News in Brief, July 1973 (29.11)

<<No 29 : 31 July 1973>>

Irina Kristi, Tatyana Velikanova, 0lga Joffe, Irina Kaplun, Ludmila Kardasevich, Yury Kiselev, Malva Landa, Sergei Khodorovich, Tatyana Khodorovich and Nadezhda Shatunovskaya have sent a letter to R. A. Rudenko, Procurator-General of the USSR. It concerns a violation committed by the Moscow City Procurator’s Office with respect to S.G. Myuge (see CCE 22.8, item 7) of the 28 December 1972 Decree on Amnesty [note 1].

As Sergei Myuge is a war invalid with government decorations, and as Article 190-1 of the RSFSR criminal code, under which he is being investigated, provides for a maximum term of less than 5 years, Myuge’s case falls within the terms of the decree on amnesty. Despite this, the case has not been quashed.

Among those interrogated by the Procurator’s Office of Moscow City in connection with the “Myuge Case’’ have been his wife, Kseniya Velikanova, Malva Landa (see CCE 22, 25), Alexander Galich, Sergei Kovalyov, Naum Korzhavin, N. Shcherbakova, K. Zainutdinov and E. Armand.

*

On 10 January 1973, A. Tverdokhlebov sent a letter to the editor-in-chief of Vechernaya Moskva [Evening Moscow].

The letter tells of the numerous arrests in 1972 under Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code. According to the author, the nature of this article of the criminal code requires a far-reaching discussion of these arrests. There is also a need to define “what may be done and what may not be done’’ in receiving and imparting information. In his letter Tverdokhlebov lists the names and addresses of eight persons charged under Article 70.

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Vyacheslav Chornovil, arrested in January 1972 in Lvov (see CCE 24.3), was tried in February. Chornovil was sentenced under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (= Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code) to 7 years in camps and 5 years of exile.

In 1967, Chornovil was sentenced to 3 years in camps under Article 187-1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (= Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code).

*

Leonid Borodin and Nikolai Ivanov, arrested in 1967 and sentenced in 1968 to 6 years imprisonment for membership of ASCULP [All-Russian Social-Christian Union for the Liberation of the People] (“the Ogurtsov Case”, see CCE 1.6), were released in March of this year: Borodin from the Vladimir Prison; Ivanov from Dubrovlag in the Mordovian ASSR.

Leonid Borodin, 1938-2011

*

In March a confrontation was organised between the typist Olga Baryshnikova and Yury Shikhanovich, who was arrested in September 1972. Previously [see CCE 27.2, item 1] Baryshnikova’s home had been searched in connection with the Shikhanovich case.

*

On 29 March Vladimir Bukovsky was transferred from the Vladimir Prison to the Perm camp complex in accordance with his sentence. Bukovsky was sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment (2 years in prison, the rest in strict-regime camps) plus 5 years of exile (see CCE 23.1 and CCE 24.1).

*

Former political prisoner Yury Ivanov (see CCE 10.9), released from prison on 6 October 1971, was forcibly sent to the 4th Psychiatric Hospital in Leningrad in April 1973, Ivanov was sent to the hospital from the waiting room at the Leningrad administration of the KGB, where Moscow KGB officials had suggested to Ivanov that he go to get help in receiving a residence permit. The ambulance was sent for by KGB official Nikandrov.

In June 1973 Ivanov was transferred to the 3rd Psychiatric Hospital, apparently to a ward for socially-dangerous patients. He was given Aminazin injections.

Previously, in the summer of 1972, Ivanov had rejected the suggestion of the Smolensk KGB’s  investigations section that he refute “The Fate of Yury Ivanov’’, a report published in the Chronicle (CCE 10.9).

*

In mid-May the police broke up a prayer meeting of Baptists near Kharkov. They detained a former prisoner in the Mordovian camp complex, Boris Zdorovets, who had already served 10 years in camps and in exile [note 2]. A search was made at his home.

There is information that Zdorovets is being indicted under the Article corresponding to Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code.

