20.11 News in Brief

No 20 : 2 July 1971

[1]

On 15 May Nikolai Fyodorovich Dragosh (b. 1932), was released from Vladimir Prison. A graduate of Odessa University, he was head-master of a young workers’ school in the Tarutino district (Odessa Region), where he taught mathematics.

On 19 May Nikolai Andreyevich Tarnavsky (b. 1940), who was convicted in the same case as Dragosh, was also released from Vladimir Prison. He has a specialist secondary education and until their arrests taught labour at the school of which Dragosh was head-master.

In September 1964 they were both sentenced by the Moldavian Supreme Court to seven years of strict-regime corrective-labour camps under Articles 67 and 69 of the Moldavian Criminal Code (equivalent to Articles 70 and 72 of the Russian Code). On 13 July 1970 Dragosh and Tarnavsky were transferred from [Dubrovlag] camp 19 to Vladimir Prison (see CCE 15.7 (item 2) [hunger strike in Vladimir Prison, see CCE 18.2).

They were charged [in 1964] with creating the organisation “Democratic Union of Socialists” and with printing a broadsheet of newspaper format, “Truth to the People” [Pravda narodu]. The other persons convicted in this case were Vasily Vasilyevich Postalaki (b. 1936), a student at the Conducting Faculty of the Kishinyov Institute of Arts (released in 1970); Nikolai Sergeyevich Kucerianu (b. 1941), a student at the same Institute (6 years of corrective-labour camps, pardoned in 1968); Sergei Chemertan (b. 1938), a student at the same Institute (5 years of corrective-labour camps, pardoned in 1968); and Ivan Alexeyevich Cherdyntsev (b. 1938), a teacher at Dragosh’s school (6 years of corrective-labour camps plus four years under Article 206-2 [malicious hooliganism], which he was given in the camp).

[2]

On 15 May the Moscow mathematician and Master of Science Ilya Burmistrovich (News from the Camps], see CCE 18.4) was released from the camps of the Krasnoyarsk Region on completion of a three-year sentence.

[3]

By Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet Andrei Donatovich Sinyavsky, who was sentenced in 1965 to seven years of strict-regime corrective-labour camps under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code, was released on 8 June, fifteen months early. His release was preceded by letters to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from V. Rozanova (Sinyavsky’s wife) [45] and from Yu. M. Daniel, Sinyavsky’s friend who was convicted in the same case. The letters contained requests for Sinyavsky’s release, his health having markedly deteriorated in the camps.

Since the summer of 1969 A. D. Sinyavsky had been in different sections of Dubrovlag Camp 3 (in Mordovia); for the last year he worked as a loader in the repair squad.

As soon as Sinyavsky had been released, the camp loudspeakers announced that he had been pardoned at the request of the administration because he had begun to mend his ways (in fact Sinyavsky’s release came as no less of a surprise to the administration than to Sinyavsky himself).

[4]

On 15 June Omelyan Gilyarovich Polevoi (b. 1913), a native of the Ternopol //Region [West Ukraine], was released from Mordovian Camp No. 17 on completion of a 25-year sentence.

In July 1946 Polevoi, then commander of section 3 of the Ukrainian Insurrectionist Army (UPA), the partisan formations of Ukrainian nationalists, was arrested in Lvov and sent to Kiev Prison. In April 1947 a Military Tribunal of the Kiev Region MVD sentenced Polevoi to be shot. Three months later the death sentence was commuted to 25 years in the camps. Until 1958 Polevoi was in Kolyma [Soviet Far East]; then he spent two years in the Taishet-Bratsk camps [Irkutsk Region, E. Siberia] and in 1960 was transferred to Dubrovlag.

[5]

On 25 June Stepan Stepanovich Bedrylo, who was convicted in Kiev in 1969 [in fact he was arrested in Kiev in 1969 and convicted in Lvov in January 1970], was released from Mordovian camp No. 3.

[6]

On 25 June Vadim Delaunay, who took part in the demonstration in Red Square on 25 August 1968, was released from a camp in the Tyumen Region on completion of his sentence.

