7.2 The arrest of Ivan Yakhimovich

No 7 : 30 April 1969

Ivan Yakhimovich was arrested on 24 March 1969 in the town of Jurmale in the Latvian SSR.

Ivan Yakhimovich is 38 and was born into a family of Polish workers. He completed a course in the faculty of history and philology of the Latvian State University. After university he worked as a teacher and inspector of a district education department. In 1960 he went to work as the chairman of the “Young Guard” collective farm in the Kraslavsky district. Whilst working on the collective farm he enrolled as an external student at the agricultural academy. A few years ago the paper Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote about Ivan Yakhimovich in ecstatic terms. [30 October 1964, pp. 1-2.]

In January 1968 Yakhimovich wrote a letter [Commentary 7] to the Central Committee of the CPSU, addressed to M. A. Suslov, protesting against the trial of Yury Galanskov, Alexander Ginzburg and others.  In March 1968 Yakhimovich was expelled from the Party. In May 1968, in violation of the statute on agricultural cooperatives, he was dismissed as chairman of the collective farm by higher organs without a collective farm meeting being held. More recently he worked as a stoker at the “Belorussia” sanatorium in Jurmale.

Issues 4 and 6 of the Chronicle contained information on the search carried out in September in Yakhimovich’s flat [see 4.5], and on the opening of the investigation against him [see 6.3]. On three occasions, on 5 February, 19 and 24 March this year, Yakhimovich was called for questioning by the investigator of the Riga procurator’s office, E. Kakitis. After the third interrogation he was arrested. Before his arrest Ivan Yakhimovich wrote an open letter, “Instead of a Final Speech”. In the letter he spoke about himself, and about the investigation based on negative character reports and on false evidence; then he appealed to a number of his friends, to some public figures, to the workers and peasants, to Latvians and Poles, to communists from all countries, not to reconcile themselves to injustice. The completion of the investigation in the Yakhimovich case is expected in the middle of May.

The family of Ivan Yakhimovich consists of his wife Irina and their three daughters aged 5, 6 and 7. Irina completed a course at the faculty of history and philology, and for a long time worked as a school teacher: she is now forced to work as a nanny in a kindergarten. People recount how during the search, before Yakhimovich’s arrest, his three daughters stood in the garden below the window and sang the “International”.

A group of Yakhimovich’s friends have written a letter protesting about his illegal persecution. Together with the letters written either by Ivan Yakhimovich himself or in collaboration with like-minded friends, this protest letter is included in the collection of material which has been circulated in samizdat.