23.7 News in Brief

No 23 : 5 January 1972

[1] TASHKENT

At the end of July 1971 two members of the national movement of the Crimean Tatar people were convicted – Aishe Seitmuratova, [101] a [history] lecturer at Samarkand University, and Lenur [or Denur?] Ibragimov, a teacher. They were charged with the preparation and circulation of material slandering the Soviet social and political system (Article 191 [-4] of the Uzbek Criminal Code) and sentenced to three and two years’ imprisonment respectively.

Lithuania

[2]

Jonas Lauce (b. 1917), a teacher of literature and academic administrator at a school in Birzai, was arrested In August 1971. (This fact was reported very briefly, without even giving Lauce’s name, in the “Letter from a group of Lithuanian intellectuals”, see CCE 22.) Lauce had written a four-part novel The Turtle-Dove, about the road taken by the Lithuanian people after the loss of independence in 1940 and about the fate of the Lithuanian partisans.

The investigation was conducted by Major Pilelis. In November 1971, after undergoing a psychiatric examination which had begun in September, Lauce was judged to be of sound mind. Even before his trial Lauce’s wife, who is also a teacher, was banished with their children to a village where there is no school.

On 16-17 December Lauce’s case was considered by the Lithuanian Supreme Court, Judge Misiunas [102] presiding. The Procurator demanded five years’ imprisonment. At the request of his defence counsel, the basis of the charge against Lauce was changed from Article 68 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code to Article 199-1 (equivalent to Articles 70 and 190-1 of the Russian Code). The sentence: two years of corrective-labour camps.

[3]

In Simnas at the beginning of 1971 Antanas Jankauskas [mis-typed in CCE 22 as Jablaskus], a worker born in 1942, was placed in a psychiatric hospital for circulating leaflets. In August he was released, whereupon he wrote a letter to Sneckus, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party. In October he was again placed in a psychiatric hospital, this time in Novovilnia [a suburb of Vilnius]; he is being “treated” with Aminazin and tablets which paralyse the tongue.

[4] ODESSA

On 8 December Nina Strokata [Russian form, Strokataya – CCE //] was arrested by officials of the Odessa KGB [see note 22 – Commentary No 23], When arrested she was on her way from  Nalchik to Odessa, where she was going in order to make the final arrangements for the exchange of her flat. On the same day a search of her Odessa flat was carried out. Two poems [103] by S. Karavansky [her husband] were confiscated, as well as an old book on ethnography and a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets containing a dedication by D[mitry F.] Palamarchuk, the translator, in which N. Strokata is called a Decembrist’s wife. [104] Strokata’s flat in Nalchik was also searched. In connection with the same case the home of L. Tymchuk, a sailor working at the port of Odessa, [105] was searched, but nothing was confiscated.

Strokata has been indicted under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the Russian Code). There is reason to suppose that she was arrested as a result of testimony given by the doctor Alexei Prityka, who was arrested on 9 July. (In addition, A. Prityka’s testimony also resulted in the arrest on 9 November 1971 of the writer Alexei Riznykiv.) The investigation of N. Strokata’s case is being conducted by investigator Rybak.

Nina Antonovna Strokata is the wife of Svyatoslav Karavansky (see CCE 13, 18) and is a scientific worker and microbiologist. N. Strokata has in the past been subjected to administrative persecution (see CCE 18) and vicious attacks in the press (see CCE 21).

[5] Mordovian ASSR [DUBROVLAG]

From 10 November to 10 December Nikolai Bondar carried out a hunger strike (in Dubrovlag, Camp 17-a) in protest at his conviction. From 1968 to 1969 Bondar, who was born in 1939, worked as a lecturer in philosophy at Uzhgorod University [SW Ukraine]; but in 1969 he went to work in a boiler-house (in Cherkassy), having been obliged to leave the university because he had openly expressed his opinion about the “immoderate” festivities marking the Lenin centenary, and had also expressed his discontent at certain acts of the Soviet leadership in the field of foreign policy.

Bondar was arrested in Kiev on 7 November 1970, during the [official] demonstration on the Kreshchatik [main street], where he had mingled with the demonstrators and unfurled a banner criticising the leadership of the Communist Party.

Bondar was also charged with circulating slanderous fabrications defaming the Soviet social and political system, both verbally – among lecturers at the university, and in writing – in statements sent on the eve of 7 November to Redko, head of the department of philosophy of Uzhgorod University, and to Party and State leaders, as well as in his personal correspondence with a friend (all these documents, including the letters to Brezhnev, Kosygin and Podgorny, were attached to the case).

On 12 May 1971 the judicial board of the Kiev Regional Court, Judge Matsko [106] presiding, sentenced Bondar under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the Russian Code) to imprisonment in a strict-regime camp for a period of seven years.

Bondar pleaded not guilty.

[6. KIEV]

The trial of Lupynis (see CCE 22) took place in Kiev on 28 December. The court sent him for compulsory treatment in a psychiatric hospital of special type.

