12.2 The trial of P.G. Grigorenko

No 12 : 28 February 1970

At the very end of the investigation into charges under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code further charges were added, under Articles 191-4 of the Uzbek Criminal Code and 70 of the Russian Code. Grigorenko’s defence counsel, S. V. Kalistratova, learned this only at the trial, which opened on 3 February 1970.

Before the trial both P. G. Grigorenko’s defence counsel and his wife were refused permission to visit him. The chairman of the court Romanova rejected the requests of the defence that Grigorenko be called to court, that the trial be transferred to Moscow and that a third forensic psychiatric team be nominated. Zinaida Mikhailovna Grigorenko was informed that she could represent her husband at the trial and that she was permitted to familiarise herself with the documents of the case. (The following day it transpired that Z. M. Grigorenko was not permitted to familiarise herself with the case without a lawyer, and as S. V. Kalistratova had to return to Moscow, Z. M. Grigorenko had only a few hours on February 4 to acquaint herself with her husband’s case (21 volumes, 6000 pages). The trial was postponed “until the experts were in better health”: Morozov and Lunts had been called but had not appeared in court. (Furthermore, for reasons unknown, 22 witnesses and 25 persons summoned before the court failed to appear.)

On 26 February 1970 the court reassembled.The chairman of the court was Romanova. The Procurator was Mordovin. The defence counsel was Kalistratova.

There were five witnesses: N. G. Grigorenko – P. G. Grigorenko’s sister, an engineer from Tashkent; Dilshat Ilyasov – a doctor from Tashkent; Pichugin, Beitagorov, Nikolayev – all three from Moscow. The medical experts were Lunts (Moscow commission), Detengof (Tashkent commission).

When N.G. Grigorenko was asked which, in her opinion, her brother was – out of his mind or anti-Soviet – she replied that he was neither. D. Ilyasov stated that he considered P.G. Grigorenko perfectly normal and spoke favourably of his character.

At the preliminary investigation Nikolayev had testified that he had seen P.G. Grigorenko once – in Moscow, at the court house where in October 1968 the case of the demonstrators of 25 August 1968 was heard, and at that time Grigorenko gave him the impression of being normal. However, in court Nikolayev stated that Grigorenko had given him the impression of not being normal.

Beitagorov, who also saw Grigorenko once – at the same place as Nikolayev – stated that Grigorenko had made anti-Soviet speeches outside the court.

Pichugin testified that while walking in the vicinity of the Moscow crematorium on 14 November 1968, he happened to look in and heard Grigorenko making an anti-Soviet speech at the funeral of A. Ye. Kostyorin.

Professor Detengof stated that he retracted his original opinion that P.G. Grigorenko was of sound mind, that he considered the findings of the Tashkent diagnosis team, which he had signed, to be incorrect, and that he fully endorsed the opinion of Professor Lunts that Grigorenko was in fact of unsound mind. (After the first diagnosis Detengof had naturally not had Grigorenko under his observation.)

The request of the defence that at least one more of the experts who had signed the original diagnosis should be summoned, was rejected (and so the findings of the Tashkent diagnostic team were not even formally invalidated).

On 27 February the court reached its conclusion (a sentence is passed only on those of sound mind) in the case of P.G. Grigorenko. It declared that he was guilty of crimes under part one of Article 70 and Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code and Article 191-1 of the Uzbek SSR Code, committed while of unsound mind; it decreed that P.G. Grigorenko be exempted from criminal punishment and placed in a psychiatric hospital of a special type in Kazan until his recovery.

The defence counsel Kalistratova lodged an appeal.

Z. M. Grigorenko wrote an open letter which ends with the words:

“People! Death threatens Pyotr Grigorevich Grigorenko! I appeal to all democratic organisations which defend the rights of man, and to all freedom-loving citizens of the world! Help me to save my husband! The freedom of each is the freedom of all!”