16.7 Following up Reports in the Press

No 16 : 31 October 1970

When referring to A. Yenina’s article “Renegades” (Leningradskaya Pravda, 18 January 1970), in “The Soviet press on the persecution of dissenters” section the Chronicle (14.5) gave information about the fate of Eruand Lalayants which included certain inaccuracies.

E.A. Lalayants (b. 1925), fought in the [Great] Patriotic War [1941-1945] and is an engineer and economist. At the end of 1969 he was sentenced under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code to three years in strict-regime corrective-labour colonies. The court which considered the case of Lalayants consisted of Isakova (chairman), Manin and Artamonov (people’s assessors) and Katukova (Procurator).

E. A. Lalayants was charged with the systematic compilation, duplication and circulation of documents slandering the Soviet political and social system, that is, with writing a letter to Literaturnaya gazeta addressed to M.A. Sholokhov, a leaflet (two copies) calling on the inhabitants of Leningrad to start a general strike, and a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party (about the case of Ginzburg and Galanskov). Lalayants signed his letters “Headquarters of the [Rossiiskaya] Socialist Party” [i.e. the Socialist Party of Russia].

At present Lalayants is held in one of the Mordovian camps: institution ZhKh 385/17.

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On 13 October 1970 Pravda published a feature by V. Chertkov: “A speculator in his true colours. Against falsification”. The main character is Mikhail Yanovich Makarenko [1], arrested in Moscow in 1969 by the KGB. The trial was held in closed session in the Moscow City Court in September 1970 and lasted several days. Beside Makarenko in the dock was Vyacheslav Rodionov. The chairman was [V.V.] Bogdanov.

M.Ya. Makarenko was born in 1931 in the Rumanian town of Galati. In 1940 he found himself on the territory of the USSR [i.e. following the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia] and was placed in a children’s home. After serving in the army and working under contract, organising clubs in the countryside, he moved to Leningrad in 1954. He married L.S. Makarenko and took her name. Some time later he entered the Philosophy Faculty of Moscow University, but was expelled from the university in connection with a criminal charge against him – building a house with unearned income. Makarenko’s guilt was not proved by the court.

Next he turned up in Novosibirsk where, in 1965, he organised the club “At the Integral” [Pod integralom] and the Picture Gallery in Akademgorodok. As one of its most noteworthy functions it is worth mentioning the “Festival of Bards”, whose participants have included Galich, Klyachkin and Vysotsky [2]. The activities of the club “At the Integral” and of the Picture Gallery virtually came to an end in 1968 with this festival and with the organisation of one-man exhibitions of the artists Filonov, Falk and Lissitsky [3], as well as of Picasso’s sketches. They were followed by an article in Evening Novosibirsk and Makarenko’s dismissal from the post of manager of the Picture Gallery. Makarenko’s subsequent fate was determined by his persistent efforts to organise a Mark Chagall exhibition. Chagall had agreed to come to the USSR and to provide canvasses for it…

Vyacheslav Rodionov, aged 23, is a [carpenter and] resident of Kolchugino [Vladimir Region, Central Russia]. The charge against him was in part the same.

Rodionov’s mother was not admitted to the courthouse. The court rejected the petition by defence counsel Yu. Bobrova pointing out the need to hear testimony from witnesses called by her.

M.Ya. Makarenko was sentenced under Articles 70, 162, 173 and 88 of the Russian Criminal Code to a total of eight years’ imprisonment in strict-regime corrective-labour colonies with confiscation of property.

Under Article 70 of the Code Makarenko and Rodionov were charged with the preparation and circulation of a letter to the Budapest Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties [4], signed “The Party of Non-Party Workers Struggling for the Restoration of Socialism”. Copies of the letter were handed in at the Rumanian and Hungarian embassies and thence reached the KGB.

This item is based on a biography of Makarenko which is circulating in samizdat.