MOSCOW

[7]

At the beginning of January 1972 a medical commission at the Moscow City psychiatric hospital No. 8 (the Solovyov) deemed it possible to discharge Valeria Novodvorskaya (see CCE 11, 13, 21). A court will now have to consider the commission’s decision.

[8]

In August 1971 V. S. Ter-Grigorov, Master of Medical Sciences and author of 60 scientific works [in medical biology], was dismissed from the P. A. Herzen Oncological Institute in Moscow for a speech which he had made at a trade-union meeting.

After condemning the desire of one of the institute’s employees to emigrate to Israel, V. S. Ter-Grigorov objected to a number of groundless and anti-Semitic statements made at the meeting. Not long previously the work which V. S. Ter-Grigorov had been supervising had been put forward for certification as a discovery, and the State Committee for Science and Technology had allocated twenty research workers for its development.

[9]

On 10 December V. N. Chalidze called on the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet to pardon A. A. Amalrik, pointing out the acute deterioration in his health (see CCE [19 and] 20), [107] the existence in Soviet law of the principle “the infliction of physical suffering is not an objective of punishment”, and the lack of an effective procedure for the investigation of infringements of this principle on the initiative of the convicted person or his friends.

[10]

In December 1971 Alexander Dronov, a post-graduate student at the Moscow Oil Institute, was arrested. During a search samizdat literature was confiscated; he has been indicted under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. The KGB has informed the institute that Dronov “is refusing to assist in the investigation”. There is information to the effect that five other persons have been arrested in connection with the same case.

[11]

On 14 December 1971 S. G. Myuge was summoned to the Moscow City Procuracy as a witness, and was questioned by senior investigator Yu. P. Maloyedov. It became clear from what was said that Myuge is still in the category a suspect (see CCE 22).

[12]

A. D. Sakharov, A. N. Tverdokhlebov, V. N. Chalidze and I. R. Shafarevich, the members of the Committee for Human Rights, and A. S. Volpin, one of the Committee’s experts, sent greetings to U Thant on the occasion of a dinner given in his honour [New York, January 1972] by the International League for the Rights of Man to mark his retirement from the post of UN General Secretary. The letter ends with the words:

“In our view, the years of U Thant’s period of office as General Secretary have seen a marked increase in the authority of the UN in the efforts made by all mankind in the defence of Human Rights. There are many who hope that in future the United Nations will be in a position to defend Human Rights not only when the party guilty of their violation is weak, or the cries of the victim reach all ears, but above all when the evil done is especially great”.

[13]

The following exchange of letters took place at the beginning of November 1971:

“To Valery Nikolayevich Chalidze (address).

“The investigation department of the Committee for State Security [KGB] of the USSR Council of Ministers requests you to call at (address) at 5 pm on 9 November 1971 to collect property belonging to you.

“Sevastyanov,

senior investigator of the investigation department of the KGB.

3 November 1971.”

“To A. A. Sevastyanov, KGB investigation department.

“I acknowledge receipt of your letter of 3 November 1971, in which you invite me to call to collect property belonging to me.

“I found this communication gratifying, since although I had given up hope of recovering the items confiscated and did not intend to solicit their return, I nevertheless felt the lack of many of the things which you now wish to return to me.

“I am prepared to accept the property belonging to me at my flat, i.e. at the place where that property was confiscated. I shall be at home at 6 pm on 9 November. If this is not convenient, another date can be arranged. It is possible, of course, that this invitation should be addressed not to you, but to Dmitry Sergeyevich [i.e. KGB Major Yusepchuk], who carried out the search, and naturally it will be alright if my property is delivered by any of the other persons who were at my flat with him.

Chalidze

7 November 1971”

We also give (in an abridged form) the text of the following letter: [108]

“To the USSR Minister of Communications [N. D. Psurtsev].

“I am most aggrieved that yesterday evening, on the anniversary of the foundation of our Committee for Human Rights, Mr. John Carey, chairman of the International League for the Rights of Man, was unable to contact me by telephone for three hours . ..

“I was at home on 4 November and made numerous telephone calls, but . . . the operator told Mr. Carey that there was no reply.

“I am also most aggrieved that the Post Office systematically fails to deliver letters to me from my colleagues abroad dealing with the problem of Human Rights …

“I would remind you of my right to maintain creative contacts with foreign colleagues, of my right to conduct telephone conversations on payment of the appropriate charge, of my right to receive letters by post.

“I would remind you that it is your official responsibility to ensure that these rights are implemented.

Chalidze

5 November 1971.”

[14]

On 5 July 1971 N. V. Podgorny, President of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, was sent a petition for the ratification of the International Pact on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Pact on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966. [109]

The petition was signed by 26 persons. (In late 1968 and early 1969 this petition was signed by 96 persons, but the signatures were confiscated by officials of the KGB during searches, including 86 signatures at the home of Boris Yefimov [see note 57 – Commentary No 23]).

There has as yet been no reply to the petition.