[7]

On 22 June Pavel Lobkov, a Jehovah’s witness, was released from Dubrovlag Camp 17 on completion of a 25-year sentence.

[8]

On 27 April Ivan Yakhimovich ([for his arrest in 1969] see CCE 7.2) was released from a psychiatric hospital in Riga. A commission has judged him to be an invalid of the second category. The local authorities refuse to register him as a resident, referring to the fact that he could not obtain adequate accommodation. Yakhimovich’s wife and three children live in the town of Jurmale near Riga.

[9]

During the second half of June the Central Forensic-Psychiatric Commission, headed by D. R. Lunts, recommended that Victor Kuznetsov be discharged from the Kazan Special Psychiatric Hospital (see CCE 8.7) and placed under the supervision of his district psychiatrist. It also recommended Valeria Novodvorskaya for transfer (see CCE 11.7) to a psychiatric hospital of ordinary type. On a previous occasion, as has been reported, the Moscow City Court refused to release Kuznetsov (CCE 18.1, item 7).

[10]

At the end of June Olga Ioffe was recommended for discharge (CCE 18.1, item 8) from the Moscow “Matrosskaya Tishina” psychiatric hospital. (For her arrest, CCE 11.7; for her trial, see CCE 15.2, 18)

[11]

At the end of June Eduard Kuznetsov arrived in Dubrovlag Camp 10 (Udamaya, Leplei, the special- regime camp, i.e. its inmates are confined in prison conditions and escorted out to work). He was placed in the same cell as Yury Fyodorov, who was convicted in the same case [i.e. the Leningrad ‘‘aeroplane case”]. At the same time Joseph Mendelevich arrived in Camp 17-a and Silva Zalmanson in Camp 3 (a women’s camp).

[12]

TASHKENT [Uzbekistan]. On 20 May Ibragimov, a Crimean Tatar, arrived in Tashkent from Simferopol [Crimea]. On the evening of the same day he was arrested.

On 20 June Aishe Muratova, a historian, was arrested. During a search of her home a notebook containing her own poetry was confiscated.

In 1967, after spending about nine months in a KGB investigation prison (Lefortovo [in Moscow]) with two other Crimean Tatars, Muratova was given a one year suspended sentence under Article 74 of the Russian Criminal Code (arousing national discord).

According to the information available, Muratova and Ibragimov are involved in the same case: they have been indicted under Article 191-4 of the Uzbek Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 190-1 of the Russian Code).

[13]

YAKUTSK [Soviet Far East]. Vladimir Dremlyuga, who was sentenced in 1968 to three years of corrective-labour camps for taking part in the Red Square demonstration of 25 August 1968 against the sending of Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia, was due for release on 25 August this year. Dremlyuga has spent most of his sentence in one of the camps in Yakutia, being constantly subjected to harassment by the camp administration (see CCE 17.12, item 8).

At the end of April Dremlyuga was sent from the camp to Yakutsk Prison.  Proceedings have been begun against him, and the investigation under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code has already been completed. The basis for the charge is conversations with other prisoners to the effect that there is no freedom of speech, demonstration and so on in the USSR. [46]

A telegram sent by the Procuracy of the Yakut Autonomous Republic states that Dremlyuga had asked for arrangements to be made for him to be represented at the hearing of his case by a Moscow defence counsel. According to the RSFSR Code of Practice of the Legal Profession, the appointment of defence counsel to conduct cases is carried out by the head of the Legal Advice Office. In practice, however, this must be cleared with Apraksin, chairman of the Moscow Collegium of Lawyers, who in this case, without citing any legislative acts or instructions, stated that no lawyer from Moscow would be permitted to go to Yakutsk.

It is impossible to appeal against Apraksin’s decision, since the Collegium of Lawyers is a public organisation formally independent of state bodies.

[14]

MOSCOW. Nadezhda Yemelkina (b. 1946) was arrested on 27 June.

