10.6 Arrests and persecution in Gorky

No 10 : 31 October 1969

This summer [1969] the following were arrested in Gorky: S. Ponomaryov, a graduate of the faculty of history and philology at Gorky University, and a contributor to the factory newspaper Motor of the Revolution; and Zhiltsov and M. Kapranov, fifth-year students of the faculty of history and philology. In October Vladlen Pavlenkov, a teacher at a technical college, was arrested. The reason for their arrest was the circulation of samizdat literature [see 5.3, Nos 128-136]. V. Pavlenkov’s wife, a teacher of foreign languages at the university, has been dismissed from her post.

V. Selin, a lecturer at the Polytechnic Institute on the history of the Soviet Communist Party, has been dismissed from his post and expelled from the Party  for possessing A.I. Solzhenitsyn’s novel Cancer Ward. His wife has also been dismissed from her job.

In 1968 a number of university students studying under Professor V.V. Pugachyov, a Doctor of Historical Science, were arrested or subjected to interrogations by the KGB. When it was found that they were behaving honourably at the interrogations, that they were aware of their rights and refused to be intimidated or to cooperate with the investigators, the KGB began demanding that they name “the man who taught them” to behave in this way. Some of the students gave the name of Pugachyov. After this, Professor Pugachyov was put under pressure by Party and administrative organs and was forced to leave the university where he had worked for many years.

Since the latest wave of arrests, an atmosphere of panic has overtaken the city of Gorky; it is particularly manifest in officials’ fear of any sort of publicity.