[15]

On 4 December A. I. Solzhenitsyn sent a letter to Mr. K. R. Gierow, Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy [see note 2 – Commentary No 23].

Discussing the factors impeding the presentation to him of the Nobel Prize in a dignified atmosphere, Solzhenitsyn suggests that the ceremony should be arranged in his flat in the presence of a few dozen people invited by himself and the Academy: “. . . this, I think, would provide perfectly dignified circumstances for the public delivery of the Nobel lecture. It is the simplest solution”.

[16]

On 29 December the board of the Moscow Writers’ Organisation expelled Alexander Galich from the Union of Writers. [110] He was expelled because of his songs. Songs mentioned during the three-day discussion which preceded his expulsion included: “I choose freedom”, “Clouds”, “A mistake” and “The prospector’s waltz” [staratelsky valsok].

[17]

Ukraine

On 4 December 1971 Boris Kochubievsky (for his trial see CCE 8) was released from the “Yellow Waters” camp (Dnepropetrovsk Region, postbox YaE 308-26) on completing his sentence. Kochubievsky’s wife was told that he had been transferred to “Yellow Waters” from the “Kiev Hydro-electric” camp for “anti-Soviet agitation”. Vladislav Nedobora, Kochubievsky’s close friend from Kharkov, is still in “Yellow Waters” (see CCE 13 [and 17 and Reddaway, p. 167]).

On 21 December Kochubievsky left to take up permanent residence in Israel. [111]

[18]

On 5 December 1971 Meri Khnokh-Mendelevich left by air for Israel with her eleven-month-old child at the insistence of her husband Arieh Khnokh, who was convicted in the Leningrad “aeroplane case” and who is now in the Mordovian political camps.

[19. RIGA]

Ilya Rips (see CCE 7, 10, 22) left for Israel at the end of December. [112]

[20]

On 11 November 1971 Oleg Georgiyevich Bakhtiyarov (see CCE 13 [and Reddaway, p. 157]) was released on parole nine months before the expiry of his sentence.

[21]

SYKTYVKAR [in the Komi Republic]

In reply to the offer of help by the Netherlands committee of Amnesty International (Boschlaan 15, Leiersum-Utrecht), which was reported in CCE 22, R. I. Pimenov has sent a letter of thanks to J. Budde-Hesp, a representative of the committee. All he would like to be sent by the committee is a Dutch dictionary and information on the subject of persecution for one’s beliefs in various countries.

[22]

The address of Mikhail Yanovich Makarenko (see CCE 16) is: Mordovskaya ASSR, Zubovo-Polyansky district, Ozyorny, institution 385-17-2.

[Commentary No 23]

NOTES

23.7 News in Brief

[101] Aishe Muratova, is the daughter of Seit //(b. 1937). See CCE 20.// for more on her and Ibragimov.

[102] As well as sitting as judge in Lauce’s case Jonas-Algirdas P. Misiunas presided also at S. Kudirka’s trial. See CCE 20.

[103] See a poem by Karavansky, written in Vladimir Prison in 1970, in Ukrainsky visnyk No. 4, Suchasnist, Munich, 1971, p. 109. See also the attack on him in Literaturna Ukraina, Kiev, 21 January 1972.

[104] The Decembrists were a group of liberal aristocrats who tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the tsarist regime in December 1825. Many of their wives gained reputations for heroism by following their husbands into the severe conditions of Siberian exile.

[105] See Tymchuk’s letter in P. Litvinov, The Trial of the Four (English edition due from Longman in summer 1972).

106] Judge Matsko presided at another Ukrainian political trial in 1969. See Reddaway, Uncensored Russia, p. 289.

[107] See also, for details of Amalrik’s near-death on the long journey to N.E. Siberia//, The Times, 25 January 1972.

[108] See background to Chalidze’s letters and extracts from same in a U.P.I. dispatch of 5 November 1971 and The Times, 6 November. See also interviews with Chalidze in The Times, 5 November, and, in a special article by the Rev. Donald Harrington, the New York Times, 20 November. See also the parliamentary report in The Times, 23 March 1972, where Mr. Barnet Janner//, a Labour M.P., asked the British government to protest to the Universal Postal Union about the non-delivery by the Soviet Post Office of mail and telegrams to Soviet Jews. He received a favourable reply.

[109] For texts of the two pacts, see International Agreements//.

[110] See also The Times, 4 January and 6 March, where the expulsion of Galich from the Film-Workers’ Union is reported, and 9 March, where a letter from five colleagues reports that a new heart-attack “seriously threatens his life”. He is 53. The collection of his songs, Pesni, Frankfurt, 1969, contains the last three mentioned here. English versions in G.S. Smith ///.

[111] See a report of a speech by Kochubievsky about his experiences in the newspaper Nasha strana, Salomon St. 7, Tel-Aviv, 5 January 1972.

[112] See Ilya Rips’ interview in the Russian paper Tribuna, Tel-Aviv, 3 January 1972, and in Possev 2, 1972, p. 25.