A graduate of a young workers’ school, she entered the Moscow Institute of Geological Prospecting in 1965. In 1968 she was expelled from the Institute, the real reason being her presence outside the court where the trial of Ginzburg, Galanskov, Dobrovolsky and Lashkova took place. Since then Yemelkina has worked as a nurse, labourer, cleaner and other such jobs. She has signed several Open Letters in defence of human rights.

At 6 pm on 27 June 1971 – Soviet Youth Day – Yemelkina appeared in Pushkin Square [Moscow] and began to hand out and scatter hand-written leaflets. The leaflets contained the words: “… do you know that to this day people are still being arrested in our country for their beliefs, as in the fearful time of Stalin?” Yemelkina also had a banner with two slogans written on it: “Freedom for the political prisoners in the USSR!” and “Freedom for Vladimir Bukovsky!”

She has been indicted under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code. The investigation is being conducted by L. S. Akimova, senior investigator of the Moscow City Procuracy (who also conducted the investigations into the cases of I. Belogorodskaya, the participants in the Red Square demonstration, N. Gorbanevskaya, A. Krasnov- Levitin and others).

On 2 July a search of N. Yemelkina’s flat was carried out.

At present Nadezhda Yemelkina is in Butyrka Prison.

[15]

Requests, by believers in Gorky and Naro-Fominsk (Moscow Region) for registration as religious associations and for the opening of Orthodox churches in their cities have been repeatedly refused, despite the fact that according to the law “On religious associations” (8 April 1929), which is still in force, a group of believers numbering at least twenty persons are entitled to form a religious association and, after registering it with the local Soviet, to build houses of worship (or receive them from their local Soviet free of charge) and to gather in them without further informing authorities. “Registration may be refused only in cases where doctrine, the performance of rites, or any other activities involves violating the law, molesting the person of citizens, or infringing their rights” (Izvestia, 29 August 1966, an interview given by V. A. Kuroyedov, chairman of the Council on Religious Affairs).

In both cases the requests for the opening of churches were signed by as many as 1,500 people. [47] Neither the local authorities nor any of the higher instances gave any grounds for their refusal.

A woman living in Naro-Fominsk brought a court action against the Council on Religious Affairs of the USSR Council of Ministers. On 27 March 1970 the people’s court of the Lenin district of Moscow vindicated the Council’s actions. On 6 February 1971 the Naro-Fominsk newspaper Banner of Ilych printed an article, “A dirty business”, condemning the attempts of “charlatans on the fringes of religion” to open a church in the town (although in recent years the issue has been the registration of believers).

In Gorky, after unsuccessful attempts to send complaints to the World Council of Churches and the UN by post, an attempt was undertaken to send one through western tourists. [48] Persecution of the authors of the complaint then ensued: KGB interrogations lasting many hours (they were conducted by O. P. Labutov), dismissals from work, deprivation of special permits, refusals to provide living accommodation. A long “documentary story” about the authors of the complaint, “A cheque for 7,000”, was printed in the newspaper Gorky Worker in December 1970. Veniamin Kozulin, a tuner, Galina Vakhutina, an engineer, Zoya Zhebrakova, also an engineer, Valentin Sazanov, a university lecturer, and his mother, a typist, were dismissed from their jobs; Valery Vantsev, a fifth-year student, was expelled from the university; Vitaly Klementyev, a mechanic, and Pelagea Trofimova, an engineer, were demoted at work. Archbishop Flavian [of Gorky] condemned the believers’ desire to open a church from the pulpit.

[16]

MOSCOW. On 18 June Alexander Ginzburg was transferred from Vladimir Prison to a KGB investigation prison (Lefortovo) to give testimony. He is being questioned by Captain V. I. Korkach, senior KGB investigator. As Korkach carried out a search of V. Bukovsky’s flat on 29 March of this year, it can be assumed with some confidence that Ginzburg was sent for in connection with his case.

[17]

LENINGRAD. On 7 June the hunger strike of Vladimir Borisov and Victor Fainberg (see CCE 19.3) in the Special Psychiatric Hospital came to an end. It had lasted 81 days. As yet the Chronicle has no information on the prisoners’ physical state, the conditions of their confinement, or whether their demands were met.

