6.8 Samizdat update

No 6 : 28 February 1969

1. Roy Medvedev, Before the Court of History

This book has long been known to a narrow circle but has only begun to circulate widely in samizdat. It is a three-volume study of the life and personality of J.V. Stalin, his administration and his crimes.

2. “Svetlana Stalin and her Twenty letters to a friend

In analysing Svetlana Alliluyeva’s book, the anonymous author [Roy Medvedev, see 7.11, item 6] charges her with insincerity, and with an attempt to justify Stalin and shift the blame onto Beria and the commander of Stalin’s guard, General Vlasik.

3. Pyotr Yakir: “A Letter to the Party Central Committee and the Editors of the Journal Kommunist

The letter was prompted by the publication in Nos. 2 and 3 of Kommunist of an article of apologetics on J. V. Stalin. The writer of the letter enumerates the crimes of Stalin in accordance with the current Criminal Code, citing a large number of little-known facts, such as the list of women shot as wives of ‘enemies of the people’, and a list of twenty-two Heroes of the Soviet Union, mainly pilots, heroes of the fighting in Spain, who were shot without trial in October 1941.

These same articles also provoked a letter from Leonid Petrovsky, the historian and grandson of G. I. Petrovsky, who lost his father during the era of the Stalinist repressions.

4. The Trial of Four

A collection of materials about the case of Galanskov, Ginzburg, Dobrovolsky and Lashkova, compiled and supplied with a commentary by Pavel Litvinov. This book, finished by Litvinov literally on the eve of his arrest, contains the fullest possible collection of documents linked to the trial: a record of the proceedings and the appeal hearing; collective and individual letters, written before and after the trial; Soviet press materials, and letters to the press, about the trial.

5. Valentin Turchin, “The inertia of fear”

A philosophical examination of issues concerning contemporary [Soviet] society.

6. “State and Socialism”

A Marxist analysis of our State. A work by student historians from Gorky, who were mentioned in the previous issue in the section about acts of extra-judicial repression [see 5.3, Nos 128-136].

7. Yekaterina Olitskaya, My memoirs

The reminiscences of a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party about her first arrest in 1924 and long years spent in the camps of Solovki [Northwest Russia] and Kolyma [Soviet Far East].

8 A.S. Volpin, “A legal memorandum for those faced with interrogation”

Anyone may be faced with interrogation – sometimes it is enough for one’s telephone number to be found in a notebook removed during a search. However, few people know either their rights or the limits to the rights of the investigator conducting the interrogation. Volpin’s “memorandum”, although written in the author’s characteristic and complex style, contains a great deal of legal information which is indispensable to anyone under interrogation who wishes to avoid either a possible violation of legality or becoming an unknown accomplice to such a violation.