7.3 The arrest of Victor Kuznetsov

No 7 : 30 April 1969

On 20 March 1969 Victor Kuznetsov was arrested in the town of Pushkino (Moscow Region).

Kuznetsov is 33 years old. His father was imprisoned [under Stalin] and perished; his mother works as a shop-assistant, his wife as a laboratory assistant; and they have two children, aged five and eight. In I960 Kuznetsov completed a course in graphic arts at the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute. Then until 1966 he worked in the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences.

In March 1965, Kuznetsov spoke during a debate on “Cynicism in social life” at Moscow University; the debate was tape-recorded. After the debate KGB collaborators grabbed Kuznetsov in the street and illegally searched him, whilst the papers found on him were handed over to the KGB; after this he was summoned several times to the KGB and at work an explanation was demanded.

In October 1966 Victor Kuznetsov spoke at a conference of the International Student discussion club, “Time and Thought”, in the House of Friendship. “The problem of freedom in the modern world” was the subject of discussion. Kuznetsov only managed to recount the consequences of his last speech; by closing the debate the organizers prevented him from finishing what he had to say on the subject. After this speech he was forcibly put in a mental hospital for investigation and spent two months there. After his return from hospital he worked as a design engineer at the experimental factory in Sofrino [Moscow Region], as a painter and decorator for the management of the Yaroslavskaya railway, and more recently he was commissioned by “Intourist” and “Sovexport” to do some drawings.

Kuznetsov possessed a wide-ranging collection of samizdat works.

On 20 March this year a search of his flat was carried out on the basis of a warrant signed by the chief investigator of the Ukrainian KGB, Captain Kolchik, the investigator in the Valentin Moroz affair. During the search a letter (“A Report from the Beria Reserve”) was confiscated, and works by Sinyavsky, Daniel and others. After the search Kuznetsov was arrested. The next day a search was carried out at Kuznetsov’s neighbours. Victor Kuznetsov’s wife and friends were summoned to the KGB for questioning, but no reasons for his arrest were divulged. The basic questions put by the investigator concerned the distribution of samizdat works.

On 21 March a search, connected with the Kuznetsov affair, was carried out at his friend Boris Yefimov’s flat. The following were confiscated: sixteen copies of Yefimov’s project for a new constitution of the USSR; a letter with 86 signatures, sent to the Supreme Soviet with the demand that the [United Nations] Pacts and the Declaration of Human Rights  be ratified more quickly; a statement signed by eight people concerning the establishment of a Society for the Defence of the Pacts and the Declaration of Human Rights; V. Turchin’s work “The Inertia of Fear” and a whole trunk of works whose description was not recorded.