6.3 The case of Ivan Yakhimovich

No 6 : 28 February 1969

In December 1968, the Procuracy of the Latvian Republic sanctioned the conduct of an investigation into material removed during a search at the flat of Ivan Yakhimovich [see 4.5]. Formerly chairman of a collective farm, Yakhimovich is currently working as a stoker at the Belorussia sanatorium in the town of Jurmale.

Yakhimovich is accused under article 183-1 of the Latvian Criminal Code (which corresponds to article 190-1 of the RSFSR Code), but the concrete substance of the charge is not clear. The investigation is being conducted by a Procuracy investigator of the Lenin district of Riga, Kakitis, although Yakhimovich lives and is registered not in Riga, but in Jurmale. The first, and so far the only, interrogation of Yakhimovich took place on 5 February 1969. The investigator was mainly interested in the way in which various documents had been distributed: how had Yakhimovich got hold of P.G. Grigorenko’s article on Nekrich’s book [June 1941]? To whom had Yakhimovich given his [January 1968] letter addressed to Suslov and the Central Committee of the Communist Party [see Chronicle 1.2, individual letters]? Why had Yakhimovich been distributing the appeal of Larissa Bogoraz and Pavel Litvinov “To World Public Opinion”? And so on. The investigator specifically asked Yakhimovich about an unsent letter to Pavel Litvinov that had been written after the demonstration of 25 August 1968, and removed during the search: “In your letter you wrote, ‘I feel pride and admiration and, if I had been in Moscow, I should have been in Red Square with you.’ Do you still think this?” “Yes,” Yakhimovich replied.

It is well known that during the search Yakhimovich’s unfinished study of post-January events in Czechoslovakia was removed. At the end of the interrogation the investigator warned that next time Yakhimovich should give a theoretical analysis of his views on the events in Czechoslovakia. This warning ignores the fact that Yakhimovich, as the accused, is in no way obliged to do anything: to provide an explanation is simply his right; ignoring this, the Riga investigator apparently forgot that neither views nor their theoretical foundation are a matter for criminal prosecution. [The arrest of Ivan Yakhimovich, 7.2.]