7.10 Activities surrounding A.Ye. Kostyorin’s family

Issue 7 : 30 April 1969

Members of the KGB have paid a great deal of “attention” to Vera Ivanovna Kostyorina, the author’s widow, since her husband’s death [see 5.1, item 12]. They keep ringing her up, asking about her health, visiting her at home and inviting her to come and see them – at the KGB.

Only a little is known about the details of their conversations: under pressure from her new friends, V.I. Kostyorina has signed some sort of statement against her husband’s friends; she is undertaking certain actions to enable the KGB not to return to P.G. Grigorenko copies of A.Ye. Kostyorin’s works, given to him by the author during his life and confiscated during a search; Vera Ivanovna has believed them and now herself tells her friends that Grigorenko sent half of Kostyorin’s work abroad. The most important thing with which the KGB officials want to help her is the careful compilation of an archive of the late writer.  It is to be feared that A.Ye. Kostyorin’s literary work, covering many years, will fall into the hands of the organisation which he most hated.

Simultaneously the KGB busied itself with the “education” of Kostyorin’s grandson, Alexei [Alyosha] Smirnov, a student at the Mining Institute. On 31 March and I April this year, members of the KGB twice interviewed Alyosha’s father – a man who has never taken an interest in the upbringing of his son and who has never once seen him over the past two years. At the first interview he was told that his son was mixed up with the “fanatical anti-Soviet person” Grigorenko, and that both of them would soon be arrested. Even if they were not arrested his son would be expelled from the Institute.  The following day they changed their tactics: Grigorenko would not be arrested but would be left as a “bait for young people” – a note would be made of all those who came to see him; and Alyosha’s father, in league with the KGB, could save Alyosha from this fate.

They interviewed Alexei Smirnov himself on 2 April this year at the Institute’s personnel section. Two members of the KGB, calling themselves Vladimir Ivanovich Volodin and Alexei Mikhailovich, interviewed him in what was in essence an illegal interrogation: they questioned him about all his friends and acquaintances, clarified his political convictions, gave him slanderous information about A. E. Kostyorin’s friends. They finally demanded that he cease all “contact with Grigorenko” – with whom, by the way, he is only very slightly acquainted.