[18]

RIGA. In mid-February there was a hearing of a civil court action brought by Natan Lozovsky, an engineering economist aged 31. He instituted proceedings against the Baltic Institute of Transport alleging that a reference, which the administration of the Institute had issued to him for submission to OVIR, contained false information defamatory to his professional reputation.

During the hearing a member of the public in the courtroom made a tape-recording of the proceedings. The Judge demanded that the recording be stopped, jumped up from his seat and, trying to rip out the tape, struck one of those present. A protest was made about “judges exceeding their authority”. The police were called, the court-room was closed for two hours and four people were detained. They were not released until some hours later.

At the beginning of March the court sat for a second tune. The court announced that it would not consider the case and that the plaintiff could apply to the administrative authorities.

[19]

KIEV. On 21 May Izrail Kleimer, who was carrying a letter from nine Kievan Jews to the national newspapers, taken off the Kiev-Moscow train at Nezhin [Chernigov Region]. The letter contained a protest against trials of Jews pursuing their right to leave for Israel, Kleimer was shown a forged railway ticket, with which, it was alleged, he had attempted to travel on the train. The “operation” was led by a person who gave his name as major Kolomiichuk, chief of police of Nezhin.

Kleimer was informed that he and the other authors of the letter would be brought to trial for forging railway tickets and for slandering Soviet justice.

On 25 May Kleimer and his family were given verbal permission to leave for Israel. Later, when he and his wife had resigned from their jobs, he was told that permission for him to leave had been revoked. As yet I. Kleimer has received no reply to complaints sent by him to various government bodies.

(For information: the removal of Jews from Moscow-bound trains was first noted before and during the 24th Party Congress. Several Jews in Riga and Vilnius were refused the sale of tickets, others were taken off the trains and told that there had been a mistake in the issue of the tickets, and so on.)

[20]

MOSCOW. On 14 June a group of about 25 Jews from Vilnius and Kaunas arrived in Moscow and went to the Reception Room of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs to apply for an interview with Minister Shchelokov or his deputy. (They had applied for an appointment on 28 May.)

The group consisted of persons who had repeatedly received rejections of their petitions to emigrate to Israel. They were received by the USSR head of OVIR [A. V. Verein], but were not given a positive answer. On 16 June they went to the Reception Room of the CPSU Central Committee, where they spoke to Tikhomirov, who was in charge of the Room. It was there that Colonel Ovchinnikov, deputy head of OVIR, gave them the grounds for rejection: “You have received higher and secondary education”.

On 21 and 22 June a group of Lithuanian Jews, together with five Jews from Riga who had joined them, applied to the Reception Room of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, also in vain … At 3 p.m. on 22 June they sent a telegram to Brezhnez, Podgorny and Kosygin declaring that they would hold a hunger strike on the premises of the Central Telegraph Office until they were given a positive answer by the MVD. That evening they were spoken to by an official of the KGB, who called himself “Leonty Kuzmich” but did not give his surname. He strongly urged the hunger-strikers to quit the telegraph office and leave Moscow, promising that their cases would be reconsidered in their respective home towns. Since this promise was given by an unofficial [i.e. non-competent] person, the demand that they leave the telegraph office was rejected.

On 23 and 24 June the telegraph office was visited by officials of the MVD and KGB, who repeated the request that they should leave the office and added that most of them would be given positive answers.

In Vilnius, at 2 p.m. on 24 June, 45 relatives and friends of the hunger-strikers themselves began a hunger strike in their support at the Central Telegraph Office, informing Sneckus, First Secretary of the Lithuanian Central Committee, of their action by telegram. Towards midnight the hunger-strikers were dispersed by police officers.

Since the hunger-strikers at the Moscow telegraph office included women and invalids, and in view of the promises given by officials of the MVD and KGB, the hunger strike was called off at 9 p.m. on 24 June. [49]

On their return home the participants in the hunger strike were again refused permission to leave for Israel. The grounds were as before.

