Materials from the Soviet press, 1972 (27.10)

On 26 July 1972, the paper Evening Tbilisi [Vecherny Tbilisi] published an interview with the Rector of the Pushkin Pedagogical institute in Tbilisi, Natela Vasadze. it included, amongst other things, the following exchange:

Correspondent — At a recent Plenum of the City Council one of your teachers was criticised for performing religious ceremonies in a church.

Rector — We sacked her. How can a person who adheres to superstitions be an educator of youth?

(A teacher of English Megi Kezheradze had been seen lighting a candle in a church on Easter Eve.)


On 9 August 1972, the Literary Gazette published two open letters to the West Berlin paper Der Tagesspiegel by writer A. Krivitsky. Krivitsky disputes, among other things, the allegation made by German author W. Kraus [in the 6 April and 27 June 1972 issues] that in the USSR intellectuals who do not agree with ‘the official line are put in psychiatric hospitals”.

Gennady Shimanov, 1937-2013

This is how A. Krivitsky argues:

L No person who is at present a member of the Writers’ Union is registered at a psychiatric hospital.

2. The persons who have undergone compulsory treatment and whom W. Kraus refers to in his article as writers (Vasily Chernyshyov [CCE 18.1], Mikhail Neris — evidently M.A. Naritsa is meant, see CCE 16 [and CCE 24.12, item 10] — Gennady Shimanov [CCE 13.9] and Julia Vishnevskaya [CCE 22]) are not members of the Writers’ Union.

3. They cannot be regarded as writers for another reason: they have not applied for membership of the Writers’ Union or sent their manuscripts to literary journals (Krivitsky had telephoned his friends on many different journals), and bibliographies of their works do not exist.

4. Former member of the Writers Union Valery Tarsis [note 1] really does exhibit signs of mental derangement; consequently, the above-mentioned persons are abnormal also.

Apparently Krivitsky has good reason to have a headache, by his own admission, right after making his opening move …



[1] Writer Valery Tarsis sought asylum in the UK in the 1960s and was one of the first to be deprived of his Soviet citizenship: see Bukovsky Archive (17 February 1966, Pb 234/34).