Bukovsky, 1972: Final Words

Bukovsky was tried and found guilty by the Moscow City Court on 5 January 1972

I will not touch on the juridical side of the indictment, because I have already fully proved to the court its lack of substance. In his speech my lawyer has also proved the complete lack of substance of the indictment, and I agree with him on all the points of his defence. Let me say something else: repressive measures against me have been in preparation for a long while, and I have been aware of this.

On 9 June [1970] I was summoned by Procurator Vankovich and threatened with repression. [78] Then an article appeared in the Pravda newspaper [17 December 1970], under the heading “The Poverty of Anti-Communism”; the prosecutor has quoted it almost in full in her speech. The article accused me, supposedly in return for small handouts, of “selling slanderous information to foreign correspondents in courtyard entrance-ways”. Finally, the journal Political Self-Education (No. 2, 1971) carried an article by [first] deputy-chairman of the KGB, S. Tsvigun, which also stated that I was engaged in anti-Soviet activities. So it is quite understandable that the low-level investigator charged with my case could not go against his boss, and had to try, at whatever cost, to prove my guilt.

Prior to my arrest I was under continuous surveillance. I was harassed, threatened with murder, and one of the men who followed me went so far as to threaten me with his service pistol. When I was already under investigation I petitioned for a criminal case to be initiated against these people. I even indicated the number of the official car in which they had followed me, and provided other facts making it quite possible for them to be found. However, I received no answer to this petition from the bodies to which I had sent it. Instead, my investigator gave the following rather revealing reply: “The behaviour of Bukovsky under investigation gives grounds for ordering an examination of his mental condition”.

The investigation was carried out with innumerable procedural infringements. Not a single article of the Code of Criminal Procedure, one might say, remained uninfringed. The investigators even took such a shameful step as to put an agent in my cell with me, a certain Trofimov. He himself admitted to me that he had been ordered to conduct provocative anti-Soviet conversations with me, the aim being to provoke me into making similar statements. In return he had been promised an early release. As you see, what I have been incriminated with as a crime is permitted to some people, if this is required by “the interests of the case”.

I sent complaints about this behaviour to various bodies. Now I have demanded that the court attach them to the case materials. The court “has been too embarrassed to do this”.

As regards the investigator, instead of examining my complaint and giving me an answer, he sent me for an in-patient medical examination to the Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry.

The investigation department of the KGB’s [Moscow] directorate very much wanted me to be ruled insane. How convenient! There was no case against me, after all, and the prosecution had nothing on which to build, but if such a ruling were made it would be unnecessary to prove any crime had been committed: there would simply be someone who was ill, mad …

And that’s how everything would have gone. There would have been no need for this trial, and I would not have delivered these final words. I would have been sentenced in my absence, —if the intense involvement of public opinion had not had its effect. For after the first period of examination, in mid-September, the medical commission discovered an ominous lack of clarity in the clinical picture it had of me. From the questions posed by the doctors who dealt with me after this, I understood that they were preparing to rule me insane. Only on November 5, after the pressure exerted by public opinion, did a new medical commission rule me healthy. Here is reliable proof of my assertions (which in this court have been termed “slanderous”) that psychiatric repression of dissenters is carried out on the orders of the KGB.

I have yet another proof. In 1966 I was interned in psychiatric hospitals for eight months, without trial or investigation; as different doctors discharged me, I was transferred from one hospital to another.

Anyway, on 5 November 1970 I was ruled sane and was once again locked up in prison. The procedural violations continued. Article 201 of the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure at the end of the investigation, for insstance, was crudely infringed. I demanded a defence lawyer of my choice. The investigator refused and signed Article 2) [without the statutory signature of defence counsel]; he even added in writing that I had refused to acquaint myself with my right to a defence, as provided by Article 48 of the Procedural Code. I demanded that lawyer Dina Isaakovna Kaminskaya be invited to defend me. I made this request to the Chairman of the Moscow Bar [Collegium of Lawyers]. Later I received his refusal in writing.

