15.10 News in Brief

No 15 : 31 August 1970

[1]

Pyotr Grigoryevich Grigorenko is still being held (see Chronicle 14.2) in the Psychiatric Hospital in Chernyakhovsk [Kaliningrad Region].

On 3 July his wife Z.M. Grigorenko, his son Andrei and his son’s fiancée travelled there to visit him. The head of the hospital, Major Belokopytov, refused to allow the visit without giving any reason, although Dr. Bobylev had no objection to the visit on the grounds of Pyotr Grigoryevich’s health. To a request for at least a five-minute visit, so that the young couple could receive a parental blessing, Major Belokopytov replied: “Don’t beg. At work I have no feelings, just orders.” To Z.M. Grigorenko’s remark that the journey had been costly, the major said: “That’s not the way I’ll bankrupt [razoryu] you. And I’ll teach you how to live [kak zhit],” A parcel was accepted only the next day.

On 8 August Andrei Grigorenko and his wife again went to see his father. Permission was given for two one-hour meetings. To their request for a meeting on the third day, as is normal for visitors who have travelled a long way, Major Belokopytov said: “That’s enough. Otherwise you’ll have too much.”

P.G. Grigorenko is alone in his ward. He is deprived of paper and pencil.

[2]

Larissa Bogoraz [wife of Yu. Daniel] has been told at the district office (Chuna, Irkutsk Region [///eastern Siberia]) that although the organs of surveillance have no claims against her, she cannot be nominated for release on parole since she has not changed her views on the sending of troops into Czechoslovakia, and since she refused to take part in the June elections to the Supreme Soviet. It was suggested to her that she should write a statement that her views were mistaken, and that this would serve as grounds for her release.

A Master of Philological Sciences, Bogoraz is working as a scaffolding hand (loader). She has been told by the police that there can be no question of any other work, let alone work in her speciality.

[3]

On 28 July American television showed a 65-minute film in which Bill Cole, correspondent of a US television company [CBS], interviewed Amalrik, V. Bukovsky and P. Yakir. The programme also included a tape-recording of Alexander Ginzburg describing conditions in the camps, which had itself been brought out of a camp.

A. Amalrik talks in his interview about the prospects for the development of the Soviet State. V. Bukovsky describes conditions in present-day camps and psychiatric institutions of special type. P. Yakir describes the positive features of democratisation in our country, and the fight on its behalf.

[4]

It has become known that A. Amalrik, who was arrested in May of this year (see Chronicle 14.1), will be tried together with L. G. Ubozhko (see Chronicle 13.10 (2)), whom he does not know. When Ubozhko was arrested, Amalrik’s “Open Letter to Kuznetsov” was confiscated from him.

[5]

On the day A. Amalrik was arrested, 21 May 1970, searches of a number of Moscow flats were carried out. In particular, officers of the Kuibyshev district Procuracy and of the Ministry of Internal Affairs carried out a search of Yu. M. Vilansky’s flat. At the beginning of June Vilansky was questioned as a witness on the premises of the Procuracy of the Russian Federation. The questioning was conducted by I. Kirinkin and Kalyazin.

[6]

V. Dremlyuga has now been in his new camp at Lensk (Yakutia [Soviet Far East]) for about eight months. During that time only two letters have been received from him, and he has received only one parcel. It has been learned that the camp administration is biased against him: he has been repeatedly deprived of correspondence and placed for no reason in solitary confinement. At the end of July 1970 V. Dremlyuga declared a hunger strike, the result of which is unknown. His physical condition is poor. The camp administration does not reply to the inquiries of [Dremlyuga’s] defence counsel, who wished to travel to see his client in order to draw up a complaint for review [by the Supreme Court] (two telegrams have been sent).

[7]

At the beginning of this year Suslonsky, a school-teacher of language, was arrested in Kishinyov [Moldavia], He is accused under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. The charges concern tape-recordings of BBC broadcasts (about Solzhenitsyn) and the circulation of samizdat literature. The principal item of evidence is a diary which Suslonsky gave two or three witnesses to read.

