16.5 Trials of Recent Years

No 16 : 31 October 1970

On 3 October 1969 the Leningrad City Court (consisting of O.V. Karlov, chairman; V.M. Shimanov and V.I. Chistov, people’s assessors; A.Ya. Dosugov, Procurator [State prosecutor]; and G.V. Feigina and E.N. Trofimovskaya, counsels for the defence) considered in closed session the case of Galina Vladimirovna Silivonchik (see “Inmates of the Women’s Political Camp ZhKh 385/3″, Chronicle 15.8 [her surname is given as Selivonchik there]), a packer at the Northern Lights factory (b. 1937) with seven years of education, and of her brother Yury Vladimirovich Vasilyev, (b. 1947) with eight years of education.

The charge was that on 3 June 1969, as members of a group of three persons, they attempted to hijack an IL-14 passenger aircraft (No. 3724), on a flight from Leningrad to Tallinn. The initiator of the action and its principal executant was Ivan Andreyevich Silivonchik, husband of G.V. Silivonchik. He attempted to escape pursuit when the aircraft made a forced landing at Johvi ([on the Estonian coast] near Kohtla-Jarve) and was killed in an exchange of fire with a border patrol.

The charge against G.V. Silivonchik was brought under Articles 64, paragraph (a), via 15; 70, paragraph. 1; 72; 102, items (d) and (e), via 15; and 218 of the Russian Criminal Code. The charge against Yu.V. Vasilyev were identical, with the deletion of Article 70 and the addition of Article 218, paragraph 2.

[Note. The subjects of these Articles are as follows:

  • 15. Responsibility for preparing, and attempting, to commit a crime;
  • 64. Betrayal of the Motherland [see 8.4];
  • 70. Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda;
  • 72. Organisational activity directed towards the commission of especially dangerous crimes against the State, and also participation in an anti-Soviet organisation;
  • 102. Premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances –
    (d) involving danger to the life of many people,
    (e) with the object of concealing another crime or facilitating its commission.
  • 218. The unlawful bearing, possession, manufacture or sale of arms or explosives.]

It was the plan of the participants in the affair that the pilot, when threatened with a gun, would change course and fly to Finland, where it was intended to go to the American embassy and ask the American government for political asylum.

The hijacking of the aircraft involved the use of arms (a member of the crew was wounded) and inflicting material harm on the passengers of the IL-14.

Defendants Silivonchik and Vasilev admitted their guilt.

On the strength of all their crimes (and in accordance with Article 40 of the Criminal Code//) Silivonchik was sentenced to thirteen years’ imprisonment in a strict-regime corrective-labour colony, with confiscation of property, and five years’ exile after the completion of the basic punitive measure, and Vasilyev to eleven years’ imprisonment in a strict-regime corrective-labour colony with confiscation of property and three years’ exile.

[See Chronicle 14.11 (3) “The Leningrad plane affair” and the verdict at the trial, 17.6]