30.15 Samizdat Update

No 30 : 31 March 1975

The third issue of Amnesty International carries an announcement that the editors intend to make it a regular publication.

The Chronicle lists below the contents of the first three issues. [0*]

[1] Amnesty International – Number 1
(Compiled by A. Tverdokhlebov and V. Arkhangelsky).

From the Editors

PART I – 1. Amnesty

The Statutes of Amnesty International Resolutions adopted by the 1972 International Council

Selected publications by Amnesty:

a) Report on a Mission of 2-8 August 1972 to Zagreb
b) Problems Involved in Studying the Practical Experience and Traditions of Amnesty

PART 2 –

1. On the concept of “a political prisoner”
(V. Chalidze’s memorandum to the Committee on Human Rights).

On the provision of welfare for political prisoners
(A. Tverdokhlebov’s statement to the United Associations of the Red Cross and Red Crescent).

On the abolition of capital punishment:
a) V. Lapin’s statement to the USSR Supreme Soviet
b) Statement by Sakharov et al. to the USSR Supreme Soviet

“On an Amnesty for Political Prisoners: statement by Sakharov et al. to the USSR Supreme Soviet”

1. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
2. The Optional Protocol
3. Statutes of Amnesty International (in English)

[2] Amnesty International – Supplementary Issue [i.e. number 2]
(compiled by A. Tverdokhlebov and V. Arkhangelsky)

C. Hill, “Some Philosophical Problems About Rights”
V. Arkhangelsky, “The Right to Free Association”

On the Freedom to Disseminate Information
On Providing Welfare for Prisoners of Conscience

[3] Amnesty International – Number 3
(Compiled by A. Tverdokhlebov)

PART 1 — Rudolph Jering, “The Struggle for Justice”
PART 2 — Amnesty International Newsletter: What Can Amnesty Accomplish?
PART 3 — The cases of S. Myuge; V. Khaustov; P. Grigorenko; V. Bukovsky

[4] A. N. Tverdokhlebov, “Letter to Dr Bernard Dixon”.

The author attempts to call the attention of Western scientific associations to the fate of the well-known Kiev mathematician and dissenter Leonid Plyushch. Tverdokhlebov reproduces a letter from Plyushch’s wife, T. Zhitnikova, to the Chief of the Administration for Corrective Labour Institutions [V. E.] Makogov. Given the inhuman conditions of her husband’s confinement there, she had asked that he be transferred to another institution.

Commenting on Zhitnikova’s letter, Tverdokhlebov observes that “among institutions of its type, the Dnepropetrovsk Special Psychiatric Hospital has the worst most terrible reputation”.

[5] Victor Nekipelov. “They want to try us — but for what?”

The article opens with an account of the investigation of a case in which S. Myuge, K. Velikanova, M. Landa and the author himself are suspected of circulating libellous literature. Faced with the inevitability of a trial (“after all, a massive wheel like the Moscow City Procuracy cannot work to no effect for over a year”) [1*] V. Nekipelov wants to make his attitude to it clear in advance. He states that his friends have not committed any crimes against the established order and have not circulated any false information. To try people for reading and possessing literature, he says, is witch-hunting.

Declaring Articles 70 and 190-1 of the RSFSR criminal code unconstitutional, Nekipelov refuses to participate in the forthcoming trial. “I ask my friends and relatives to know with certainty,” he writes, “that when I am arrested, I will not give any testimony to the investigation or the court.” His article concludes with these words “I believe that Russia will purify itself, will mature, will overcome its fear, and will break its rulers once and for all of their age-old habit of rummaging in people’s books and minds!”

[6] Lydia Chukovskaya, “The People’s Wrath” [Gnev naroda].

The author draws an analogy between the “unanimous” campaign against Academician Sakharov and the writer Solzhenitsyn today and the persecution of Boris Pasternak in 1958-59. Lydia Chukovskaya analyzes the techniques used to incite “the public’s wrath,” making a clear-cut distinction between the type of people involved in the campaign: members of the intelligentsia and those people commonly referred to as “the man in the street.” Chukovskaya addresses herself precisely to the latter group, which makes her work a rather rare phenomenon in s7mizdat writings on public issues.

[6] Semyon Telegin. “What Ought One to Do?” [Kak byt?]. *

In this article Telegin offers his view of the moral position which the Russian people have adopted in relation to the ideology of the State and the actions of their leaders.

[8] Dmitry Nelidov, “Ideocratic Consciousness and Personality” [Ideokraticheskoye soznaniye i lichnost]

An analysis of the principles and mechanisms by which Soviet ideology moulds personality. On a formal level, the work is a polemic against the ideas advanced in K. Zhitnikov’s article “The Decline of the Democratic Movement” [“Zakat democraticheskogo dvizheniya”]. Nelidov believes that a juxtaposition between the forms of the democratic movement and the state reforms instituted during the period of de-Stalinization exists only on the surface and does not go to the heart of the problem. According to him, the real point is that the democratic movement, by the mere fact of its existence, has disclosed the existence of two types of consciousness: a consciousness formed under ideological pressure (this is what he terms ideocratic”) and another which has to some extent freed itself of this pressure. On this basis the author provides a concrete analysis of the ideology, which is defined as an alienated consciousness, “acquired by the consumer in the form of codified knowledge, emotions and impulses.”