[8]

On 3 July 1970 a search in connection with an unknown case was carried out at the flat of V. Krasin, who was exiled from Moscow to [Makovskoye village in] the Krasnoyarsk Region “for parasitism” (see Chronicle 11.8). The search warrant was signed by senior investigator of the Moscow City Procuracy L. S. Akimova. The warrant was dated 30 March.

To Krasin’s question: “What is this about?” and “Why is the warrant dated 30 March?” the men carrying out the search (plain-clothes men and a lieutenant who was a deputy-commandant from the town of Yeniseisk) replied: “We don’t know ourselves, we get our instructions and carry them out”, “The warrant took a long time to get here, so we’ve come to you today.”

During the search P. G. Grigorenko’s notes from Tashkent prison [see 12.1] were confiscated, as well as Krasin’s draft works on the Stalin camps and on the civil rights movement in the USSR, and notes on current events in the USSR and in Czechoslovakia.

Krasin protested at the confiscation of his personal drafts, on the grounds that the confiscated items had nothing to do with the case in connection with which the search was being carried out. The men replied: “We don’t know, they’ll sort it all out.” Krasin entered his protest in the record.

After the search Krasin was questioned. He was asked whether he knew Gorbanevskaya, B.I. Tsukerman and A. Amalrik. Krasin answered all the questions by saying: “I refuse to answer all questions connected with the civil rights movement and its participants, since we are being persecuted unlawfully.”

The investigator conducting the interrogation promised that criminal proceedings would be taken against Krasin for refusing to give evidence.

[9]

In the centre of Tartu on the morning of 17 April, a wooden stand with a picture of Lenin was burned down. Soon afterwards a youth was apprehended in another district, and later confessed to starting the fire. He was a worker at the local comb factory, born in 1952. According to some reports, a forensic-psychiatric examination has judged him to be of unsound mind. His name is not known.

[10]  Catholic Churches Closed in Belorussia

The executive committee of Novaya Ruda, a small place in the Grodno Region (Belorussia), decided to close the church and turn it into a grain store. Belakova, the chairman of the executive committee, travelled to Moscow to get permission to close the church. Requests from believers not to close the church went unheeded.

On 26 June 1970 Belakova’s deputy Zakharchenko changed into police uniform and hid in the wood with a group of policemen; they waited two hours for the inhabitants to go to work. The church was then surrounded. Zakharchenko smashed the lock, and the policemen collected the church plate and loaded it on to a lorry. Some women who saw this tried to stop the policemen. After experiencing “physical persuasion” (their arms were twisted), they lay down in front of the vehicles, being desperate to prevent the church plate from being taken away. The driver refused to drive the lorry, but then Zakharchenko took the wheel and the policemen dragged the women off the road.

The lorry drove off. The church was closed.

*

In the summer or l969 the church in Shuchin, Grodno Region, was closed. The priest refused to abandon his flock.

[11]

At the beginning of August there appeared an appeal to workers, peasants and intellectuals signed by the “Committee of Struggle for Socialist Democracy”. The subject of the appeal was the erection of a bust of Stalin under the Kremlin wall next to Lenin’s mausoleum. The authors argue from Leninist positions against the resurrection of Stalin.

“Let us give all our strength to the building of a socialist democracy in our country,” they urge.

[12]

We here give the addresses of:

Ilya Gabai (Moscow) [see 12.3] – [central Siberia] Kemerovo-28, postbox 1612/40, brigade/// 44.

Vladislav Grigoryevich Nedobora (Kharkov) [see 13.4] – [Ukraine] Dnepropetrovsk Region, Zholtye vody, postbox 308/28, 3-32.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Ponomaryov (Kharkov) [see 13.4] – [Ukraine] Vinnitsa Region, Peschany district, Trudovoi, IV 301/59, brigade// 24.

Arkady Levin (Kharkov) [see 13.5] – [Ukraine] Rovno Region, Gorodishche, OR 318-96 “5”.