Repression in Ukraine, December 1972 (28.7)

«No 28 : 31 December 1972»

(1)

On 13 November 1972, in the Kiev Regional Court, the case of Nikolai Grigorevich PLAKHOTNYUK, a physician aged 36, was heard in absentia. Plakhotnyuk was arrested on 14 January 1972 at the apartment of D. Shumuk. In the summer, an expert examination was conducted at the Serbsky Institute, resulting in the following diagnosis: schizophrenia with persecution mania; periodically non-responsible”.

According to testimony given during the investigation by Anna Kocurova, a student from Czechoslovakia, she received a photocopy of the Ukrainian Herald [Ukrainsky Visnik] from Plakhotnyuk and sent it abroad. The witnesses — Z. Franko; M. Stefanyuk, a girl student at the conservatory; Varka, a woman from the same village as Plakhotnyuk; and a certain building-trades student — testified that Plakhotnyuk had given them the Ukrainian Herald [note 1] and other samizdat materials. (A copy of the Ukrainian Herald which had been in the possession of Stefanyuk mysteriously disappeared from her apartment early in 1971.)

 The court ordered that Plakhotnyuk be sent for compulsory treatment to a special psychiatric hospital and that, on restoration to health, he be tried as “mentally responsible” (a juridical innovation apparently born out of the subtleties of the aforementioned diagnosis). Before the trial the barrister Karpenko had only one meeting with his client after which visits were prohibited: it was stated that Plakhotnyuk was delirious and hallucinating.

(2)

Boris Kovgar, aged 47, a journalist and member of the Communist Party, has three sons aged eight, 11 and 14. Until recently he headed the Collections Section at the Kiev Museum of Architecture and Folk Life.

In September 1972 he was tried in absentia by the Kiev Regional Court. The court’s ruling was the same as in the Plakhotnyuk case: Kovgar was ruled to be mentally ill and sent for compulsory treatment, with a trial to follow (after restoration of his health).

*

Kovgar has been a secret agent of the KGB since 1967. He was assigned to shadow the following: Honoured Artist I. M. Gonchar, a painter; L Vashchenko, director of the Gomin amateur choir; A. Sergiyenko, a restorer of art works; and M. Kholodny, a poet.

On 13 February 1972, an open letter from Kovgar to the KGB investigator for whom he worked went into circulation. There Kovgar told the whole story, divulging the psychology of his collaboration with the KGB and exposing the technology of shadowing people.

(3)

In June 1972 Vasily Romanyuk, a priest of the village of Kosmach in the Ivano-Frankovsk Region, was sentenced to 10 years of camps and 5 years of exile under Article 62, pt. 2, of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (= Article 70, pt. 2, of the RSFSR Criminal Code). He was among those who protested against the sentence handed down to Valentyn Moroz at his trial in November 1970 (see CCE 17 [and 25]).

(4)

The case of the psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman and the 18-year-old typist Lyubov Serednyak was heard by the Kiev Regional Court between 12 and 19 October 1972.

Gluzman (for his arrest, CCE 25.2) was charged under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code ( = Article 70 of the RSFSR Code), and Serednyak, arrested 14 January 1972, was charged under Article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Code ( = Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Code). The presiding judge was Dyshel; the prosecutor was Korotkova, an assistant regional procurator, responsible for overseeing the KGB.

Semyon Gluzman, b. 1946

The charges against Gluzman were based only on the testimony of witnesses: nothing was confiscated during the search made at his home. The file contained photocopies of materials taken from the KGB archives which, according to the witnesses, Gluzman had either shown them or mentioned to them. The file also included a photocopy of an article on the Czechoslovak question which was attributed, without supporting proofs, to Academician A. D. Sakharov. (This article was mentioned by one witness) [note 2]. Another witness, a female colleague of Gluzman’s, stated that in answer to a question as to why he had been working in Zhitomir rather than Kiev, Gluzman had answered: “because I am a Jew“. The court found this sufficient to charge him with Zionist propaganda.

Gluzman was also charged with the “ideological corruption” of L. Serednyak and I. Golts [Ukr. Holts], who had earlier been convicted in Lutsk (CCE 27.1). At the trial Golts testified against Gluzman. Gluzman’s father and V. Biryukovich, a friend of his student years, were called as witnesses. Witnesses who testified about Serednyak included her mother and aunt, neighbours, two classmates and others.