It contained this statement: Lawyer Kaminskaya cannot be appointed for the defence, as she does not possess a security pass for secret proceedings. I demanded to know what “secret proceedings” can be involved, when I am being tried for anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda? And in any case, where, and in which Soviet laws, is there any mention of this famous “security pass”? Nowhere. So a lawyer was not provided for me. Moreover, the above-mentioned reply from the Collegium of Lawyers, was removed from the case-file and returned to the Collegium of Lawyers, about which there is a note in the case-file. The document was then replaced by another, more innocent reply from the Chairman of the Collegium, which I was not shown. How is this to be evaluated? As official fraudulence, no more or less.

It took my hunger-strike for 12 days; a complaint to the USSR Procurator-General, the USSR Ministry of Justice and the Central Committee of the Communist Party; and a new and active intervention by public opinion, for my legal right to a defence to be, at last, recognized. I was provided with the services of lawyer Shveisky, who had been engaged by my mother. [79]


Today’s trial has also been held with numerous procedural infringements. The indictment uses the word “libellous” 33 times and the word “anti-Soviet” 18 times, yet it does not specify precisely which of the facts I communicated to Western correspondents are “slanderous”, nor precisely which materials among those confiscated from me during a search (and, allegedly, circulated by me) are “anti-Soviet”.

Of the nine petitions I submitted at the beginning of the trial, which were supported by my lawyer, eight were rejected. Not one of the witnesses I requested, who could have refuted various points of the indictment, was summoned by the court.

I am incriminated, in particular, with the handing of anti-Soviet materials to the Fleming Hugo Sebreghts, who had come to Moscow. These materials were, allegedly, handed by me to him in the presence of [Alexander] Volpin and [Valery] Chalidze. However, my demand that these two people be summoned as witnesses was not granted. Nor was even one of the eight people who could have confirmed the truthfulness of my assertions regarding the facts about the internment and living conditions of people in the special psychiatric hospitals summoned to court. [80] The court rejected my petition to summon these witnesses, on the grounds that they are mentally ill people and cannot give evidence. However, among these people there are two, Zinaida M. Grigorenko [wife of Pyotr] and A.A. Fainberg [mother of Victor], who have never been interned in special psychiatric hospitals, and have visited these hospitals only as the relatives of internees: they could have confirmed my evidence about the conditions of imprisonment in these hospitals.

Only those witnesses were summoned to court whom the prosecution asked for. But what sort of witnesses were they? Before my arrest there was sent to me, in all probability by officials of the KGB, a member of the state security forces, presently working in the customs inspection department at Sheremetyevo Airport, my former school comrade, a certain Nikitinsky, who had been instructed to provoke me into a crime  — organizing the import from abroad of equipment for an underground printing-press. But the ill-starred provocateur did not succeed in this. Subsequently the investigators, and now also this court, have tried to turn him into a witness in connection with this charge in the indictment. We have seen here that Nikitinsky failed in this task too.

What were all these provocations and crude procedural infringements necessary for, this stream of slander and of false, unproven charges? Simply in order to punish one person?

No, there is here a “principle”, a sort of philosophy. Behind the stated charges stands another, unstated. In condemning me, the authorities are pursuing the aim of concealing their own crimes—the psychiatric repression of dissenters.

By the repression of myself they wish to frighten those people who try to tell the whole world of their crimes. They do not want “to wash our dirty linen in public, so that they may appear on the world scene as unblemished defenders of the oppressed!

Our society is still sick. It is sick with the fear which has remained with us from the time of Stalinism. But the process of the gaining of spiritual insight by society has already begun, and it is impossible to stop. Society already understands that the criminal is not he who washes our dirty linen in public, but he who dirties the linen. However long I may have to spend in prison, I will never renounce my beliefs. I will express them, exercising the right given to me by Article 125 of the Soviet Constitution, to all who wish to listen to me. I will fight for legality and justice.

And I regret only this: that in the short period—one year, two months and three days—which I have spent in freedom, I succeeded in doing too little to this end.