8.9 Anatoly Marchenko again under investigation

No 8 : 30 June 1969

The fate of Anatoly Marchenko, author of the book My Testimony, is well-known to readers of the Chronicle. On 21 August 1968 he was sentenced to one year in a strict-regime camp, for “infringing the identity card regulations” [see 3.1, item 1]. The statement made by Marchenko’s friends, that the charge against him was trumped up, was borne out at every step of the legal proceedings. As additional proof mention may be made of how the People’s Assessors were “instructed”. They were told that they were dealing with a criminal so cunning and insidious that he had not broken the law, and that this article of the Criminal Code was the only way of getting him into jail.

Anatoly Marchenko is a very sick man.  In the camps of Mordovia he had meningitis and became deaf. After he came out, he had a trepanning operation on the skull. He also suffered from heavy internal bleeding in the stomach, and a dangerously high loss of haemoglobin, and was saved only by a series of blood transfusions. The court had access to Marchenko’s medical reports. But despite this, they sent him to a camp in the extreme north of the Perm Region, with a severe climate. In the camp Marchenko worked in a construction gang. In April 1969 he was put in the punishment cell for 15 days for refusing to work in a basement without the protective clothing authorized for that particular job.

Marchenko’s term of imprisonment ended on 29 July, but in May the Perm Region Procurator’s Office instituted new proceedings against him under article 190 of the RSFSR Criminal Code. Marchenko was transferred to Solikamsk Prison. By his book, in which he tells the truth about life in the prisons and camps for political prisoners, he aroused a personal hatred for himself in the KGB and the Ministry of the Interior, and it cannot be excluded that the persons who ordered these new proceedings to be instituted are intent on physically destroying Marchenko. Three years in a strict regime camp for a man in Marchenko’s condition could kill him.