*

The trial of Vaclav Sevruk (CCE 24.2 and CCE 25.10, item 5), indicted under Article 63 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code, was held in Vilnius in January. In particular, Sevruk was incriminated for having contacts with the Chronicle of Current Events. He was arrested on 14 January 1972. The psychiatric commission which examined him at the Serbsky Institute found him non-responsible.

Sevruk acknowledged that he had committed a crime while ill, but so far as is known he did not give any testimony. The court ordered that he receive compulsory treatment at a general hospital in Vilnius.

Sevruk was discharged from the hospital on 9 July 1973 [note 3].

*

On 5 March V. Sokirko was interrogated in connection with Case 24. He was shown V. Krasin’s deposition to the effect that the latter had used Sokirko’s camera to reproduce printed materials. Sokirko refused to answer questions. Proceedings were instituted against him under Article 182 of the RSFSR criminal code (“Refusal to testify”).

In May 1973, Sokirko’s case was tried by the Moscow City Court. The sentence was the maximum: 6 months of compulsory labour at the place of employment. Soon after the trial he was again called in for questioning on Case 24 and confirmed that Krasin had received a camera from him.

The investigator told Sokirko that he had been tried under Article 182 of the criminal code because of the insignificance of the episode with the camera, but that other “recusants” would be tried under more serious articles.

*

A. E. Levitin-Krasnov, a writer on religious subjects and a member of the Action Group, gained his freedom in late May. He had been arrested in the autumn of 1969. In summer 1970, he was released from detention pending his trial. In spring 1971, he was tried under Article 190-1 (RSFSR Criminal Code) and sentenced to 3 years in camps. He served his term in the Smolensk Region.

*

In June, in connection with the case of Sergei Myuge, a search was made at the dacha of his mother-in-law, N. A. Velikanova.

*

Between 5 July 1972 and 11 July 1973 Nekipelov was subjected to six searches at home and at work, including one at the flat of his mother-in-law. The last search resulted in the confiscation of letters, poems, photographs, rough drafts, notebooks, tapes, F[yodor] Raskolnikov’s [1939] letter, a typewriter and the article “They Want to Try Us — for What?”

Nekipelov was the first person to be arrested in connection with the “Myuge Case” (see CCE 22.8, item 7; CCEs 25-27).

*

The former political prisoner Boris Shilkrot (see CCEs 17, 22 [also 11,14,27, 30]), who was released in the summer of 1972, was again arrested on 25 July 1973 in Luga, Leningrad Region. He was indicted under Article 198-2 of the RSFSR criminal code (violation of residence regulations).

*

On 2 July Roald Mukhamedyarov (see CCEs 14,15,24,25) was ruled mentally non-responsible by the Moscow City Court and sent for compulsory treatment in a psychiatric hospital of the ordinary type: Stolbovaya rail station, Moscow Region, psychiatric hospital No. 5.

*

In July of this year the poet Naum Korzhavin was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers’ shortly after he had applied for emigration to Israel. (His application was submitted almost immediately after the interrogation, noted earlier, to which Korzhavin was subjected by the KGB.)

Korzhavin’s poems have been published in the Soviet press and in samizdat. His play “Once upon a time, in 1920” was produced at the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow.

Korzhavin was arrested several times in the Stalin era.

*

V. A. Nekipelov (b. 1928) was arrested on 11 July 1973 in Kameshkovo in the Vladimir Region. He has a higher education in two fields: pharmacology and literature. A small selection of his poetry was published in 1964. He has published in magazines and newspapers. At the time of his arrest, he was working as head of the Central District Pharmacy in Kameshkovo.

He was indicted under Article 190-1 of the RSFSR criminal code, being incriminated for the poems “A Not Altogether Canonical Ode” and “Tahiti” and for the article “They Want to Try Us — for What?” [note 4] Also, he was incriminated for having given to V. Dvortsin one issue of the Chronicle (according to the testimony of Dvortsin).

*

In July 1973, Vladimir Maximov was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers. Maximov has published two collections of stories in the USSR and has often published in magazines. In samizdat he is known for his novels The Seven Days of Creation and Quarantine.