Two days after their return from Moscow Elena Levinaite, Miriam Taicene, Tereli Gotlib and Alexander Falkas were reprimanded; Grigory Abramovich, Lazar Krunberg, Judith Lenze and Sonia Furman were dismissed from their jobs for absenteeism.

[21]

ANGARSK// [E. Siberia]. Jonah Kolchinsky, a young Jew from Kharkov (see CCE 17.8) at present doing his military service in the town of Angarsk (see CCE 18.6), came out in support of the Baltic Jews on hunger strike at the Central Telegraph Office in Moscow. In his telegram of 24 June Kolchinsky asked to be regarded as a participant in the collective hunger strike, and submitted a report to his unit commander asking to be struck off the rations list. V. Chalidze, J. Kolchinsky’s legal proxy, sent an Open to [Minister of Defence] Grechko arguing that Kolchinsky should be demobilised early.

[22]

MOSCOW. The Report on the Organisational and Creative Work of the Moscow Branch of the RSFSR Union of Writers for 1969-70 (Moscow, 1971 – bearing the stamp “For official use”) makes it clear that R. Baumvol and Z. L. Telesin have been expelled from the Writers Union for“expressing in their written statement and verbal conversations opinions sharply at variance with the Constitution of the USSR Union of Writers, and for showing themselves to be writers having nothing in common with the aims and objectives confronting our multi-national Soviet literature”, (p. 9). (Telesin and Baumvol, who are husband and wife, are Jewish poets who desired to leave for Israel, They left the USSR in April 1971.)

The Report also mentions the “reprimand and warning” given to V. Voinovich (see CCE. 18.10, item 3) and the “severe reprimand to be recorded in his personal file” administered to the poet A[leksei Ya.] Markov “for an irresponsible and politically incorrect public statement”. (At a poetry evening given by him at an institute in 1969 Markov expressed disapproval of the existence of so-called “special shops” [open only to high officials]).

[23]

During April and May books by R. Baumvol, I. Kerler and Z. Telesin, who have emigrated to Israel, were withdrawn from libraries and bookshops. [50] This fate usually befalls books by authors who have declared themselves “non-returners” and applied for political asylum in the West (such as, in recent years, A. Belinkov, M. Dyomin, Yu. Krotkov, and A. Kuznetsov).

[24]

On 24 June Mikhail Isaakovich Zand left for Israel. He is an authoritative literary scholar, a specialist on the history of Persian and Tadzhik literature and an expert on //semitology.

Zand was born into the family of a professional Comintern official of Polish-Jewish origin. His father emigrated to the USSR at the end of the 1930s and was purged shortly before the war (later he was posthumously rehabilitated).

After graduating from Moscow University Zand went to work in Tadzhikistan; thanks to his efforts the Russian reader was introduced to the classics of Persian and Soviet Tadzhik literature. In the 1950s and 1960s he worked at the Institute for the Peoples of Asia of the USSR Academy of Sciences (Moscow). A few years ago he published the popular monograph Six Centuries of Glory.

Public statements made by Zand in the late 1960s and early 1970s resulted in his dismissal from work and other measures. In March and April 1971, //among others, he served a fifteen-day sentence at the Criminal Investigation Department in Moscow (38 Petrovka St.), spending the entire period on hunger strike (see CCE 19.7).

On 10 May, after being given an exit visa, Zand and his family prepared for their departure, but the visa was then unexpectedly taken away.

In June he received the visa again, and Zand arrived safely in Israel. [51]

[25]

On 14 May the criminal prosecution of film producer Mikhail Kalik (see CCE 18.6) was discontinued; he was officially informed of this on 23 May.

[26]

MOSCOW. On 1 June, International Children’s Defence Day, youths calling themselves “hippies” and “hairies” gathered in the inner courtyard of the former History Faculty of Moscow University in order to hold a march to the USA embassy with anti-war slogans.

As soon as their “leader” unfurled a banner proclaiming in English “Make love, not war!” (the traditional hippy slogan) and moved towards the arch leading to Herzen St., he and the others (about 150 people) were surrounded by special operations men and vigilantes, who had been waiting there for a long time. The demonstrators were loaded into vehicles: the hairiest were put in Volgas and minibuses, the rest into ordinary buses. They were then taken to various police stations.

