Arrests, Searches, Interrogations, December 1973 (30.7)

<< No 30 : 31 December 1973 >>

Investigation of the Superfin Case

As previously reported (CCE 29.4), Gabriel Gavrilovich SUPERFIN was arrested on 3 July 1973, his home was searched and the following items confiscated: notebooks, books in foreign languages including detective stories by Agatha Christie and a literary work to which Superfin had devoted years of effort.

Gabriel Superfin, b. 1943

Ilyn, an investigator of the KGB Directorate for the city of Oryol and the Oryol Region, was present at the search. Then a search was conducted in the flat of Superfin’s sister, who was summoned for the search from the oral examination of her doctoral thesis.

Shortly after Superfin’s arrest, M. Slonim’s flat was searched. Superfin’s friend V. [Vadim] Borisov was summoned for interrogation by llyn, who was assisted by Colonel Syshchikov.

On 24 August, the flat of Vladimir Dolgy was searched. Immediately before that, Dolgy was handed a note from Superfin who asked him to turn over to the investigation a copy of E. Kuznetsov’s Diaries. Superfin had testified that at his request Dolgy had typed three copies of the Diaries, one of which the latter kept, while Superfin passed another to Yelena Bonner. No trace of the Diaries was found during the search.

In the interrogation that followed, Dolgy did not corroborate Superfin’s testimony.

On 11 September, V. Dolgy was summoned for questioning to Oryol, where he was interrogated from 12 to 20 September and on the last day brought face to face with Superfin. The chief issue remained that of the Diaries. During the confrontation, as in his interrogations, V. Dolgy did not corroborate Superfin’s testimony.


In conjunction with the Superfin case, Yevgeny Barabanov’s home was searched on 24 August. After 27 August Barabanov was interrogated several times by Ilyn.

A statement by Barabanov dated 15 September is circulating. In it he expresses indignation at current violations of freedom of speech and conscience. He reminds people of the traditional practice by which uncensored works of Russian literature have reached Russia via the West, citing as examples works by Khomyakov, Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Soloviev. He declared that he had sent to the West A Chronicle of Current Events, the Diaries of Kuznetsov, prison poems by Andreyev and Radygin, [note 1] unpublished poems by Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Pasternak and Tsvetayeva, as well as other works, because he believed it was essential to preserve free Russian culture.

In September Yelena Bonner issued a statement in support of Barabanov, saying that she, too, had transmitted samizdat works to the West.


On 14 November E. Bonner was summoned to the KGB concerning a letter she and A. Sakharov had written to Yu. V. Andropov [the KGB chairman], requesting that V. Khaustov be released on their surety until his trial (see CCE 29). KGB officer S. I. Sokolov termed this offer of surety “frivolous”, since, as he put it, Bonner herself was “an accomplice” of Khaustov’s. Sokolov said that the activities of “dissenters” were harmful; he stated that the authorities were trying to achieve greater democratization and did not wish to become more repressive, but the activities of “dissidents”, and particularly statements by Sakharov, impeded them.

In late November and December 1973, investigator Syshchikov of the Oryol KGB directorate repeatedly interrogated Bonner, primarily about E. Kuznetsov’s Diaries. The interrogations pertained to what Syshchikov called “The Superfin-Khaustov-Bonner Case”. Bonner refused to answer his questions. At the same time, Bonner issued a statement to the press acknowledging that she had transmitted E. Kuznetsov’s Diaries to the West and did not consider this a violation of the law.

It is known that after publication of his Diaries [in Paris] Kuznetsov spent about two months in the Saransk Investigations Prison. No information is available on the questions put to him during his interrogations. Other people interrogated about the Diaries were given to understand that Kuznetsov had “confessed everything”, was faced with the threat of execution (under what article of the criminal code was not specified), and the implementation of this threat hinged on the degree of candour of their testimony.

During the autumn T. Velikanova, Yu. Kim and Irina Yakir were also questioned about the Superfin case. An analysis of all the interrogations in the case made it clear that Superfin was giving detailed depositions, particularly about A Chronicle of Current Events.


