20.8 Trials in Estonia and Sochi

No 20 : 2 July 1971

TALLINN. In April Vladimir Vasilevich Eikhvald, a radio engineer aged 57, was judged to be of unsound mind by an in-patient, forensic-psychiatric examination.  For the institution of proceedings against Eikhvald under Article 194-1 of the Estonian Criminal Code, equivalent to Article 190-1 of the Russian Code) See CCE 18.10 ( item 14). On 1 June, by decision of the Tallinn City Court, Eikhvald was placed in a psychiatric hospital of ordinary type.

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SOCHI. The trial of Anatoly Rumyantsev and Valentina Volzhskaya (b. 1947), on charges under Article 190-1 [of the Russian Code] took place from 30 June to 2 July. For their arrest, see CCE 19.11 (item 12).

The Judge was Chepurko of the Krasnodar Region Court; the Procurator, Goncharova was from (Sochi). Defence counsel for Rumyantsev was Aristov (Krasnodar); for Volzhskaya, Pashkevich (Sochi).

During the investigation Rumyantsev and Volzhskaya were permitted to marry. The investigator (Shatov, of the Sochi City Procuracy) was aware that Volzhskaya was pregnant, but the measure of restraint, detention in custody, remained unchanged. Volzhskaya was repeatedly taken from the prison in Armavir to Sochi for questioning, and also to Krasnodar for psychiatric examination.

Rumyantsev was charged with giving Volzhskaya A. Marchenko’s book My Testimony and six poems by an unknown author. (Rumyantsev had copied two of the poems, “Parade” and “Empire”, into his note-book, which the investigators regarded as evidence of duplication.)

Volzhskaya was charged with the possession and circulation of A. Marchenko’s book My Testimony (Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code), and also with re-typing the poems. “Evidence” of circulation of My Testimony was one line copied from the book, which was found during a search.

None of the witnesses was able to give any information proving the circulation of the literature listed in the indictment. Two female witnesses gave evidence relating to Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward: one said that Rumyantsev had circulated it;  the other, an Intourist colleague of Volzhskaya, stated before the arrests that she had seen Cancer Ward in Volzhskaya’s possession. She reaffirmed this in court. (This book was confiscated during a search of Volzhskaya’s home.)

Rumyantsev pleaded not guilty, and Volzhskaya only confirmed the fact of possession.

The Procurator asked for a sentence of three years for Rumyantsev and a suspended sentence of three years for Volzhskaya. Aristov, counsel for Rumyantsev, asked for the release of his client, stressing that Anatoly’s mother was a blind and lonely woman. Her husband, who had fought in the Finnish War, died of exhaustion during evacuation from the siege of Leningrad. Her elder son Valery was serving a fifteen-year sentence in the Mordovian camps (Camp 19). Pashkevich [a woman], counsel for Volzhskaya, shared the opinion of the prosecutor.

The court sentenced A. Rumyantsev to two-and-a-half years of ordinary-regime corrective-labour camps, and V. Volzhskaya to one-and-a-half years (suspended).

[Commentary No 20]