9.6 Investigation of the cases of Ilya Gabai and Pyotr Grigorenko

No 9 : 31 August 1969

When Galina Gabai [see 9.8], wife of Ilya Gabai, addressed a complaint to the Procurator-General, protesting not only against the unlawful arrest of her husband, but also against his being sent to Tashkent without the slightest reason—according to the law the investigation should be held in the place where the offence was committed, yet Gabai had never been to Tashkent —she was told in reply that the case had been put under the jurisdiction of the Tashkent Procuracy since the majority of the witnesses were in Tashkent. As for Pyotr Grigorevich Grigorenko, it is clear from the information given in the last issue of the Chronicle that he was decoyed to Tashkent so that he could be arrested there.

But in July the interrogation of witnesses began in Moscow — first by investigators of District Procuracies, on the instructions of the Tashkent Procuracy, and then by investigator B.I. Berezovsky, who came to Moscow for the purpose.

Berezovsky is in charge of the Gabai and Grigorenko cases. So far it is not clear whether they will be treated as one case or two separate ones.

During his visit to Moscow, Berezovsky interrogated a large number of witnesses, thus proving the untruth of his statement that most of the witnesses were in Tashkent.

The witnesses are being questioned about Grigorenko’s and Gabai’s part in the composition of a number of documents which bear their signatures: among the documents listed are the appeal to the Budapest conference [see 1.4]; the appeal ‘To those who work in science, culture and the arts’ written by Kim, Yakir and Gabai; letters supporting the demonstrators [of 25 August 1968], and in defence of Anatoly Marchenko and Ivan Yakhimovich; a letter from citizens of Moscow— which was never sent—in support of the Crimean Tatars; the collection of materials “In Memory of A. E. Kostyorin” [see 5.1, item 12]; and others. Questions are being asked also about the preparation and distribution of particular documents, and especially about what part in their preparation and distribution was played by the witnesses. As far as is known, not one of the witnesses has answered the questions concerning the preparation and distribution of documents, on the grounds that the documents are not libellous, and do not come under Article 190-1, on which the case is based, and therefore their preparation and distribution cannot be a matter for the evidence of witnesses. Replying to Berezovsky’s provocative statements that ‘you keep on saying that you do everything openly’, the witnesses said that the punitive organs were of a different opinion as to the criminality of the documents, and therefore the witnesses could only confirm their signatures, and not reveal information about other persons, which could be used against those persons. All, or nearly all, the witnesses declared that they regarded the arrest of Grigorenko and Gabai, and the investigation of their case, as unlawful actions, and some of the witnesses refused completely to testify for that reason.

Incidentally, these were all witnesses who can be described, if not as friends and like-minded people, then at least as sympathizers with the accused. It is known that Berezovsky has also summoned witnesses of another kind. One of them is a KGB official, the head of the central operations squad, known as ‘Oleg Ivanovich Aleksandrov’. This was the name he gave on an earlier occasion—at the trial of the demonstrators — after he had snatched a letter from a crowd of people outside the courthouse who had not managed to get inside, and the indignant crowd had led him to the police station, where he named himself. People who were at the courthouse for the trials of the demonstrators and of Galanskov and Ginzburg, remember him well, with his black beard: on both occasions it was he who directed the activities of the ‘volunteer police without arm-bands’. And constantly with him there was a man in a black cap, evidently the chief’s right-hand man—he too came in useful for Berezovsky.

Another witness Berezovsky summoned was the ill-famed Alexei Dobrovolsky [see 1.1] who made slanderous statements about Ginzburg and Galanskov at their trial. Since coming out of his camp this January, Dobrovolsky has been living in Uglich [north of Moscow]. Unlike most political prisoners, who for months after their release are unable to obtain residence permits or find work anywhere, Dobrovolsky obtained a permit extremely quickly and is now the head of a technical library, even though his only higher educational qualification is half a year spent at an institute of librarianship. As a rule, political convicts with both higher education and post-graduate experience, e.g. Leonid Rendel [see 1.5, item 3], or even a higher degree, as in the case of Mykhaylo Osadchy [see 7.4, item 7], can only expect to be offered jobs of the most unskilled variety, and certainly not work with books and people. It is known that soon after his arrival Dobrovolsky was already claiming that he would soon be given a residence permit for Moscow. Perhaps his latest perjury will help him with this too.

At the present time, witnesses are still being summoned to investigators of the Moscow Procuracy in connection with the Grigorenko and Gabai case. Most of them are being seen by investigator Obraztsov.

Galina Gabai, who travelled to Tashkent in July and was received extremely rudely by Berezovsky, was later summoned as a witness in Moscow. Now she has written a short essay, ‘Two Meetings with Berezovsky’, which has appeared in samizdat.