13.7 More about Karavansky

No 13 : 30 April 1970

S.I. Karavansky is a native of Odessa, born in 1920. In 1944 he was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for taking part in an underground youth organisation during the German and Rumanian occupation (the slogan of the organisation was “Down with the bloody terror of Hitler and Stalin!”). He survived the camps of Kolyma, Pechora, Taishet, and Mordovia. The amnesty of 1954 led to his term being reduced by half, but he was set free only in I960, having thus served over sixteen years in prison, and spent about five years in captivity “for nothing”.

In the camps Karavansky occupied himself intensively with, literary self-education and wrote poetry. When he became free, he prepared fur publication an extensive “Dictionary of Rhymes in Ukrainian”, which was highly regarded by experts. He had verse and learned articles published on more than, one occasion.

Observing a deep-rooted process of Russification in Ukrainian national culture, Karavansky considered it his duty to speak out against it, and wrote a series of articles on the subject. These articles led to summonses to the KGB and the Procuracy.

In 1965 he wrote a protest against the persecution of the Ukrainian intelligentsia and sent it to the heads of the Polish, Rumanian, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav Communist Parties, requesting them to discuss the problem. In October 1965 he was arrested and sentenced [CCE 11.3].

The motive given for this was that Karavansky was illegally free, as he had not served the sentence given him in 1944 — although according to the law of 1959 the longest sentence possible is fifteen years. (As stated earlier, Karavansky himself had served nearly seventeen years in the camps.)

In 1969, when 25 years had elapsed from the day of Karavansky‘s initial arrest, a lawyer who was invited to draw to the attention of the Supreme Court the illegality of Karavansky’s further detention in prison, refused to do this, referring to the “traditions of legal practice”.

In the same year 1969, new criminal proceedings were instituted against Karavansky, then in Vladimir Prison, under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code (anti-soviet agitation). This time the incriminating evidence was an article on the reconciliation of East and West and a history of the shooting of Polish officers in Katyn Forest in 1940, which he had taken down from statements by persons who had been fellow prisoners with a certain Andreyev (now deceased) and a certain Menshankin, former Soviet citizens who had taken part in the shooting.

On 23 April 1970 a court sentenced Karavansky to five years’ imprisonment. The judge was Kolosov and the Procurator Abramov.

Karavansky has nine and a half years left to serve, his two sentences totalling 30 years.

Just before the latest trial, a letter in Karavansky‘s defence was sent to the President of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, comrade Lyashko, and the Procurator of the Ukraine, comrade Glukhov. It was entitled “‘Cell’ cases once again?” [i.e. cases, often involving stool-pigeons, against people already in prison], and was signed by sixteen former political prisoners, amongst whom were V. Chornovil [Ukrainian, Chernovol], V. Moroz and B. Gorin [Ukrainian, Horyn].