It seems that a few days before the demonstration was due to take place someone nick-named “Sun” (an Authority among Moscow hippies) had told them that the demonstration had been approved by the ACCTU [All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions] (!). There are rumours that at the time the young people were detained in the university courtyard, “Sun” was in Pushkin Square, where another demonstration by hairies was expected, but the Chronicle knows nothing of this.

The Chronicle is unable to report to what repression the “hippies” were subjected. It is known only that there were a number of cases in which the Supreme Soviet Decree of December 1962 “On petty hooliganism” was applied, also cases of compulsory psychiatric hospitalisation, of especially hairy youths having their heads shaved, and of prophylactic talks with hippies by officials of the KGB.

[27]

The International League for the Rights of Man (headquarters in New York) has invited the Committee for Human Rights (Moscow) to join. The Committee has joined the League as a Group Member. [52]

On 20 May the Committee elected I. R. Shafarevich as a member. Igor Rostislavovich Shafarevich (b. 1923) is a mathematician and specialist in algebra, a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (since 1958) and a Lenin Prize-winner.

[28]

On 20 May V. N. Chalidze, a member of the Committee for Human Rights, sent a statement “On the persecution of Jewish repatriates” to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet. [53]

Explaining that Zionism is not a reactionary political trend, not anti-communist or anti-Soviet, as represented in our press, but the concept of Jewish statehood, Chalidze calls for “an end to all persecution of repatriates” and “no future violation of the clear human right to leave any country”.

Members of the Committee A. D. Sakharov and A. Tverdokhlebov agreed with the arguments of the letter and associated themselves with its demands.

On 31 May Chalidze sent a letter to the heads of government of the USSR and Israel, calling on them to establish direct consular relations with each other in order to contribute to the solution of the problem of reuniting divided Jewish families in the country where these families wish to be re-united.

Chalidze informed UN Secretary-General U Thant of his missive and asked his help in the establishment of non-political contacts between the USSR and Israel with the object of defending Human Rights.

[29]

On 21 June Vladimir Tvyordokhlebov, Master of chemical sciences and elder brother of Andrei Tvyordokhlebov, member of the Committee for Human Rights, choosing a moment when there was no-one in Andrei’s flat, stole from his study an archive relating to his legal activities. In the opinion of A. Tvyordokhlebov, the theft was to a great extent committed under compulsion.

[30]

Andrei Amalrik, sentenced under Article 190-1 to three years of hard-regime corrective-labour camps, arrived in Kolyma in June. His address: Magadan Region, postbox AV-261/3. (For his trial, see CCE 17.1; for his health in the camps, see CCE 19.11, item 5.)

[Commentary No 20]

20.11 News in Brief

[45] On Maria Rozanova’s letter see article by D. Murarka, The Observer, London, 13 June 1971.

[46] On 30 August 1971 Dremlyuga was reported to have received a new three-year sentence. See, e.g., The Daily Telegraph.

[47] See also V, Chalizde’s letter in support of the Naro-Fominsk believers, dated 28 February 1971, in Possev 5, 1971, p. 8.

[48] This succeeded: Letters sent to the World Council of Churches and the UN, dated 23 September and 4 November 1968, respectively appeared in Russkaya mysl, Paris, 19 June 1969, and in English in Religion in Communist-Dominated Areas, New York, VIII, No. 19-20, 1969.

[49. On this strike see also the Reuter and U.P.I, dispatches of 23 and 24 June.]

[50, The text of the order for this, signed by the head of the Glavlit censorship, P. Romanov, is in the paper Nash strana, 19 August 1971 (Tel-Aviv, Salomon St. 7).]

[51. This case aroused great publicity in the west. See also Zand’s letter of thanks for this in The Times, 7 August 1971.]

[52. For more details see The New York Times, 30 June, and The Times, 9 July.]

[53. Full text in Possev 6, 1971, p. 12.]