9.8 Extrajudicial political persecution

No 9 : 31 August 1969

MOSCOW

Galina Gabai, the wife of Ilya Gabai, is a speech therapist and teacher of literature at the Moscow inter-regional high-school for the deaf and hard of hearing. The Party committee of the Sverdlovsk district of Moscow asked the school administration to deprive Mrs Gabai of her teaching post at the school.

The school director Usachev submitted a report to the pedagogical council, in which he said, among other things, that G.B. Gabai committed political errors in her comments on pupils’ essays:  she called Stalin a criminal, and said nothing about his services to the revolution. Moreover, claimed the director, in her comments G.B. Gabai was calling for bourgeois individualism:  he was referring to a comment which Gabai had written – in answer to a pupil’s argument that society alone should bear the responsibility for the fate of Chekhov’s lonych – about the personal responsibility of every man for his actions. The Director also expressed his dissatisfaction with a speech Gabai had made at a meeting of the pedagogical council.  She had said that teachers ought to write their comments in literary language, and not descend to the speech level of their deaf-mute pupils. They should teach them to speak, in literate, not “deaf-mute” language.

The Director added that Mrs Gabai was an erudite teacher, her comments were abstruse, and the pupils had great difficulty in understanding them, and therefore (?) she should be transferred to junior teaching. A number of teachers at the meeting of the pedagogical council spoke against these proposals, and the resolution was not carried.  The local trade-union committee also opposed the transfer of Mrs Gabai to junior teaching. But the party organisation and the school administration, obedient to a phone-call from the district party committee, passed a resolution transferring Mrs Gabai to teaching the 6th class, which has only six pupils, and the 7th class, which in practice is non-existent. She was not allowed to take the top class, No. 11, through to the end of the school year, and so as to comply with the administration’s decision another teacher lost her duties with the 6th and 7th classes and became partially redundant; this person is due to retire in a year’s time, and a full teaching-load is very important to her as regards her pension.

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Irina Yakir, a student of the evening-course department at the Historical Archives Institute, has been expelled from the Institute for failing to fulfil her study plan, and for conduct unworthy of a Soviet student.  As far as her study plan is concerned, Irina Yakir was in fact ahead of her year. The real reason for her expulsion was her presence on Mayakovsky Square at the time of the Crimean Tatars’ demonstration on 6 June 1969 [see 8.5]. She was only informed of her expulsion a month after the order was issued.

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Lilya Kosior, a director of cultural activity, and daughter of a former General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Stanislav Kosior, has been dismissed “at her own request” from her job at the Taxi-drivers’ club, after the administration had declared her production of Boris Gorbatov’s play: ‘The Youth of our Fathers’ erroneous, and had also discovered from her personal documents that her mother was a Jewess.

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Roy Medvedev, mathematician, historian, and author of a three-volume work on Stalin, has been expelled from the Party “for convictions incompatible with the title of Party member”. His personal dossier was examined by the Lenin district Party committee, no discussion taking place in his local party cell.

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Boris Yefimov is a senior engineer in the Information Department of the Experimental Construction Bureau for power and technological processes in the chemicals industry. The Director of the Bureau, E.I. Shipov, asked Yefimov to apply to be dismissed “at his own request”, and did not hide the fact that he was acting on the instructions of the KGB.  “We cannot keep you here as an employee, because of your political unreliability: after all, we have a duplicating machine in the next room”, he said, referring to an “ERA” machine. Yefimov was threatened with dismissal “because of personnel cuts” if he refused to leave “at his own request”.

LENINGRAD

Dzhemma Kvachevskaya, the sister of Lev Kvachevsky [see 5.2] (convicted under Article 70) and wife of Vladimir Borisov, who was forcibly interned in a psychiatric hospital [see 8.12, item 13], has been deprived of her residence permit for Leningrad. Moreover, the administration of the Leningrad Medical Institute, from which she was expelled for actions “incompatible with the title of Soviet student” – in reality for refusing to repent and to condemn her brother – refuses to give her an academic reference, and because of this, Dzhemma Kvachevskaya is deprived of the opportunity to complete her education.

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Issue 7 of the Chronicle [see 7.12, item 13] reported the expulsion from the party of A. V. Gusev, a senior research officer at the Academy of Sciences Zoological Institute. Several more details of his case have now come to light. The immediate reason for starting a case against him was a letter he sent to L. I. Brezhnev on 26 August 1968, which contained a protest against the occupation of Czechoslovakia. In the opinion of the author of the letter, the decision to invade would damage the prestige of the Soviet Union and the building of a communist society.  Instead of being answered, the letter was forwarded to his local Party cell. During the investigation of his case, an earlier letter Gusev had sent to A. N. Kosygin, L.I. Brezhnev and the paper Komsomolskaya Pravda, about the plundering of the natural resources of Lake Baikal, Keret [on the White Sea – tr.] and other regions of natural beauty, was also held against him.  Gusev indicated here that the irreparable damage caused by these activities was the result of the irresponsible attitude of top official bodies, which were acting with impunity. From Kosygin’s secretariat, and from the editor of Komsomolskaya Pravda, he received cautious but favourable replies; but Brezhnev’s secretariat forwarded the letter to his local party cell for examination.  Yet another letter, concerning matters of state and public life, and: intended for dispatch to A. N Kosygin, was stolen from Gusev ‘s office desk by a commission investigating his case, led by 0.S. Khmelevskaya, an instructor from the Vasilevsky Island district party committee .  Stolen with it were letters of a personal nature, and these too were brought into the case. At an Institute party meeting chaired by 0.A. Skarlato, on 8 December 1968, Gusev was expelled from the Party; forty people voted for his expulsion, eleven against, and there was one abstention. A Communist Party member who knew of Gusev’s letter about Lake Baikal and did not report it has had a case opened against him.