisov, Tatyana Borisova, Tatyana Velikanova, Oktyabrina Volkova, Vladimir Vigilyansky, Alexander Galich, Yury Gastev, Sergei Genkin, Alexander Ginzburg, Lyudmila Ginzburg, Galina Gladkova, Vladimir Glotser, Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Alexander Gribanov, Irina Zholkovskaya, Olga Joffe, Lyudmila Kardasevich, Sergei Kovalyov, Vadim Kozovoi, Natalya Komarova, Ilya Korneyev. Alexander Lavut, Boris Landa, Vladimir Lapin, Vera Lashkova, Yury Levin, Pavel Litvinov, Boris Mikhailov, Galina Narinskaya, Grigory Podyapolsky, Olga Rozhanskaya, Ivan Rudakov, Maria Slonim, Andrei Tverdokhlebov, Viktor Timachev, Tatyana Khodorovich, Natalya Chervinskaya, Lydia Chukovskaya, Nadezhda Shatunovskaya, Sergei Khodorovich, Alexander Shuster and Boris Shragin.

(11)

A. Sakharov – “Open Letter to Academician V. A. Engelgardt” (29 March 1974)

Academician V. A. Engelgardt, the famous biochemist, held private talks with Western scientists during a visit to Europe and the U S A in which he tried to convince them not to speak out in defence of Sakharov and his views. One of the main reasons given by Engelgardt was concern for Sakharov’s safety. (It is not known whether Engelgardt advised anyone in the West to speak out against Sakharov. However, it is worth recalling that he himself censured Sakharov very severely in the autumn of 1973 when, together with other Academicians, he published a widely known letter that gave the signal for other such statements in the USSR, Chronicle.) [note 65]//

In a letter to Engelgardt Sakharov says: “I myself have consciously chosen the course of my life and the course of my conduct, and it is not for you to correct them. I am convinced that my position, my rights, and the safety of the members of my family . . . can be effectively protected only by open and decisive interventions.” Sakharov again emphasizes the necessity of publicity in all matters that arc of social significance.

Andrei Sakharov, 1921-1989

(12)

On 4 April 1974 A. Sakharov, referring to information from Amnesty International on the condition of political prisoners in Indonesia, appealed to the President of the Republic of Indonesia, General Suharto.

A. D. Sakharov writes, among other things:

“… I appeal to you … to proclaim a general political amnesty. I consider myself entitled to address this request to you also because in my own country, together with like-minded people, I am regularly speaking out in favour of an amnesty for all political prisoners and the political detainees in psychiatric hospitals.

“A humane and broad amnesty never threatens the political stability of the country which proclaims it. On the contrary, such an act must without fail promote the easing of social and racial conflicts both in the country which has proclaimed it and also far beyond its boundaries.

“I am convinced of the enormous moral and political significance which a decision to grant an amnesty would have not only for Indonesia but for the whole of mankind as well.”

(13)

T. Khodorovich ,“I can stand it no longer”; M. Landa, “Justice and Mercy for Valentin Moroz” (early April 1974)

“I can stand it no longer,” said V. Moroz to his wife at their last meeting.

These two appeals describe the extremely serious condition of the Ukrainian historian and publicist Valentin Moroz. It is now four years since he was sent to Vladimir Prison, and for about the last two of them he has been in solitary confinement. “He is close to death,” says T. Khodorovich.

The authors of the appeals call on all honourable people to speak out in defence of Valentin Moroz’s life.

(14)

A.D. Sakharov, Andrei Tverdokhlebov – “Appeal on behalf of Gabriel Superfin”

To Amnesty International

To the International Committee for the Defence of Human Rights

To the International League for the Rights of Man

A court in Oryol has sentenced Gabriel Superfin, a literary scholar and translator, to five years of imprisonment and two years of exile [CCE 32.3]. The charges which led to such a harsh sentence were his involvement in sending to the West Edward Kuznetsov’s “Prison Diary” and the circulation of the Chronicle of Current Events.

Both these charges are the fruit of a prejudice which identifies the circulation of information undesirable to the authorities with criminal libel. Are the facts and personal opinions recorded in the prison diary of Edward Kuznetsov, who was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment, really so secret that for alleged involvement in their publication people should be sentenced to imprisonment in prisons and camps – first Victor Khaustov (March 1974) and then Superfin (May 1974)? In a democratic society vices are not concealed: efforts are made to correct them; in any case publicity about them is not a cause for persecution. All this is true also about the Chronicle of Current Events.

The real reason for Superfin’s harsh sentence – or so we assume – was his renunciation of the evidence given by him in the first half of the investigation. We do not know what he was fated to experience, this man of very poor health, who fell into the hands of those capable of a great deal for the sake of bureaucratic success. But Superfin found within himself the strength to resist the pressures, and it was for this that he was not forgiven. We call on international organizations and progressive and honourable people throughout the world to demand the release of Gabriel Superfin – in the name of justice and humanity.

(15)

A. Marchenko – “Statement for the press” (15 May 1974)

The author reports that the police have instituted official surveillance of him without any grounds. Marchenko expresses the hypothesis that the real purpose of this measure, as of a number of preceding ones (searches, interrogation, warnings – all for invented, formal reasons), is to force him either to keep quiet or to emigrate.

Marchenko stresses that his statement is not a request for help: “Let my report be yet another particle of information about a country which today aspires to rule the destinies not of one man, but of the whole world.”

(16)

Yu. Orlov – “Statement regarding the International Scientific Seminar” (18 June 1974)

Yu. Orlov, a physicist and [corresponding] member of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, rejects the charge of kindling national discord which the authorities have brought against A, Voronel, one of the organizers of the international scientific seminar. He states that the seminar is strictly scientific but is being persecuted by the authorities on political grounds: its participants are “those scientists who have been deprived of work as a result of the authorities’ arbitrariness”.