*

The trial was held in an empty courtroom. It was only on the last day, when the defendants’ relatives were allowed in, that the courtroom was filled with policemen who come in through the service entrance.

The sentence: 7 years of strict regime camps and 3 years of exile for Gluzman; one year of ordinary regime camps for Serednyak.

A common opinion is that among the true reasons for Gluzman’s conviction was a KGB suspicion that he is one of the authors of a document known as “An ‘In Absentia’ Psychiatric Report on the Case of P. G. Grigorenko” [note 3, Sakharov appeals for Gluzman]

(5)

In October 1972 Irina Mikhailovna SENIK, a nurse at a TB dispensary, was arrested in Ivano-Frankovsk [note 3]. Her arrest was apparently due to some poems which Senik had written, chiefly in camp and prison, that turned up during a search of Vyacheslav Chornovil’s home (see CCE 24). In 1954, Senik was released at the end of a 10-year sentence. While in the camps she had contracted spinal tuberculosis.

(6)

On 10 December 1972, 36-year-old physician and epidemiologist Lydia Guk (a widow with a son aged six) was arrested in Skadovsk, Kherson Region. In March, a search had been made at her home, after which she wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the Party, expressing her indignation at violations of the Constitution. She was subsequently expelled from the Party.

In May 1972 proceedings were instituted against her under Article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code ( = Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Code). Article 208 of the Ukrainian Code ( = Article 210 of the RSFSR Code) was added in the course of an investigation carried out under the direction of the KGB’s Kiev administration. The Kherson Regional Court returned the case of L. Guk for further investigation.

(7)

CCE 27.1-2 reported the arrest on 8 July 1972 of E. Lisovoi and V. Pronyuk, researchers at the Institute of Philosophy of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. (Not long before his arrest, Pronyuk was transferred to the position of bibliographer because of his “unreliability”.) After their arrest, both were dismissed as “unsuitable for the job”. In connection with their case a search was made at the home of Vasily Byshovets, a philologist and scholar at the same institute.

*

II. EXTRA-JUDICIAL PERSECUTION

Dismissals and Demotions

KIEV.

Sergei Kudrya and Svetlana Klushchenko (in CCE 27 she was mistakenly called Kirichenko), friends of Lisovoi and Pronyuk, have been dismissed from the Institute of Philosophy. Pronyuk’s wife, Galina Ditkovskaya, has been dismissed from the Institute of Languages. She had recently defended a doctoral [kandidatskaya] dissertation there, but it had not yet been accepted by the Higher Certification Commission.

Doctor (kandidat) of Historical Sciences Yelena Apanovich (in CCE 27 she was mistakenly called Ananovich) has been dismissed from the Institute of History.

Alexei Stavitsky has been dismissed from the Institute of Literature and expelled from the Party.

The following have been dismissed from the Institute of Art History, Folklore, and Ethnography: Vasily Nikitich SKRIPKA, Doctor (kandidat) of Science, author of several monographs, transferred to a position as a bibliographer in 1971 because of his article “Stylistic Traits of Ukrainian Songs”; and Tamara Girnik, author of an undefended dissertation, “Ancient and Contemporary Rituals”, apparently for her connections with L. I. Vashchenko, director of the Gomin Choir [note 4].

Fyodor Pavlovich SHEVCHENKO (see CCE 27), director of the Institute of Archaeology and a corresponding member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, was dismissed from his post, having been charged with “nationalism and Zionism” [note 5].

The director of the institute where Z. Antonyuk and L. Seleznenko worked (see CCE 24 and CCE 27) has been dismissed and the secretary of the Party Committee was pressured into retiring. The director and the secretary were given severe Party reprimands by the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Party for failing adequately to combat bourgeois nationalism and Zionism. (Two staff members at the institute intended to emigrate to Israel.)

Twenty-two staff scientists have been dismissed from the Institute of Botany.

*

Nadezhda Dmitrievna KOVALENKO, a 45-year-old teacher of literature and member of the school Party bureau, has been dismissed from the Lesya Ukrainka High School. This was because she organized an evening program at the school in which the writer S. P. Plachinda participated. In 1969 Plachinda was removed from his position as editor of the Molod Publishing House for his book, Neopalimaya kupina (“sketches of Ukrainian cultural figures”). The book has now been removed from libraries.

*

In September 1972 an editor, Mushketnik, and head of the book-review section, V. Subotovich, were dismissed from the editorial board of the journal Dnipro for having used, in an article on the 50th Anniversary of the USSR, inflated statistics from a book by P. Shelest, former first secretary of the Ukrainian Party.