*

A message from Daniel Berrigan to Soviet political prisoners.

A Roman Catholic priest, Daniel Berrigan is a member of the non-violent resistance movement in the USA, and a former political prisoner: Daniel Berrigan, his brother Philip and seven of their friends burned draft documents which they had collected in a public square, as a protest against the war in Vietnam. He tells of his meeting with a delegation from the Soviet Peace Committee. Berrigan and his friend asked the Soviet delegates questions about the persecution of dissenters in the USSR.

When they replied, “… we felt in the air the brimstone odour of betrayal. One was always conscious of the corruption of language”. This meeting [note 4] reminded the American militants of the non-violent resistance of “their Soviet spiritual brothers”.

“In every one of those shifting glances, which met our eyes with such rancour, such moral unwillingness, such a stubborn withholding of the truth, we were able to see your direct and candid look…. So we thank the powers of the Soviet State which in sending your opposite numbers, in a most strange and authentic way sent yourselves.”

*

Concerning the Public Activities of V. Chalidze

A letter with this title was circulated on 3 January 1973 [note 6]. It viewed Chalidze’s activities as a publicist and a [samizdat] publisher, as well as his trip abroad, as bold legal experiments confronting the authorities with the necessity of blatantly exposing the illegal character of their own actions.

The letter was signed by:

A. Tverdokhlebov, Irina Kristi, I. Rudakov, Irina Kaplun, L. Kardasevich, Tatyana Litvinova, Pavel Litvinov, V. Timachev, Irina Yakir, Sergei Myuge, Malva Landa, K. Velikanova, I, Korneyev, Alexander Lavut, Tatyana Velikanova, Nina Bukovskaya, Nadezhda Shatunovskaya and Yury Gastev.

*

A Statement by American Dissenters

On 24 June 1973, in connection with Brezhnev’s visit to the US [note 7], The New York Times published this statement.

A passage in the letter reads [reverse translation]:

“… To fight against infringements of civil freedoms in the US but keep silent when civil freedoms are being trampled underfoot in the USSR and the countries of the Socialist bloc, to protest against American policy in Indochina but tacitly go along with the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, would not only be immoral but would raise justified doubts as to the sincerity of all our commitments at home.

“The statement mentions the names of political prisoners from the Ukraine and Lithuania, of Jews tried in the ‘Aeroplane Case’, of those taking part in activities for civil rights, and of political prisoners in Czechoslovakia.”

The statement was drawn up by an action committee of 14 persons. It was supported by 273 American intellectuals.

*

On 29 December 1972 A. Tverdokhlebov informed the Human Rights Committee that he was resigning from it for reasons that were “strictly personal”.

*

On 17 December 1972 (after he had been deprived of Soviet citizenship) V. Chalidze announced that he was resigning as a consultant of the Human Rights Committee.

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NOTES

[1] On 28 December 1972, to mark the 50th anniversary of the USSR, the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet declared an amnesty, as it had done in 1957 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of 1917 October Revolution and would do again in 1977 and 1982.

The 1972 amnesty applied to certain categories of prisoners and detainees, e.g. first offenders serving less than five years’ imprisonment for crimes other than those listed in Articles 64-73 (“especially grave crimes against the State”), i.e. those convicted under Article 70 were excluded from this and subsequent amnesties.

[2] On Zdorovets see CCE 1.5; CCE 7.4, item 5; and CCE 30.

[3] ln autumn 1974 Sevruk emigrated, and now lives in the USA. For Victor Sokirko, a Moscow engineer, see CCEs 7 and 13. [date of arrest coincides with Sevryuk? //]

[4] For a summary of Nekipelov’s “They want to Put us on Trial — for What?” see CCE 30.15 (item 5).

[5] Both here and below the original words of Daniel Berrigan are given. The meeting with the Soviet Peace Committee took place on 6 March 1973.

[6] Letter about Chalidze

[7] Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, CPSU general secretary, visited the USA from 18 to 25 June 1973, to take part in the Washington Summit with US President Richard Nixon.