20.12 Samizdat update

No 20 : 2 July 1971

[1] Herald of the Exodus No. 1 (a collection of documents)

Contents: On the eve of the trials (letters from relatives and friends of the accused in Leningrad, Kishinyov, and Riga); Visits by groups of Jews to USSR government bodies; The departure applications of M. Kalik and V. Slepak; Letters, statements, telegrams, protests, official documents (“Regulations on entering and leaving the USSR” and “On additions and alterations to Resolution No. 59804 of the USSR Council of People’s Commissars (29 April 1942), ‘On rates of state customs duty’”).

[2] V. Chalidze: “A foreigner visited me”, May 1971

This booklet includes records of the searches of Chalidze’s room on 29 March and 7 April (see CCE 19.11, item 25), an Open Letter from Academician Sakharov to Minister of Internal Affairs Shchelokov, the texts of Chalidze’s conversations with a KGB investigator and of confrontation with the Belgian Sebreghts, [55], a commentary to Bryantsev’s article “Under the mask of falsehood” (Izvestia, 19 April 1971) and statements by Chalidze on these subjects sent to various bodies.

[3] M. Kalik, To the Russian intelligentsia. To the editors of Izvestia, Sovetskaya kultura and Literaturnaya gazeta.

An Open Letter in which the author, conscious of being a Jew and at the same time a Russian intellectual, reflects on the fortunes of “those who leave” and “those who remain”. [56]

[4] Social Problems, No. 10. March-April 1971. Compiled by V. N. Chalidze.

This issue contains Jerzy Savicki’s article “A lawyer’s reflections on criticism” and A. S. Volpin’s report to the Committee [for Human Rights], “The International Pact on Civil and Political Rights and Soviet law”.

The Polish lawyer’s article, from Tribuna ludu of 1 January 1962, was written as a discussion of a draft of the Polish Criminal Code. In it he examines problems of the freedom of criticism in a socialist system. The code, he says, lacks legal guarantees of the freedom to criticize, one of the reasons for this being the authorities’ fear of the consequences of criticism. It is true that the complete elimination of criticism, as Savicki writes, “is impossible to achieve, even in the conditions of a relationship between the regime and the citizen such that the public discussion of anything at all is absolutely prohibited, and in the name of law and order—and to preserve the authority of the regime—citizens are instructed to channel all their critical observations only through their superiors, who ’know better how to extirpate evil’ ”

The author points out that certain periods are characterised by “hostility towards any legal norms”. In order to prevent the growth of “the sphere left completely to the discretion of the authorities” he considers it essential to introduce legal norms guaranteeing freedom of criticism and limiting the risk from “incorrect” criticism.

His concrete proposals are: sanctions against the suppression of criticism, verification of the real motives of the administration (when, for example, a critical person is dismissed in a way ostensibly within the framework of legality). “The security of the critic must be increased to the utmost”, J. Savicki urges.

In his report Volpin sets out his thoughts on the extent to which the USSR satisfies the pre-conditions for the ratification and observation of the Pact on Civil and Political Rights. Part of the report is devoted to the Pact on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (The texts of the Pacts were published in the [Soviet] book The Soviet Union and the United Nations Organisation, 1968, 4,800 copies). A, S. Volpin finds that the rights acknowledged in the first Pact are already reflected in Soviet law and in the conventions which the USSR has joined, with the sole exception of the “right to strike”. When the second Pact comes into force a UN Committee for Human Rights will be formed, empowered to examine violations of the rights acknowledged in the Pact. The author presumes that the USSR, if it ratifies the Pact, will be an active member of the Committee and will recognise (although such recognition is not obligatory) the competence of the Committee to examine complaints emanating from states (but not petitions from private individuals).

The rights acknowledged in the Pact are also acknowledged by Soviet law. The main question under discussion is therefore the restriction of these rights in the USSR: is this compatible with the requirements of the Pact? Articles 12 (the right to enter and leave a country), 18 (the right to freedom of thought), 19 (freedom of information) and 22 (freedom of association) might here be singled out for comparison with the situation, laws and practices existing in the USSR.

Although many rights acknowledged by the Pact are poorly observed in the USSR, this is due not so much to our laws as to social institutions and traditions, which also determine the quality of legal proceedings. Ratification of the Pact cannot of itself alter this state of affairs. Although the author sees a need to make certain changes the law, he considers that on the whole the USSR is legally prepared for adherence to the Pact.

The last item in this issue is a record of the meeting of Committee for Human Rights on 28 April, at which it was decided that the affiliation of the Committee to the International League for the Rights of Man as a group member was acceptable.

[5] Veche No. 2, 19 May 1971.


5.1. A statement by the editors of Veche. [57] The journal is illegal. It is pointed out that the name and address of its chief editor, V. N. Osipov, are given. The editors reject the description of the journal as “extremely chauvinist”.

5.2.      Commentary by the editors on the work by M. F. Antonov (see below).

5.3.      M. Antonov: “The teaching of the Slavophiles as the zenith of popular consciousness in Russia in the pre-Lenin period” (Contd.)

The views of A. S. Khomyakov are expounded: he was a conservative, not a reactionary. It must be remembered that he lived and worked more than a hundred years ago. The [1917] October Revolution was a genuinely popular revolution—the “communal way of life” [obshchinny uklad), undistorted by “Western formalism” and so on. Orthodoxy is the “highest form” of Christianity and that which best corresponds to the spirit of the Russian people.

5.4.      “Shafts of thought”. The remarks of an anonymous author on Russia and Orthodoxy.