Orlov thanks the organizers of the seminar for helping people not to become professionally unqualified.

(17)

“In Connection with the 35th Anniversary of Yury Galanskov‘s birthday” (19 June 1974)

On 19 June 1974 Yury Timofeyevich GALANSKOV, a martyr of the struggle for human rights in the USSR, would have been 35 years old. Yury Galanskov perished in a camp hospital 1 ½ years ago. His death was the cruel outcome of the inhuman regime in the prisons and political camps of the USSR [CCE 28.2].

Former prisoners and friends of Yury Galanskov, we would like to remind all who are capable of compassion that the present regime for political prisoners in the USSR is a well-thought-out system for the destruction of their health and for the mockery of human dignity. The cynical tormenting of General Grigorenko, the continuing torture of Bukovsky, Ogurtsov and hundreds of other ‘incorrigibles’ – this is the “practical contribution” of the Soviet Union to the cause of international detente. Quite recently a political prisoner, Alexander Romanov, a history student before his arrest, was driven to a desperate protest by the tyranny of the administration and threw himself into the forbidden zone. It was mere chance that saved him from an inevitable death.

On the 35th birthday of Yury Galanskov, a man and a citizen, a martyr and a humanist, we once against protest against the barbarous regime in the political camps and prisons of the USSR.

We call on world public opinion, the International Red Cross and Amnesty International to put the maximum effort into achieving the quickest possible investigation of the conditions in which political prisoners are kept in the USSR.

Signed:

Leonid Borodin, Nikolai Ivanov, Vladislav llyakov, Valentina Mashkova, Vladimir Osipov, Vyacheslav Rodionov, Stanislav Sery.

Moscow

(18)

Mikhail Agursky, Vitaly Rubin and Inessa Akselrod – “An Appeal to American Congressmen” (22 June 1974)

A new wave of illegal arrests of Jewish activists heralds the arrival of President Nixon in the USSR.

“These arrests have nothing in common with security measures, for they are being carried out in many cities and applied to people who have never participated in demonstrations.

“Arrests of Jewish activists constitute a shameless blackmail of American public opinion. Both the Soviet and the American governments bear an equal degree of responsibility for this blackmail.

“We call on American congressmen not to give in to any blackmail. Jewish activists know what they are embarking on when they stand up for their rights and for the rights of the Jewish population in the USSR.”

(19)

Andrei Sakharov – “To the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev” (25 June 1974)

“Arrested for the second time four years ago, after two years in a solitary cell in Vladimir Prison, Valentin Moroz is now demanding a transfer to a camp and has declared a hunger strike,

Valentin Moroz, who earlier served a four-year term of imprisonment, was sentenced to six years of prison, three years of camp and five years of exile simply for writing an account of the horrors of his first imprisonment: the desire of the authorities to conceal the shameful truth can explain their second act of cruelty. In prison Moroz suffered from assaults on him by criminals deliberately put in his cell and was transferred to solitary confinement at his own request. The only violation of the regime in his record is the fact that he talked in Ukrainian at a meeting with his wife.

“I ask you to intervene and save an honourable and courageous man.

“Yours sincerely,

Andrei Sakharov, Academician.”

(20)

Yury Orlov, a physicist and corresponding member of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, issued a statement to the press on 11 July 1974, in which he recounts the persecution to which he has been subjected on political grounds.

In 1956, after speaking at a meeting at which Khrushchev’s report to the 20th Party Congress was read out, he was forced to leave Moscow; in 1973 he was dismissed from the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism of the USSR Academy of Sciences for speaking out in defence of Sakharov; at the same time the Armenian Academy of Sciences refused to give him work. Left without employment, he took part in A. Voronel’s seminar, and then presented a paper for the international scientific seminar which was due to commence on 1 July. Beginning on 27 June, Orlov was subjected to house arrest for a period of ten days, whilst his wife was openly shadowed. Their telephone was cut off.

Yu. Orlov writes:

“… I categorically protest against the persecution to which I am being subjected for my convictions. I demand immediate restoration of employment in accordance with my qualifications. I appeal to international scientific opinion to speak out in defence of Soviet scientists who are being subjected to persecution on political grounds.” [note //67]

(21)

On 7 May 1974 T. Velikanova, S. Kovalyov and T. Khodorovich handed Nos. 28, 29 and 30 of the Chronicle of Current Events to a group of Western correspondents [see CCE 28]. At the same time, they published the following statement:

“Despite the repeated assertions of the KGB and the courts in the USSR, we do not consider that the Chronicle of Current Events is an illegal or libellous publication, and we regard it our duty to facilitate its widest possible circulation.

“it is essential, we believe, that truthful information about violations of basic human rights in the Soviet Union should be available to all who are interested.”

In June M. Landa supported this statement. She writes:

“… I consider it my duty as a human being to facilitate the duplication and circulation of the Chronicle of Current Events, as well as other valuable, uncensored literature which cannot be officially published in the Soviet Union.”

=========================

NOTES

[1] How to deal with Academician Sakharov

The following year, the Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Andrei Sakharov. In a “secret” note to the Politburo, the KGB outlined the measures it was taking to discredit the award: see 15 October 1975 memorandum, signed by Yury Andropov, KGB chairman.

Faced with Sakharov’s activism, his statements to the media and the frequent use of his Moscow apartment for press conferences with foreign journalists, the Committee for State Security had earlier advised Soviet newspapers not to denounce the dissident Academcian but simply ignore his words and actions: 19 February 1973, 320-A.