Commentary No 7

No 7 : 30 June 1969

7.1 THE TRIAL OF GOMER BAEV

  1. This probably refers to Nina Senichkina, a researcher at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism attached to the Central Committee of the CPSU, and her article “A fraternal union of free nations”, Kommunist Tadzhikistana, 30 December 1967, p. 2.

7.2 THE ARREST OF IVAN YAKHIMOVICH

In his January 1968 letter to Suslov Yakhimovich condemned the sentencing of “the most energetic, brave and high-principled members of our young generation … Too bad for us if we are not capable of reaching an understanding with these young people. They will create, inevitably they will create, a new party. Ideas cannot be murdered with bullets, prisons and exile.” Moreover, he continued, “I live in the provinces, where for every house with electricity there are ten without, where in winter the buses can’t get through and the mail takes weeks to arrive. If information [on the trials] has reached us on the largest scale you can well imagine what you have done, what sort of seeds you have sown throughout the country. Have the courage to correct the mistakes that have been made before the workers and peasants take a hand in the affair.”

Pyotr Grigorenko described how he got to know Yakhimovich in March 1968 when he came  to Moscow to seek out Pavel Litvinov and Larissa Bogoraz.

“He had heard their appeal ‘To World Public Opinion’ on the foreign radio. This had made an impression on him and he had written, as one communist to another, a comradely letter to Suslov … The latter, as is normal in relations between high party functionaries and ordinary communists, did not answer. However the letter aroused great interest in samizdat circles, began to be passed around quickly, and soon found its way abroad. After it had been broadcast on the foreign radio Yakhimovich was called to the KGB. In the course of a long conversation it was stated to him among other things that Litvinov and Bogoraz had not signed any appeal, that the appeal was a fabrication, an invention of the BBC. To find out who was right – the KGB or the BBC – was why he had come to Moscow.”

7.6 THE MESKHETIAN MOVEMENT

  1. The two references to a Decree of 31 October 1956 were incorrect. They should have referred to two unpublished Decrees of 28 April 1956 and 31 October 1957.

7.9  A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF ANDREI SVERDLOV

Khanna Ganetskaya was the daughter of Yakov Ganetsky, director of the Museum of the Revolution, who was purged and shot in the late 1930s.

Drabkina’s work “The Winter Mountain Pass” (Novy Mir No. 10, 1968) was attacked in Sovetskaya Rossiya 13 July 1969 (UR).

A long transcript of the discussion of Nekrich’s essay appeared in English in Survey, no 63 (1967) and in Vladimir Petrov, Soviet historians and the German invasion (1968) (UR).

Seven months after this article appeared in the Chronicle Andrei Sverdlov was dead. An obituary praising his work in the NKVD and the Institute of Marxism-Leninism appeared in Sovetskaya Rossiya.

7.12     EXTRAJUDICIAL REPRESSION IN 1968-9

The storm which arose in Ukrainian cultural life over the novel The Cathedral by Oles Honchar (Gonchar), the chairman of the Ukrainian SSR Writers’ Union, raged with special ferocity in Dnepropetrovsk, in the south-east of the country.

7.14  ON THE RELIABILITY AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATON PUBLISHED IN THE CHRONICLE

On the crucial question of accuracy the Chronicle‘s record is remarkable. Very few of the names, dates and facts which it prints are of the sort which can be checked by the editors in reference sources before publication, yet their mistakes are few. Moreover, when two copies of a given issue have reached the West the differences between them have not gone beyond points of spelling. So the standards of the typists are high too. (It may of course be that copies reaching the West emanate from sources not far removed from the editors, and for this reason contain few mistakes resulting from retyping).