Hence, references to “convictions” (which, to some degree, are central to K. Zhitnikov’s argument) are out of place. One should talk only about what psychiatrists and sociologists call the culture of social adaptation. This culture can be defined as a system of conditioned reflexes trained in a particular way to respond to a corresponding set of ideological signals. The culture becomes practically inseparable from personality, imposing on it a certain pre-formed “social image” – a mannequin with certain stereotyped feelings, thought processes, and behaviour. This superimposition of a “social image” on the personality gives rise to the phenomenon of doublethink—the consequence of a voluntary submission of the self to the proffered mannequin. “It is this penetration of your reason and will by an alien reason and will, ” the author writes, “your accommodating and pandering to the latter, your rejection of the right to make a moral choice and take responsibility for it, your rejection of your own thoughts and beliefs, which can only be termed a violation of human nature — a de-humanization. ”

Any form of social protest (call it a democratic movement or something else) can only be discussed in the context of this culture of social adaptation or doublethink which develops in any totalitarian system. The issue here is not one of convictions but of whether a person submits to the unconscious, reflexion-induced compact that penetrates the whole of society or refuses to take part in it. Such a refusal can take the form of an “unexpected1*, spontaneous protest, some effort to defend human rights, or simply the act of bearing witness for prisoners of conscience- that for which A Chronicle of Current Events exists. The norms of doublethink (a schizophrenic splitting of the soul) are challenged by one’s own norms of a person, those of psychic integrity, “The whole point of the political protest registered by the democratic movement has been that it has demonstrated another standard of health, one that has proved intolerable for a society which has succumbed to a spiritual epidemic.” It has been liberating people from the peculiar ideocratic fear inculcated by totalitarianism.

On the basis of this argument, the author raises two fundamental objections to K. Zhitnikov’s analysis. First, despite possible similarities in phraseology, the ideocratic consciousness and any self-aware, willed protest against it have nothing in common. Second, the “movement… deliberately did not put its main stress on the problem of freedom. It formulated and, for the First time, called attention to the issue of law and legal guarantees for the personality. The struggle for a rule of law enabled people to perceive the sovereignty of man in conditions in which his real essence had been placed in jeopardy. ”

[9] A. Solzhenitsyn. “Peace and violence”

In this article (September 1973) Solzhenitsyn juxtaposes the antithesis “peace-violence” to the narrower, more limited antithesis “peace-war”. He says that peace is disrupted by any form of violence — be it war, terrorism, the seizure of a single hostage, guerrilla warfare, gangsterism, or the systematic violence of the state. There are “smooth transitions11 and a causal connection between one form of violence and another. Those who fail to see this choose not to; they are unaware of it because life is quieter and more carefree if one overlooks the most menacing and mighty forms of violence; and because it is easier to resist evil when it is less heavily armed and has less popular support; when there is some hope of a victory over it without sacrifices. However, a petty, calculating struggle of this sort against violence is not a genuine struggle for peace, for justice. In our country an unselfish, self-sacrificing struggle for justice against the mighty violence of the State — s hereby a struggle for peace has been conducted by A. D. Sakharov. Solzhenitsyn nominates him as a candidate for the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize.

[10] “An Unplanned Commentary 11”

An anonymous pamphlet dealing with the attacks on A. D. Sakharov in the autumn of 1973. The author discusses, the readiness with which the mass of Soviet citizens— people ranging from academicians to carpenters-take part in any form of baiting sanctioned by the authorities; the short-sighted political calculations of governmental figures in the West; and the immorality of Western intellectuals who collaborate with regimes that violate human rights.

[11] A. Marchenko. “An Appeal to Progressive Public Figures and Organizations in Western Europe”.

On the eve of the 1975 Geneva [OSCE] Conference, Marchenko appeals to the community of nations of Western Europe to exert pressure on their governments to demand freedom of cultural exchange and information. He asks them to keep in mind that in our country the suppression of the individual’s spiritual and physical freedom has become a national tradition; and he urges them to oppose a collaboration based on such “national traditions and customs.” These “customs” reduce any collaboration to a mere fiction.


[*] The journal Amnesty International was published in samizdat in Moscow by Soviet citizens sympathetic to the aims of AI. Four issues are known to have appeared, all in 1973. Of these only number 4 has as yet reached the West in (almost) complete form.

[1*] Nekipelov was arrested on 11 July 1973 (CCE 29) and sentenced to 2 years in May 1974 (CCE 32).

[♦] Evidently the same essay [?Zhitnikov] as was listed in CCE 12. (See also CCE 27 and this issue.)