*

In April 1972 Sergei Baltivets, a 16-year-old student at Republic Art School No. 1, was twice taken out of school for interrogation at the KGB office. Investigator Tsymakh tried to get him to testify that in the studio of the artist Lyudmila Semykina he had heard Raketsky read his “anti-Soviet” poems [note 6].

The investigator demanded that Sergei copy out several poems (for a handwriting comparison). Sergei refused. On 21 May he was detained by the police at the monument to Shevchenko, where he was listening to Ukrainian songs. (On the events at the Shevchenko Monument see  CCE 26.) He was then subjected to interrogation at the Lenin District Police Station. After successfully completing his eighth year at the art school, Baltivets was failed in the entrance examinations for the ninth year.

*

LVOV.

A commission of the Central Committee [of the ?Ukrainian Communist Party] has been in operation at the Institute of Social Sciences of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. This commission suggested to 14 “unreliable” scholars that they resign of their own volition”.

They were threatened, if they did not resign, with dismissal “because of staff reductions”, although the majority of them had not completed the term of employment for which they were selected on a competitive basis. The threat was carried out. Among those dismissed were Doctor [kandidat] of Philology Grigory Antonovich NUDGA, a folklorist and author of many articles and the book Meditations [Dumy 1969); and Doctor [kandidat] of Philology Roman Fyodorovich KIRCHEV, a folklorist and researcher on Ukrainian-Polish cultural ties). Both were preparing to defend their higher doctoral dissertations.

*

Elsewhere

D.Sc. (History) Nikolai Dashkevich, previously imprisoned for several years on political charges, was dismissed from the Museum of Ethnography and Handicrafts “because of staff reductions”.

In September 1971, the teacher and linguist Vasily Gorbachuk was dismissed from the Kirovograd Pedagogical Institute.

In Cherkassy, V. I. Zakharchenko was expelled from the Writers Union for anti-social behaviour “incompatible with membership of the writers’ organization” (see the newspaper Literaturnaya Ukraina, 20 and 24 October 1972). In 1970, during a search at Zakharchenko’s home (he then lived in the Donbas), one of his own manuscripts was seized, together with articles by V. Moroz. Zakharchenko also tried to get into the trial of his acquaintance V. Stus [see CCE 27].

*

III. ABOUT CERTAIN ARRESTS AND TRIALS

The Chronicle now has additional information on certain arrests and trials in Ukraine in 1971-1972.

(1)

The case of Danylo Shumuk

Danylo Lavrentevich SHUMUK was born in February 1914 in the village of Boremcha (Volynia). At the age of 17 or 18 he became a member of the Communist Party of the Western Ukraine [then part of Poland]. When he was 19, he was arrested by the Polish authorities and received his first sentence: 8 years in prison. In 1939 he returned to his homeland. In 1941 he joined the Red Army. After breaking out of an encirclement, he organized a partisan detachment in his home area of the Ukraine. In the course of joint military actions, his detachment merged with the UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army, note 7].

In view of his differences of principle with the leadership of the UPA, Shumuk refused to take part in its actions and taught economic geography on military training courses. After the arrival of the Soviet Army Shumuk was again arrested.

Although Shumuk had not been actively involved with the UPA, he was sentenced to 20 years. He served his term in the Norilsk camp complex. In June 1953 he was one of the organizers of the Norilsk Uprising, for which he was sentenced to death [note 8]

In 1956 he was amnestied and returned to his native region. He soon had to move to the Dnepropetrovsk Region. There he was arrested for the third time. On 5 May 1958 he was sentenced to 10 years in strict regime camps under Article 54-10 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (= Article 58-10 of the RSFSR Code). He served this term in Mordovia. Because of his “memoirs”, which were found during a camp search, he was kept for a long time in a special punishment barracks.

After his release he settled in Boguslav in Kiev Region and worked as a watchman at a Pioneer camp. He continued work on his manuscript entitled “My Past Remembered”.

*

In January 1972 D. L. Shumuk was arrested (see CCE 25.2). From 5 to 7 July he was tried by the Kiev Regional Court (not the Lvov Court, as was mistakenly reported in CCE 27.1). He was sentenced to 10 years in special-regime camps plus 5 years of exile.

