10.5 Arrests of officers in the Baltic Fleet

No 10 : 31 October 1969

Following inexact and partially contradictory reports of arrests [see 8.14, item], of Baltic Fleet officers  the Chronicle is now publishing accurate information.

In May 1969 the naval officers Gavrilov, Kosyrev and Paramonov were arrested in Paldiski, a town near Tallinn, and in Kaliningrad [on the Baltic coast near Poland]. They are accused of founding a ‘Union to Struggle for Political Rights’, the aim of which was the realization in the USSR of the democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is reported that during searches KGB officials found a printing press intended for the publication of uncensored literature.

The investigation is being conducted by the KGB organs of the Baltic Fleet. The investigators — Captain Bodunov, Major Drach and Colonel Denisenko — are officials of the KGB and the Baltic Fleet Military Procuracy. The Procurator supervising the investigation is Kolesnikov.

The KGB investigation organs are attributing the leading role and the “Open Letter to the Citizens of the Soviet Union”, signed by G. Alexeyev, a pseudonym [see Commentary 5: 5.1], to Gavrilov. As far as can be ascertained, Gavrilov is holding firmly to his principles during investigation. Thanks to the testimony of Kosyrev, the KGB have evidently reached the conclusion that the arrested men have connections with Leningrad, Moscow, Tallinn, Riga, Baku, Perm and Khabarovsk. It appears that Paramonov too is giving the investigators helpful testimony. The investigators are intent on discovering whether the arrested men had any connection with Ilya Gabai, who was arrested in Moscow in May 1969, and also with those citizens who have signed protests against violations of human rights in the USSR. The arrested officers are at present in the KGB prison in Tallinn [Estonia].

The report which appeared in a previous issue of the Chronicle [see 9.1, item 9] about the arrest of a Tallinn engineer, Sergei Soldatov, was erroneous. As it turned out, Soldatov has been forcibly interned in a psychiatric hospital.