7.4 Political prisoners and exiles

No 7 : 30 April 1969

[1]

After prolonged discussions a proposed hunger strike in  Camp 17 of the Mordovian complex did not take place as the camp authorities made concessions : the illegal decision, depriving Valery Ronkin of a visit, was withdrawn.

[2]

At the beginning of April 1968 Valentin Moroz was sent back to Vladimir Prison, having  spent over a year in solitary confinement in an interrogation cell, at the headquarters of the Ukrainian  KGB after he had been accused of compiling the [1967] letter, “A Report from the Beria Reservation”, which was sent to the Ukrainian Republic Supreme Soviet. It is definitely known that Moroz took no part in the investigation and gave no evidence. Probably the investigation was closed because the authorship of Moroz could, not be proved. Valentin Moroz still has four months of his sentence left; he should be released on 1 September.

[3]

Svyatoslav Karavansky, sentenced in to 25 years for his role in a Ukrainian nationalist organization during the Rumanian occupation of Odessa, is being held at Vladimir Prison. He was amnestied in I960, but was made to serve the remaining part of his 25-year sentence in 1965 after writing an article on the subject of national discrimination against university entrants: the USSR Procurator General Rudenko, protested the application of the amnesty in his case.

Karavansky was transferred from camp eleven of the Mordovian complex to the Vladimir Prison at the same time as Valentin Moroz, Mikhail Horyn and Mikhail Masyutko for a period of three years in the summer of 1967, on account of the complaints he had sent to official bodies and for reading material on the situation in the Ukraine.  t the trial, when the question of altering his type of regime was to be decided Karavansky demanded an interpreter. Trials inside a camp are always held without defence lawyers, the accused having no right to a defence; but at the same time, strange as it may seem, cases have been known when a sentence was revoked because an interpreter was not present at the trial.  In answer to Karavansky’s demand, Judge Ravenkova said:  “Give him a damned Ukrainian!” Karavansky objected to being tried by such a judge. The prosecutor looked surprised and said:  “That was a slip of the tongue.” His objection was not accepted.

The prison regime at Vladimir includes many more restrictions than a labour camp regime. Only letters from immediate relatives are accepted, letters in Ukrainian are  sent for translation beforehand, parcels of books are banned, a prisoner’s relatives have a right to only two half-hour visits a year, and  everyone has to speak Russian during visits.

But even in these severe conditions, where every privation can be felt all the more keenly, Karavansky found the strength to stage a political protest. At the end of October 1968, he went on a hunger-strike, demanding the resignation of the government for their mistaken domestic and foreign policies. His hunger-strike lasted 28 days. The circumstances surrounding the termination of his hunger-strike are unknown. For his hunger-strike Karavansky was given 15 days and nights in the punishment cell.

[4]

In the spring of 1969 Ekaterina Zaretskaya, Odarka Gusak and Galina Didek, after 20 years in the Vladimir Prison, were sent to a strict-regime labour camp to serve the rest of their 25-year term. All of them took part in a post-war, anti-Stalin partisan organization in Western Ukraine and organized the underground Red Cross. Their address is:  Mordovian ASSR, Yavas post office, postbox ZhKh 385/6. Yekaterina Zaretskaya was first in prison in Poland at the end of the 1930s for her part in an attempt on the life of the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs by a group of Ukrainian nationalists. Zaretskaya’s husband, Mikhail Soroka, is in Camp 17 of the same Mordovian complex of strict regime camps – the same address but postbox ZhKh 385/17a.

[5]

At the end of 1968 the following were released from the Mordovian strict regime camps after serving their sentence:

Ivan Gel from Lvov, sentenced under Article 62 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Code [equivalent to Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code] to 3 years for distributing Ukrainian samizdat works; after his return he was not given permission to live in Lvov, he was not re-instated at Lvov University, from where in his last year he had been expelled after his arrest.

Bogdan Horyn from Lvov, an art critic, who worked in the Museum of Ukrainian Art before his arrest, was sentenced under Article 62 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Code to 3 years for distributing Ukrainian samizdat works; after his return he was not allowed to live in Lvov, and he now works as a carpenter on a building-site in the Lvov Region.

Boris Zdorovets, a Baptist from the Donbass, who spent 7 years in a labour camp, has been exiled for 5 years to Krasnoyarsk Region [Siberia]; at his place of exile the police are carrying out “educative” work on him, demanding that he publicly renounce his religion.

Strutinsky from Lvov Region, sentenced under Article 56 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 64 of the Russian SFSR Criminal Code, “Treason”) to 1O years.

Miroslava Tershivskaya from Drogobych, sentenced to 3 years under Article 62 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Code for preparing and distributing handwritten leaflets with her husband, Diky; after the camp she has now been exiled for 3 years to Krasnoyarsk Region; her husband is in Camp 11 of the Mordovian complex, having been sentenced to 5 years in a camp and 3 years of exile.

Anatoly Futman, sentenced under Article 70 of the Russian SFSR Criminal Code; he received this political sentences while serving a term in a camp for ordinary criminals; now, after his release, he has been placed under surveillance.

[6]

On 3 February 1969 the journalist Vyacheslav Chornovil was released; in 1967 he was sentenced under Article l87-1 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Code [equivalent to Article 190-1 of the Russian SFSR Criminal Code] and served his sentence in a camp of ordinary regime. Two months before the end of his term he was put into solitary confinement in a cell of the Lvov KGB; he was then presented with a warrant by Samayev, the Ukrainian Republic deputy procurator, for the investigation of new circumstances surrounding his case.

This investigation was begun after Chornovil’s collection of documents on the 1965-1966 repressions against the Ukrainian intelligentsia, Woe from Wit, had been published abroad. Chornovil had already been sentenced for compiling this collection, but nevertheless he was not threatened with being recharged according to Article 62 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Code and given a longer sentence. Chornovil boycotted the investigation, calling it illegal. Before the end of his term of imprisonment the “investigation” was closed.

One of the issues of the Chronicle [see 5.4 “News in brief” item 2], giving information of Vyacheslav Chornovil’s hunger-strike in his labour camp, made a mistake over the length of time it lasted. In actual fact Chornovil kept up his hunger-strike from 29 May to 16 July 1968.

[7]

Mikhail Osadchy, a man with a higher degree in literature, a teacher at Lvov University, a poet who has published a book, and an instructor of the Lvov Region Party committee, was sentenced in 1965 under Article 62 of the Ukrainian SSR Criminal Code for distributing Ukrainian samizdat works; in 1967 he was released after serving his sentence, but until recently he was unable to obtain either a residence permit or work; he was detained for “breaking passport regulations” – he was in fact detained at his own home in Lvov, among his family; finally, he was able recently to obtain a residence permit for the Lvov Region and is now a worker in the Lvov workshop for the deaf and dumb.

[8]

Between the end of March and the beginning of April, illegal, secret searches were carried out during their absence in the rooms of Larissa Daniel [Bogoraz] and Pavel Litvinov, in Chuna [Irkutsk Region] and Verkhnie Usugli [Komi ASSR], respectively, the places where they are exiled.