14.6 Portraits of Stalin under Guard

No 14 : 30 June 1970

In Leningrad on 10 April 1970 a portrait of Stalin was torn from a stand opposite the metro-station “Elektrosila”. The portrait was torn down by Volkov, a 35-year-old technician employed at a secret establishment, married with two children.

Volkov was sentenced under Article 206, para. 2, of the Russian Criminal Code ([Malicious] hooliganism) to one year in a strict regime corrective-labour colony. No news has become available about the appeal.

In a similar case, 41-year-old engineer Yezhov has been convicted. He tried to cut a portrait of Stalin from a stand near the public library on the Nevsky Prospect [in Leningrad]. He was taken to the police-station, where he was beaten up and had two ribs broken.

The case (under Article 206, para. 2) was heard by the people’s court of the Kuibyshev district [of Leningrad]. Yezhov explained his action by saying that he adored Stalin and was unable to acquire a portrait of him other than by the method described above. The sentence of the court – eighteen months corrective labour (at his place of work) with payment to the state of 10 % of his monthly wage – was confirmed by the appeal court.

At two o’clock on the morning of April 12 A.N. Zemtsov (born 1948), a fourth-year student at Leningrad State University, “when passing No. 40, Kirov Prospect, inflicted irreparable damage with a bunch of keys on a portrait of J. V. Stalin on a stand dedicated to the 25th anniversary of victory over Germany.” His case (under Article 206, para. 2) was heard on May 6 by the people’s court of the Zhdanov district. The Judge was Pupneva, the prosecutor Debakov, the defence counsel Kheifits. The procurator demanded three years’ imprisonment in a strict-regime colony, “taking into account the particular impudence of the offence” … But the court sentenced Zemtsov to one year’s imprisonment in a strict-regime colony, “taking account of the impeccable testimonials from his place of study and his place of residence, and considering that the accused engaged in extensive social work.” On 28 May the appeal court revised the sentence: one year, suspended for a probationary period of three years.

This report is based on a record of Zemtsov’s trial, which has appeared in samizdat.

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In connection with the Lenin jubilee a photo-panorama was erected on Pushkin Square in Moscow. On one of its stands – “Members of the Petrograd Military-Revolutionary Committee” – there was a portrait of Stalin. This was repeatedly torn down until the whole exhibition was removed.

In the middle of June a granite bust was erected on Stalin’s grave [see 11.15, item] near the Kremlin wall. The sculptor is thought to be N. Tomsky.