“Tamizdat” Update, December 1973 (30.16)

<<No 30 : 31 December 1973>>

This section summarizes Western editions of works and documents in Russian, tamizdat [note 1], that were not published in the Soviet Union for “ideological” reasons.

[1] A Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR No. 3 (June-August 1973).

(Same format, headings and price as previous issues.)

In addition to the editors P[eter] Reddaway and E[dward] Kline listed on the back of the title page, the name of V. N. Chalidze appears for the first time as Editor-in-Chief.

In this Issue:

  • A review of Pyotr Yakir’s activities in defence of human rights (special article);
  • The arrest of Superfin;
  • Conviction of A. Amalrik;
  • The Trial of Yakir and Krasin;
  • Psychiatric Commission declares Shikhanovich non-accountable;
  • Sakharov’s talk with Deputy Procurator-General of the USSR;
  • Zh. Medvedev’s Soviet citizenship revoked;
  • statement by the Committee on Human Rights (9 July 1973) about the refusal of the International Congress of Psychotherapists in Oslo to discuss the Soviet authorities’ policy of “punitive psychiatry” [see CCE //] in order not to “hinder the currently most progressive process of rapprochement with the countries of Eastern Europe”;
  • Senator McGovern and Congressman Ichord speak out in defence of Amalrik and Maximov;
  • A Law on Public Education.

The following is further information on the contents of the sections regularly featured (the figures designate the numbers of the sections, for details see CCE 29.1).

(1) The conviction of O. Savinkin, A. Yegorov and E. Kuzin; the arrests of V. Nekipelov and S. Pirogov; Searches of A. Tverdokhlebov, I. Abramovich, V. Dolgy, T. Velikanova, V. Bakhmin, T. Zhitnikova and V. Nekrasov; V. Maximov’s letter to the Secretariat of the Moscow Section of the RSFSR Writers’ Union; A letter from Solzhenitsyn to the USSR Minister of Internal Affairs.

(2) Transfer of E. Kuznetsov and Yu. Fydorov to an investigations prison; transfer of K. Lyubarsky to the punishment barrack (BUR); V. Chalidze’s letter to K. Lyubarsky; the illnesses of V. Moroz, Z. Antonyuk, Ya, Klrantsis; Pimenov’s book One Political Trial published in West Germany; Pimenov obtains a post with the Komi Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences; a search of B. Vail’s home in Tobolsk in connection with the cases of V. Khaustov, E. Kuzin and others; N. Plakhotnyuk sent to the Dnepropetrovsk Special Psychiatric Hospital;

(3) Korzhavin expelled from the USSR Writers’ Union; A. Galich’s emigration papers not accepted; A. Sinyavsky and A Volkonsky leave the USSR; S. Myuge and A. Yakobson obtain permission to emigrate; V. Shneider and E. Vronsky escape to West Germany; P. Siordiya (previously granted asylum in Greece) returns to USSR; V. Yanin escapes to Turkey; L Goldgur jumps Soviet ship, obtains asylum in Israeli Embassy in Tokyo, arrives in Israel. […]

(6) V. Osipov’s letter to the Moscow City Procurator; […]

(11) A. Esenin-Volpin’s letter to The New York Times in defence of P. Grigorenko; V. Chalidze’s letter to A. Mikoyan in defence of G. Superfin; letter from Archbishop Irenei [of ??] to [President] R. Nixon on religious persecution in the USSR; B[ernard] Levin’s article in The Times [London] on psychiatric abuse in the USSR, etc.

The contents of the next issue [No. 4] are announced:

  • USSR Ratifies the Covenants on Human Rights;
  • Campaign against Sakharov continues in the Soviet press;
  • Recent statements by Sakharov;
  • Turchin, Shafarevich, Galich, Maximov, Solzhenitsyn and Chukovskaya speak out in defence of Sakharov;
  • Interrogations in the Superfin Case;
  • Statements by E. Barabanov;
  • Appeal by P. Litvinov and B. Shragin;
  • Tverdokhlebov, Arkhangelsky, Korneyev and Albrekht establish group to study the problems of aid’ to prisoners;
  • Western activities in defence of Sakharov and other Soviet intellectuals.


[2] Eduard Kuznetsov, Diaries (Les Editeurs Réunis, Paris, 1973, 374 pp). The author was one of the principal defendants in the 1970 Leningrad “Aeroplane Case’’ (CCE 17.6).

Cover of Russian edition

The Diaries (Dnevniki) describe the author’s detention in the Leningrad Investigations Prison (October 1970-May 1971) and in the special-regime camp for political prisoners in the Mordovian ASSR (June-November 1971), where he is currently confined. A description of the “Aeroplane Trial’’ is appended to the book. The Diaries also include a number of letters on the trial and the indictment which the author and his fellow-defendants sent to various Soviet and international organizations.

A passage in the preface states:

“For the first time in the history of the Soviet system Western governments (not Just public opinion) intervened directly and the regime retreated. The death sentences were commuted. A week on death row, then a return to the ‘special-regime’ for 15 years. Meanwhile, in accord with the logic of its defeat, the authorities were forced to permit about 50,000 people to leave the USSR — Jews and non-Jews …

“Many of us, indebted to Kuznetsov for our freedom, still experience a great fear. He runs the risk of being sent to Vladimir [Prison] while we cannot bring ourselves to sign our names to the preface of his book. But Edik would be the first to understand this … He takes great pains to avoid mentioning any name, any fact in his diary entries that might compromise someone else.”

An afterword from the publishers observes that Kuznetsov’s Diaries initiate a new series of “first-hand testimonies” on topical problems of the day.

“Written while the tracks are still fresh, these ‘testimonies’ will inevitably bear the marks of subjectivity and strong emotions. … The unifying feature will be their frankness and authenticity. They will come from people whose testimony has been engraved with sacrifice. ‘I believe only those witnesses whose heads were forced to roll,’ said Pascal. It is precisely these circumstances which impart a unique quality to this book, parts of which were lost to us during prison searches.”


[3] Abram Tertz (Andrei Sinyavsky), A Voice from the Chorus (Stenvalley Press, England, 1973).

Notes, reminiscences and thoughts on Russian literature. Written during the author’s confinement in the Mordovian camps from 1966 to 1971. The book consists mainly of Sinyavsky’s letters to his wife.


[4] Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: An experiment in literary investigation, Pts. 1 and 2, 1918-1956 (YMCA Press: Paris, 1973).



[1] Tamizdat: literally ‘‘writings published over there*’, i.e., in the West, in contrast to samizdat published in the USSR.

[2] Kuznetsov is the author of Prison Diary (1973) and Mordovian Marathon (1979). In April 1979, he was released, together with Alexander Ginzburg, Mark Dymshits and the Vins family in exchange for two Soviet spies (CCE 53.1).

[3] Translations into English and French of the first parts of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago began to appear in 1974. He was himself expelled from the USSR in February 1974 (CCE 32.1).