The witnesses in the case included: Pavel Kulik who had served time with Shumuk in Mordovia — a search at his home had turned up a manuscript of “My Past Remembered”; Grunya Lishak, Kulik’s wife), who had been dismissed from her job at a school and expelled from the Party for “amorality”; Galina Khomenko, a physician who had treated Shumuk; her brother who was chief of the supply section at the Pioneer camp where Shumuk had worked as a watchman; Oros, an engineer from the Western Ukraine who had served with Shumuk in 1945-46, and after release from camp had seen Shumuk once (he did not appear in court, but his deposition was read aloud); and Kavetsky, a comrade of Shumuk’s in the Communist Party of the Western Ukraine who had served time with him in a Polish prison).

The appeal court let the sentence stand. In early October Shumuk was sent to the Mordovian camp complex (Potma rail station, Sosnovka settlement, post-box ZhKh 385/1-6).

On 10 October Shumuk sent a statement to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet. After giving an account of his biography and his case, he concluded:

“… I ask the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet to free me from my Soviet citizenship.

“It will be easier for me to die…in harsh imprisonment outside the Ukraine if I am not a citizen of the USSR.”

(2)

More on the Case of Strokata, Reznikov and Prityka

The Chronicle has learned details of the trial of Nina Antonovna STROKATA, Alexei Sergeyevich REZNIKOV, and Alexei Prityka, held in Odessa between 4 and 18 May 1972 (sec CCE 25). Since the chief grounds for the indictment were the “bourgeois nationalist attitudes” of Strokata, who had “fallen under the influence” of her husband, the “spy and recidivist” (the procurator’s expression) Svyatoslav Karavansky, the trial was conducted, ostentatiously, in the Ukrainian language.

Nonetheless, all the questions addressed by Strokata and Reznikov to the witnesses with respect to the situation of Ukrainians and other nationalities in the USSR, were barred by the court as “having no bearing on the case”. One example was the following question posed by Strokata:

“Does the witness remember that before 1941, in Odessa, there were schools with instruction in the Ukrainian, Armenian and Jewish [Yiddish] languages? Since I am convinced that schools with instruction in the native language should be opened throughout the Soviet Union, am I not to be considered on that basis a Jewish nationalist?”

The witness Parkhomenko (editor of the Balta district newspaper Narodnaya tribuna), when asked by Strokata whether he used the expression “Ukrainian patriotism”, answered: “There is no such patriotism; there is Soviet patriotism.” And he and his deputy Tsyng gave the following ‘incriminating’” testimony: Reznikov, after hearing a rendition of the “Internationale” at an amateur concert, said that this song “sounds good in the Ukrainian language”.

The defendants’ friends and acquaintances were not allowed into the courthouse. At this, two unidentified ladies spoke up, calling them “traitors” and “followers of Bandera” (“they wanted national independence”), and swore in foul language. These two ladies then proceeded to attend the trial.

The defendant Prityka was so consistent in his repentance that he shifted to a pure form of Russian speech. This gave the procurator an occasion to remark in Ukrainian: “Now it’s you who are avoiding your native tongue.” Prityka was sentenced to 2 ½ years in labour camps (not 2 years, as was reported in CCE 25). Reznikov and Strokata pleaded not guilty. They were sentenced, respectively, to 5 ½ (not 5, as reported in CCE 25) and 4 years in strict-regime camps.

The present address of Reznikov is: Perm Region, Chusovskoi district, Kuchino settlement, [penal] institution 389/36 [i.e., Perm-36]. That of Strokata is: Mordovian ASSR, Tengushevsky district,  Barashevo village, [penal] institution 385/3 [i.e., Dubrovlag, Camp 3].

(3)

The Case of I. A. Gel.

Arrested in January 1972 (CCE 24), Gel [Ukr. Hel] was sentenced in August to 5 years of special regime, 5 years of strict regime, and 5 years of exile (CCE 27).

Ivan Andreyevich GEL [Ukr. Hel] was born in the village of Klitsko (Lvov Region) in 1938. In 1954 he finished at a school for young workers, then went to work at the Lvov Tractor Plant. In 1956-59 he served in the Soviet Army. After his demobilization, he worked at the Lvov Electrovacuum Plant.

In 1965, he was sentenced to 3 years in strict-regime camps for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”. In November 1970 Gel sent to the Ukrainian Supreme Court a statement protesting against the sentence given to V. Moroz. He has an eight-year-old child.

