16.10 News in brief

No 16 : 31 October 1970

1.

On 12 September 1970 Yuly Markovich Daniel was released from Vladimir Prison [Central Russia] on completion of his term. He was sent to live in Kaluga, where he has been placed under surveillance. He was allowed to visit his wife L. Bogoraz in her place of exile [Irkutsk Region, east Siberia].

2.

The sentence in the case of Anatoly Marchenko (Chronicle 10.1), convicted under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code (two years in strict-regime camps), came into legal force in September 1969. Three and a half months later Marchenko was being held in prison in the town of Solikamsk [Urals District]. Numerous enquiries from relatives and friends about his whereabouts were left unanswered.

Since February 1970 Marchenko has been in a camp, the address of which is: Perm Region, Solikamsk district, Krasny bereg post office, institution AM 244/7-8.

In spite of the medical certificates attached to Marchenko’s case about the grave state of his health, and of his assignment to light work, in February and March in a temperature of minus 45-50 degrees centigrade he was made to live in a tent and detailed to work on the unloading of fire-wood for trains. He was subsequently transferred to construction work – digging foundations on the territory of the camp. As a result of this Marchenko (who suffers from deafness and head-aches caused by meningitis, contracted in previous camps) developed a hypertonic disease.

By decision of the camp administration Marchenko has been deprived of visits from his mother. His defence counsel, who travelled to the camp to draw up a complaint for review [by the Supreme Court], was refused a meeting with his client.

Marchenko is not being given letters from his family and friends. Parcels of books (the works of Plekhanov and [D. I.] Pisarev, works on the history of the USSR), despatched by “Books by Post”, were returned to the shop. Marchenko has been deprived of pen, paper and a physics text-book “as having no political-educational significance” – so it is stated in the “deed of confiscation”.

3.

On 24 September 1970 Irina M. Kaplun and Vyacheslav I. Bakhmin were released from the investigation prison of the Moscow Region KGB (Lefortovo Prison) after spending ten months there (see Issues 11.7 “Arrests among Moscow students” and 14.11 (4) “News in brief” of the Chronicle). A decision of the investigative division of the Moscow and Moscow Region KGB (dated 24 September), to discontinue criminal proceedings on the basis of a Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet dated 23 September 1970 was read to them.

The content of the decree was as follows:

the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, having considered the petition of the KGB and of the Procuracy of the USSR for the pardon of Vyacheslav Ivanovich Bakhmin and Irina Moiseyevna Kaplun, has resolved: to pardon V.I. Bakhmin and I.M. Kaplun and to exempt them from further liability in the present case.

In a conversation with representatives of the KGB, Kaplun and Bakhmin were told the reasons for the pardon: their youth, the fact that their world-view was not yet properly formed and had been influenced by people with anti-Soviet attitudes, and their relatively good conduct during the investigation, which found expression in their giving an account of what concerned them personally (and nothing else).

The pardon did not apply to Olga loffe, whose case had been detached for separate legal proceedings in consequence of her being judged to be of unsound mind (Chronicle 15.2) by experts from the Serbsky Institute, and who had been sent by the decision of the court to the Special Psychiatric Hospital in Kazan [Volga District], where she remains to this day.

4.

On 1 October the appeal in the case of Natalya Yevgenevna Gorbanevskaya (see Chronicle 15.1) was heard in Moscow. The sentence – compulsory treatment in a psychiatric hospital of special type – was confirmed. Gorbanevskaya is still in the hospital section of Butyrka prison [in Moscow].

Vladimir Lapin [a writer] has addressed a statement, “I bear witness!” to the Supreme Court. Describing the circumstances of the trial, he says that the appeal hearing was held, in effect, behind closed doors.

5.

On the afternoon of 22 June, an official of the KGB opened the suit-case of A. G. Feofilaktova, an engineer from Tallinn, in the left-luggage office of the Leningrad station in Moscow, and confiscated:

  • an article with appended documents which she had written on the advice of a member of the editorial staff of Izvestiya, and which had been returned by the newspaper in an as yet unopened envelope;
  • another article, “Lenin’s ideas and the present day”, in the form of a review of V. M. Chkhikvadze’s book The State, Democracy and Legality (Moscow, 1967), which together with a reply from the editorial board of the journal Kommunist was also in an unopened official envelope;
  • and an article (on the subject of her dissertation) entitled “The Mirror Geometry of Lattice Wedges and Rectangles”. The KGB official neither gave his name nor produced any documents.

After Feofilaktova had sent a telegram from Tallinn to the stationmaster, the opened suit-case was collected from the left-luggage office by the head of the works department of the Estonian permanent mission [in Moscow] and a driver.

A. G. Feofilaktova has sent an account of the incident to Yu. V. Andropov, chairman of the KGB: she requests that these articles be located and returned.

6.

On 24 September Oleg Ivanovich Vorobyov, b. 1940, a worker and a former student of the Philology Faculty of Moscow University, was arrested in Moscow. In January 1966 he was expelled from Moscow University for taking part in the demonstration in Pushkin Square on 5 December 1965 [which called for the Sinyavsky-Daniel trial to be open].

From January to March 1966, after an interview with the representative of State Security for the arts faculties of Moscow University (“Elena Borisovna”), he was placed in the Serbsky Institute, where he was judged to be of sound mind. Then, after being reinstated in the extra-mural department of the Philology Faculty, he worked as a teacher in the town of Bui in the Kostroma Region [Central Russia] . Recently he has been working in Perm [Volga District] and with various geological expeditions.