5.5       “On the forthcoming Assembly”. A statement on the extra-ecclesiastical activities of Metropolitan Nikodim by Nikolai Gainov, minister of the church of the Holy Trinity, and others. The authors protest at the resurrection of the Living Church [obnovlenchestvo] ideology [i.e. close collaboration with the State] in a new form.

5.6. “General M. D. Skobelev [1843-82] as soldier and statesman”. The author is not indicated.

5.7       Anna Barkova: “Tatar melancholy” and other poems. A poetess of the older generation; spent many years in the camps. She has not been published since 1920.

5.8       Mikhail Morozov: “Some remarks on contemporary literary developments”. An assessment is given of many contemporary writers, poets and critics:

“Our literature is vital, its mighty organism nourished by our thousand-year-old culture and by the particular spirituality peculiar to the Russian, and however hard it may be at times for it to breathe, nothing can interrupt its eternal, revivifying breath.”

5.9       “Tom Thumb, or the bard of the ‘sexual revolution’.” A pasquinade by an anonymous author (about A[ndrei] Voznesensky).

5.10     Under the heading “Criticism and biography”: “Mysticism before the tribunal of Shakhnovich” [58] (edited by N. Bogdanov), “In the murk of foreign parts” (notes by V. Osipov on a book [59] by B. N. Alexandrovsky, a former émigré), “Memoirs of a meteor” (comments by A. Skuratov on the memoirs of A, F. Kerensky).

5.11     “Our mail”: a letter on the views of N. A. Berdyaev; a statement by an Orthodox priest on the moral state of the Russian nation; a letter from L. Rendel [a historian imprisoned from 1957-67].

5.12     The “Chronicle” section of Veche No. 2 reports the death of the poet N. M. Rubtsov; [60] Vladimir Maximov’s novel The Seven Days of Creation; the Naro-Fominsk affair (see this issue, CCE 20.11, item 15); the dismissal of Yu. D. Ivanov from his job [senior lecturer at Moscow University] for Slavophile sympathies expressed in the pages of [the journal] Molodaya gvardiya [62].

[6] V. Lapin: “On the discussion of the problem of capital punishment”.

A letter to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet of 18 May 1971 (CCE 17.13, item 4 — Lapin: “On the abolition of capital punishment” [full text Vestnik RSKLD 99, 1971]).

This continuation of the correspondence with the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet was provoked by reply from P. Sedugin, deputy head of the Legal Department of the [Presidium of the] Supreme Soviet, that “the proposal to abolish capital punishment was discussed during the preparation [in the late 1950’s] of the Fundamentals of the Criminal Law of the USSR and the Union Republics, and was rejected.”

[7] V. Nikitenkov: Open Letter of 12 May 1971 [63]

Doctor Vasily Nikolayevich Nikitenkov, who together with his wife was placed in a psychiatric hospital after an attempt to enter the American embassy on 16 March (see CCE 19.11, item 1), appeals to all honourable people to help his family.

[8] Yu. Glazov : [64] “To Israel …”, 26 May 1971.

An essay on the newly arisen Jewish problem with a brief excursion into history.

[9] K. Burzhuademov: “Anti-Galbraith”

The author demonstrates the superiority of a free market economy over a feudal-directive economy. Polemicising with Galbraith, author of the book The New Industrial Society, Burzhuademov denies that any large-scale enterprise can be progressive. There are interesting parallels between modern production and the world of nature, between interfering with the economic structure and upsetting the biological equilibrium.

The author uses the word “socialism” in an unusual sense: by socialism he understands nationalisation, the consolidation of production in the hands of the State.

The author protests at the fact that the bourgeois ideals of hard work, thrift and prosperity are held in haughty and feudal [feodalnobarsky] contempt. Appendices contain an exposition of the author’s views on communist ideology and the prospects of the democratic movement, and also a response to A. Amalrik’s work Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984?

[10] V. Voskresensky: “For my friends”

A collection of poems by the young Moscow poet, a member of SMOG, [65] who was associated with the unofficial publications Sphinx, The Russian Word and so on. He died tragically in January 1970.

[Commentary No 20]

20.12 Samizdat update

[54 For the text of this Resolution: see Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, No. 4, 1942, pp. 74-79.)

[55. For some details see Possev 4, 1971, p. 8, and 5, 1971, pp. 22- 24.] ,

[56. This letter, dated 5 May, has appeared in National Zeitung, Basel (date unknown).]

[57. Text in Possev 5, 1971, p. 8.]

[58. Prof. M. I. Shakhnovich, a Soviet specialist on the history of religion and atheism and author of a number of works attacking mysticism, para-psychology and so on.]

[59. From My Experiences in Foreign Parts: Reminiscences and Reflections of a former émigré (Moscow, Mysl publishing house, 1969), reviewed in Molodaya gvardiya, 3, 1970, pp. 292-6.]

[60, Aged 35. See notices also in Literaturnaya Rossiya, 22 January 1971,

[62. See articles by Ivanov in Nos 2, 6 and 12 of Molodaya gvardiya, 1969.]

[63. See extracts in The Washington Post and The Daily Telegraph, 22 May 1971, This was written in the Central Moscow Regional Clinical Psychiatric Hospital on 8 March Street.]

[64. A well-known linguist who has signed several protest letters.]

[65. SMOG – A loosely-knit group of young writers which flourished in the 1960s, The name is made up of the initials of the Russian words for “boldness, thought, image, depth”. See Vokresensky’s poems in Grani, No. 66, 1967, pp, 20-21.]