(4)

The Case of Stefania Shabatura

Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code: 5 years in camps and 3 years of exile (see CCE 27). A designer of fabrics. Born in 1938; married. Shabatura’s Gobelin-type tapestries have been repeatedly exhibited, most recently in 1971. Her work has been highly praised by the local press (and is mentioned in Volume 6 of the History of Ukrainian Art).

In 1970, together with a group of Lvov writers and artists, Shabatura requested admission to the trial of Moroz. In her indictment it was stated that Shabatura’s father, who died during the Great Patriotic War [Nazi-Soviet conflict, 1941-1945], was a deserter, and that this had determined the views of his daughter. It is known that during the war Shabatura received a pension as the daughter of a soldier killed in the war.

(5)

The Case of Ihor and Irina Kalynets

Irina Stasiv-Kalynets (CCEs 24,27) Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, 6 years of camp and 3 years of exile). Born in 1940. She is the wife of the poet Igor Kalynets. Their daughter, Dzvinka Kalynets, is 12 years old. Irina Stasiv is a poetess. Her verses for children have been published in the regional and republic press.

Upon graduation from Lvov University, she worked as a teacher, then gave lectures on Ukrainian language and literature in the preparatory department of the Lvov Polytechnical Institute. In September 1970 she was dismissed from this job. In the autumn of 1970, she and her husband sent a petition to the Ukrainian Procurator’s Office asking that they be allowed to attend the trial of Moroz.

Soon after Stasiv’s trial, her husband Igor Kalynets was arrested. On 13 November 1972, the Lvov Regional Court sentenced him to 6 years of camp and 3 years of exile. At both trials their acquaintance, the poet Chubai, gave testimony about the “anti-Soviet agitation” they both waged.

*

Corrections to Chronicle 27.1 (“Repression in Ukraine”)

  • Nikolai Kovalenko was mistakenly called Ivan.
  • Lisovoi did not send his letter to the KGB.
  • M. Kholodny’s letter was published in Literaturnaya Ukraina on 7 June 1972 not 7 July.

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NOTES

[1] Seven of the eight first issues of Ukraine Herald have been published in book form under the joint imprint of PIUF (Paris) and Smolokyp (Baltimore). Plakhotnyuk is mentioned in several issues, also in CCEs 24, 27, 30 and 32.

[2] On 15 November 1972, Andrei Sakharov appealed to the world’s psychiatrists to intercede for Gluzman, stating his belief that he “was sentenced for his professional integrity” (text in A Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR No. 1, 1973). On 20 November 1974, in a second such appeal, Sakharov said that no doubts remained as to Gluzman’s authorship of the report on Grigorenko.

In November 1974, the writer Victor Nekrasov also appealed for support for Gluzman, a close friend of his. In response to Sakharov’s first appeal, some 200 British psychiatrists signed telegrams of support and concern to Sakharov. See also the letter of the eminent German psychiatrist Dr W. von Baeyer in the British Medical Journal November 1974, and Gluzman’s statement about his month-long strike in A Chronicle of Human Rights, No. 10 (1974).

[3] In March 1973, Senik (b. 1924) and an art specialist by profession, was sentenced to 6 years in strict-regime camps plus 3 years of exile for alleged “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”. In 1974 she was in the women’s compound of Camp 3 in Mordovia. Several issues of the Ukrainian Herald contain references to her.

[4] For the suppression of Leopold Vashchenko and his choir see various issues of Ukrainian Herald (Nos. 1, 3, 4 and, especially, 6).

[5] Evidently the young journalist sentenced to 5 years in June 1972. See CCE 26 (where his name is mis-spelt Rakityansky) and 27. On Semykina see CCE or Ukr Herald? 5.

[6] Shevchenko’s works were removed from the publishing plans of Naukova dumka publishers. In particular, Shevchenko was incriminated for having written a favourable review of Bilik’s book, The Sword of Ares. Doctor of Science Mikhail Braychevsky, author of an unpublished article entitled “Unification or Annexation!” (1966), was dismissed from the same institute.

[7] UPA was a Ukrainian guerrilla force which resisted both the German occupation authorities and Soviet rule in the Western Ukraine. Founded in 1942, it was finally suppressed by the Soviet regime in 1950.

[8] The Norilsk Uprising of May-August 1953 was one of several major disturbances in the Gulag following the death of Stalin. It was the first of several similar events, including Vorkuta and the “40 Days of Kengir” (Kazakh SSR). Shumuk was among the many Ukrainian, and Lithuanian, participants.