O. Vorobyov has repeatedly signed letters of protest and supported appeals to the UN by members of the Action Group [for the Defence of Civil Rights]. In September 1969 he was forcibly placed in psychiatric hospital No. 15 in Moscow (see Chronicle 10.4 and Issue 11.12).

Oleg Vorobyov is being charged under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. Investigations are being carried out in Perm (where he is registered as a resident). According to unconfirmed reports a resident of Perm called Vedeneyev, who was arrested in August of this year, is involved in the same case. There are reasons for supposing that the investigators are making use primarily of evidence from witness Vladimir Vasilevich Vinnichenko, who also lives in Perm.

7.

On 2 October Dmitry Fyodorovich Mikheyev, a graduate student of physics at Moscow University, was apprehended at [Moscow’s] Sheremetyevo international airport after attempting to fly to Switzerland with documents belonging to a citizen of Sweden [F. de Perregaux, in fact, of Switzerland, ed]. When apprehended he stated that he wished to leave the USSR because its political system did not suit him. Searches were carried out in a number of houses in connection with Mikheyev’s arrest.

8.

Julia Vishnevskaya, who was detained on 9 July during the trial of N. E. Gorbanevskaya (see Chronicle 15.1), has been judged to be of unsound mind, with a diagnosis of “creeping schizophrenia”. On 12 October she was released from the Serbsky Institute and placed in the care of her parents and under the observation of the district psychiatrist.

Investigation into the case of [Vladimir] Telnikov and Vishnevskaya is continuing.

9.

In October the Moldavian Supreme Court heard the case of Yakov Mikhailovich Suslensky (see Chronicle 15.10 (7) “News in brief” [where his name is given as Suslonsky] ) and losif Mishener, who were charged under the Article equivalent to Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code.

Ya.M. Suslensky is 42. He worked as a teacher of English at the secondary school in the Moldavian town of Bendery. He had written several Open Letters to the Central Committee about his disagreement with the policies of the Party on a number of questions (Czechoslovakia, the lack of freedom of speech, the disparity between current practices and the Constitution of the USSR).

I. Mishener is 34. After graduating from medical school he worked on an X-ray installation and simultaneously studied at the History Faculty, after graduating from which he taught history at the secondary school in Bendery. He was a member of the Communist Party until 1969, when he was expelled from the Party and dismissed from his job after writing an Open Letter to the Central Committee on the Czechoslovak question. At the end of 1969 he wrote to the United Nations about all that had happened to him because of the letter to the Central Committee.

Suslensky was arrested in February 1970. When a search was carried out at his home tape-recordings of BBC broadcasts, copies of his and Mishener’s letters and detailed diaries, describing meetings and conversations with his friends and their ideas, were confiscated. Mishener’s name was mentioned in the diaries, and it was for this reason that he was arrested.

The Procurator demanded sentences of three and two years respectively. The court, however, sentenced Yakov Suslensky to seven years’ imprisonment and Iosif Mishener to six.

10.

On 22 October Vitaly Pomazov (b. 1947), a time-and-motion engineer at a Gorky factory, was arrested in the city. A. M. Khokhlov, head of the investigation division of the Gorky Region KGB, was present at a search of Pomazov’s home. As a result of the search Pomazov’s old address book and a copy of the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure were confiscated.

V. Pomazov is a former student of the History and Philology Faculty of Gorky University. In May 1968 he was expelled from the university [see 5.3, nos 128-136, and 6.5] for writing a work “The State and Socialism”. On his expulsion he was immediately called up for active service in the ranks of the Soviet army.

11.

On 22 October people of all ages gathered round the synagogue in Arkhipov Street in Moscow to take part in the annual Jewish festival of Simchat Torah. There were many young people, who danced and sang in Russian and Modern Hebrew. There were also many volunteer policemen [druzhinniniki] and policemen, and there were police cars standing not far from the synagogue. Plain-clothes men took photographs, mainly of the young people enjoying themselves.

Young people who left the celebration on their own or in small groups were stopped by persons who were not wearing vigilante arm-bands and did not produce their documents, but who asked them to accompany them to vigilante headquarters. There they had their particulars taken and were accused of performing anti-Soviet songs and of Zionist propaganda. Some of them were accused of scattering leaflets. The students who had been detained were threatened with expulsion from the Komsomol and from their institutes, and were advised not to attend such celebrations in future.

12.

On 7 October Ruta Alexandrovich, the 23-year-old grand-daughter of the once well-known singer Mikhail Alexandrovich, was arrested in Riga. She was charged with anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda under Article 65 of the Latvian Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the Russian Code). Details of her arrest are given in a letter from nine Jews, which is circulating in samizdat with the title “An appeal to the Jewish people”. Samizdat has also circulated a letter by R. Alexandrovich, “Awaiting arrest”, and letters from her mother and fiancé (written after her arrest) addressed to the Chief Rabbi of Israel. These letters contain a request for R. Alexandrovich and I. Averbukh (her fiancé) to be married by proxy in Israel. Their wedding was to have taken place in the middle of October.

13.

‘”By order of the transport manager of the Department of Civil Aviation, the sale of tickets for all routes to groups of gypsies will be discontinued from 20 August” – such is the actual text of a telex order received by Aeroflot cashiers.

14.

At about six o’clock on the evening of 25 October, P.I. Yakir and his wife V.I. Savenkova were the object of an attack by a group of several people at the entrance to a building on Kutuzovsky Prospekt where foreign correspondents accredited in Moscow reside. Savenkova was injured. Jay Axelbank, correspondent of the American journal Newsweek, was present at the attack.

15.

Mustafa Dzhemilev‘s address is: [Uzbekistan,] Tashkent Region, Zengi-ata, postbox UYa 64/1 E.