Sergei Kuzmich PIROGOV was released in 1964 after serving an 8-year sentence under Article 58 of the [pre-1960] RSFSR Criminal Code, a case involving criticism of Soviet reality from a Marxist standpoint. He was arrested in Arkhangelsk in July 1973.

On 11, 12 and 13 July, the Arkhangelsk directorate of the MVD searched his flat as well as the flat and dacha of his mother, N. G. Pirogova. Shortly afterwards, the KGB repeated the searches and confiscated the following items: two issues of Veche, [note 2] works by A. D. Sakharov, some poems about Stalin, books, photographs, photographic film, writing pads containing notes, two radios, a typewriter, and other material. According to the search warrant presented by the MVD officers, the grounds for the search was Pirogov’s suspected involvement in the death of a man unknown to him: a lecturer at the Arkhangelsk Institute for Fishing Technology called Vadim Sokolov, who committed suicide in February 1973 by hanging himself in the woods.

One of Pirogov’s acquaintances had found in the jacket pocket of the deceased a notebook with critical comments Sokolov had made about the defective nature of social and economic relations in the USSR. Pirogov wrote about his find to V. Sokolov’s sister. In reply, the latter criticised the deceased’s moral character and the type of life he had led — criticisms that elicited a sharp rebuke from Pirogov in a second letter to her. Both of Pirogov’s letters were turned over to the office of the procurator in Arkhangelsk. There is reason to believe that Sokolov’s suicide was merely a pretext for searching Pirogov’s home. Apparently, he had been shadowed for about six months prior to this.

Initially, MVD investigator Chilikidi conducted the investigation of Pirogov’s case, which is now in the hands of KGB investigators Nikolai Nikolayevich Beleyev and Gennady Grigorevich Romashenko. Charges against Pirogov have been preferred under Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code. The case has involved interrogations of many witnesses in Arkhangelsk, Moscow, Kaunas, Vilnius and Leningrad. In July 1973 the home of one of these people, I. Abramovich (of Moscow), was searched.

Since 11 November, S. Pirogov has been confined to the Serbsky Institute in Moscow for in-patient examination by psychiatrists. The investigation of his case, which was extended until 14 December, has apparently been prolonged again.


There are unconfirmed reports that Vylegzhanin, Zaritsky and Lifshits were arrested in Kiev early in November 1973. They have been charged under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code [note 3].


Lev Alexandrovich LADYZHENSKY was arrested in Riga on 6 December and indicted under the article [183-1] corresponding to Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code. A doctor [kandidat] of physical and mathematical sciences, L. Ladyzhensky is the head of a laboratory at the Riga Scientific Research Institute for the Fishing Industry [note 4].


In August the KGB searched the [Moscow] flats of Tatiana Velikanova (in regard to the Superfin Case) and of Vyacheslav Bakhmin and Andrei Tverdokhlebov (in regard to Case No. 24).


Yelena Semeka’s apartment in Moscow was searched in mid-October. According to the warrant, the search was prompted by suspicions that her husband, Mikhail Pankratov, had forged certain documents. The search party, however, seemed primarily interested in samizdat [note 5].


Early in November, Anatoly Marchenko’s home (Tarusa, Kaluga Region) was searched. According to the warrant presented by the KGB officers, the search related to Case No. 24.


In August the flat of Tatiana Zhitnikova, wife of Leonid Plyushch, was searched in Kiev in connection with V. Nekipelov’s case (see CCE 21).



[1] On Radygin see, especially, CCE 24.11, item 5; and CCE 27.12.

[2] On Veche, a “Russian nationalist journal”, see CCE 18.11, item 6; CCE 26.16, CCE 32.16.

[3] Confirmed in CCE 32, which gives details of a number of related searches. On 22 November 1973 the paper Russkaya Mysl (Paris) reported the arrests and gave their first names, respectively, as “Vladimir, Alexander, Yury”.

[4] See more details in CCE 32. In October 1974, Ladyzhensky was sentenced to 3 years in strict-regime camps, plus 3 in exile.

[5] Yelena Semeka and her husband emigrated to the US in 1974. That year she compiled a collection of documents about the case of Bidiya Dandaron (CCE 28.6).