An unpublished decree, December 1972 (30.13)

<<No 30 : 31 December 1973>>

On 25 December 1972 the presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet passed decree No. 1707 (or 7707 — accounts vary) on measures to prevent the commission of crimes. One of the preventive measures stipulated by the decree is the giving of a warning [preduprezhedenie] by state security personnel to people whose activities are verging on the criminal. (In the text, the term used may be “a restraining order” [predosterezhenie].)

When a warning has been given, the procuracy is informed. If a person who receives such a warning commits a crime, the record of the warning becomes part of the case material. KGB personnel are empowered to apprehend people who are subject to a warning but fail to respond to a summons. To date, this decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet has not been published in the publications available to citizens [note 1].

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On 14 August 1973 Ernst Semyonovich ORLOVSKY [note 2] was given a warning by Captain Khukharev of the KGB Directorate for the Leningrad Region. Another man was present, who refused to give his name.

The record of the warning stated that Orlovsky had had in his possession documents banned from circulation in the USSR, which were confiscated during a search of his flat on 15 January 1972 in connection with criminal Case No. 24 against P. I. Yakir. These documents contained slanderous fabrications selected and masked so as to resemble the truth and thereby mislead public opinion and cast aspersions on the Soviet system. Moreover, a forensic examination had established that L. Kolakowski’s libellous work “1 Will Tell You What Socialism Is”, confiscated from the arrested Yu. A. Shikhanovich (see CCE 27.2 and this issue), had been printed on a typewriter belonging to Orlovsky. In accordance with the decree, citizen Orlovsky was warned that if he persisted in such activities, which jeopardized the state security of the USSR, he might easily slide into the commission of a crime.

In that case, Captain Khukharev stated, the record of the warning would be attached to the case materials and would be considered an aggravating circumstance.

Having read the record and signed it, Orlovsky appended to it the following protest:

  • The record referred to a decree which had not been published according to the established procedure, and his request to read the text of it had been refused.
  • The record contained an evaluation of documents confiscated during a search but failed to provide any grounds for that evaluation or, for that matter, indicate the specific documents to which it applied.
  • There was no basis for terming L. Kolakowski’s work libellous.
  • His [Orlovsky’s] request to be informed about which agency had evaluated the documents and about the procedure through which to contest those evaluations had been refused.
  • His request to be informed on the procedure for protesting against the record’s assertions that his activities jeopardized the state security of the USSR had been refused.

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On 18 October 1973 Irina Yakir was summoned to a KGB reception room for a talk with Lieutenant Colonel G. V. Kislykh (P. Yakir’s investigator) and Colonel Buranov.

The latter asked her to read and sign an official warning which listed all her activities that verged on the criminal, namely: signing various letters of protest, possessing and circulating various anti-Soviet materials, helping to collect materials for A Chronicle of Current Events, contacting Western correspondents and transmitting information to the West.

Irina Yakir (1948-1999) with Yuly Kim (b. 1936)

Irina Yakir was allowed to read the text of the decree, which lay in a folder labelled “secret”. She signed the record of the warning but did not accede to the request that she write a statement agreeing to “desist from her activity”.

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In response to a summons from the KGB Malva Noyevna LANDA reported to the offices of the Lyublino district Party committee (in Moscow) on 18 December 1973. There, in the presence of an unnamed person, KGB officer Kovalyov showed her the record of a warning.

It had been drawn up on the grounds that “libellous documents” typed on her typewriter: The Technology of Power by Avtorkhanov, an article by V. Moroz (CCE 17.2 and 21), and certain other materials had been confiscated during searches of the flats of Landa herself, Kosovsky (Leningrad), Rubin (Moscow) and others. Other documents cited were those Landa herself had written: “Crime and Punishment” (on the trial of L. Plyushch), and an open letter about Bukovsky. These had been published in the West.

When Landa asked where the decree was published, in accordance with which the warning had been issued, the KGB officer stated that he did not know. Landa noted on the record that she did not regard the documents and materials it listed as libellous.

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On 18 December 1973, the record of a warning was shown to Yuly Chersanovich KIM. The record listed dubious actions of Kim’s that “verged on criminal activity”:

1) systematic preparation of A Chronicle of Current Events;

2) meetings with foreign correspondents in order to transmit libellous anti-Soviet materials;

3) singing anti-Soviet songs in private homes and giving public performances of them in several towns;

4) knowledge of his wife Irina Yakir’s, anti-Soviet activity.

It is known that warnings were presented also to Irina Kristi, Alexander Feldman (Kiev) and Anatoly Marchenko.

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NOTES

[1] The decree was never published. A draft text was sent to the Politburo for approval in early November that year — 16 November 1972, Pb 67/XVIII — with a supporting letter from the KGB and the USSR Procurator-General. (The number of the decree was 3707/XVIII.)

[1] About Orlovsky see CCE 16; CCE 24.2; CCE 28 and his letter of 17 September 1973 to the Literary Gazette about Amnesty International.