35.8 “Bukovsky Day”

No 35 : 31 March 1975

29 March 1975 was marked in the USSR and abroad as “Vladimir Bukovsky Day”. On this day many Soviet citizens made statements in defence of Bukovsky.

[1]

Four years ago Vladimir Bukovsky was thrown into prison.

He is only 32 years old today, yet this was already his fourth arrest. Out of the last eleven years of his life he has spent ten in prison.

… Vladimir Bukovsky provided documentary proof of the existence in the USSR of the criminal practice of sending mentally normal people, labelled as dangerous lunatics, to especially terrible MVD prisons which disguise themselves as “special psychiatric hospitals”.

On the third day after Western radio announced that these documents had been received by the International Commission preparing the World Congress of Psychiatrists, Bukovsky was arrested.

We ask all who prize truth, justice and love:

Do not remain indifferent to our persecuted compatriot!

Tatyana Velikanova, Grigory Podyapolsky, Tatyana Khodorovich.

[2]

The case of Vladimir Bukovsky is striking because of the disparity between the actions attributed to him in the verdict and the severity of his punishment.

As I have no access to the case evidence I cannot dispute the verdict from a legal point of view.

But knowing Vladimir Bukovsky personally as a totally unselfish man, devoted to his country, a man with a great soul and a spotless conscience — I wish to join my voice to those who are today fighting for the release of Bukovsky from a sentence which is physically insupportable for him.

S[ofia] V. Kalistratova

[3]

… In 1963, at the age of 20, he was expelled from university and arrested. His crimes: he read samizdat; he organized meetings of friends to exchange opinions. The sentence: a prison psychiatric hospital.

On his release he joined in the campaign for the freedom of the arrested writers A. Sinyavsky and Yu. Daniel. This time Vladimir was imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital without trial or investigation. On his release Bukovsky did not enjoy freedom for long. When Galanskov, Ginzburg and Lashkova were arrested he responded by organizing a demonstration demanding their freedom. Again he was arrested. His sentence: three years in a labour camp.

After serving this term Vladimir again achieved something for civil rights: he publicized 10 psychiatric diagnoses on the basis of which normal people had been shut up in prison psychiatric hospitals on account of their convictions…

Bukovsky was responsible for cutting short the terms spent in prison psychiatric hospitals by Grigorenko, Gershuni, Borisov, Fainberg and others. He gave them back their freedom, reunited them with their families and is paying for this with 12 years of his own freedom.

… So help us to obtain Bukovsky’s release. His freedom is our freedom!

Zinaida Grigorenko

Andrei Grigorenko

[4]

Vladimir Bukovsky has not committed any crimes… Even now the disclosures by him have not become out of date. They are not evidence about yesterday only: Soviet psychiatry is still being used to root out “dissent”.

… Vladimir Bukovsky and his fellow-prisoner, the psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman, managed while in a “corrective-labour” camp together in 1973-4 to write a Manual on Psychiatry for Dissenters, dedicated “to Lenya Plyushch, a victim of psychiatric terror”.

In spite of all obstacles the Manual was brought out of the camp.

Vladimir Bukovsky, sentenced for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”, has already been imprisoned for four years: one year in the investigation block of Lefortovo prison in Moscow; one year in Vladimir Prison; one year in a strict regime labour camp in the Perm Region; and now again in Vladimir Prison … Moreover, his first two months there were on the strict regime, distinguished, in particular, for the especially inadequate food rations.

M[alva] N. Landa

[5]

Bukovsky did what any decent man should have done, but what only a hero is capable of doing.

… I consider myself to be especially in Bukovsky’s debt. The first to speak out against the shameful use of medicine in order to harm people should have been medical people, doctors. And I am one of these. If I had done my duty then, I would today be where Bukovsky now is, but he acted in my place.

Bukovsky’s health has now been ruined by the severe conditions in strict- regime. He has ulcers, cholecystitis and a rheumatic heart condition — chronic illnesses which cannot be effectively treated in conditions of imprisonment.

… If Bukovsky dies in prison it will be the fault not only of those who imposed this cruel punishment on him. It will also be the fault of those who knew of Bukovsky’s achievements and while exulting over them in their hearts never made any effort to help him; it will be the fault of our whole society, of each one of us. And my fault too.

I have no infallible remedies, but one thing 1 know: Bukovsky must be saved. He must be saved before we find we can never pay back our debt to him.

L[eonard] Ternovsky