On the railway line running southeast from Moscow to Ryazan and eastwards to Ruzayevka (in Mordovia) lies the station of Zubova Polyana, 441 kilometres from Moscow. The next station, Potma, is 455 kilometres from Moscow.
From Potma, a narrow-gauge line runs north, used by wagons bearing the inscription “Property of ZhKh-385”, to the corrective colony called Institution ZhKh-385 or “Dubrovlag”. Political prisoners, with the exception of those sentenced under Articles 190-1, 190-2 and 190-3 of the RSFSR Criminal Code, or the corresponding articles of the other Soviet republics, are held in this colony (and in Institution VS-389, see CCE 33.5 “In the Perm camps”), together with people accused of “especially dangerous crimes against the State”. The prisoners in these two penal colonies come from all over the Soviet Union, not just from the Russian Republic. The Chronicle does not know whether such types of prisoner are also held in other camps.
The political prisoners at Institution ZhKh-385 are held in camps 1, 3, 17 and 19 (see Map 3), and their addresses are, correspondingly, “Institution ZhKh-385/1”, etc. Camps 1, 17 and 19 are situated in the Zubovo-Polyana district of the Mordovian ASSR; camp 3 is in Mordovia’s Tengushevsky district.
Camp 1 is in the settlement of Sosnovka, which is the first rail station north after Potma. The headquarters of Institution ZhKh-385 are in the settlement of Yavas, roughly halfway north along the narrow-gauge branch-line.
Camp 17 is in the settlement of Ozerny, which is 18 kilometres west of Yavas. The road from Yavas to Ozerny is in such a state that the prisoners call it “the road of death”: there have been instances when prisoners travelling over this road in Black Marias (they are divided into tiny single compartments with nothing for the person inside to hold on to) have suffered broken bones, concussion, etc.
Camp 19 is in the settlement of Lesnoi, six kilometres from the Shala rail-station. Transport from Shala to Lesnoi is by rail trolley.
Camp 3 is situated in the settlement of Barashevo, the final station on the narrow-gauge line. Women political prisoners are kept in camp 3 (zone 4). The hospital of Institution ZhKh-385 is also in camp 3 (zone 2).
CAMP 1 (Special Regime)
The prisoners in camp 1 are kept under special-regime conditions. (Up to 1971 or thereabouts, the special-regime camp was camp 10, near the station of Leplei.) The camp building consists of 12 cells for prisoners, four punishment cells, a workshop, and rooms for the guards and administration offices. Three small exercise courtyards, with latrines, adjoin the building. Each prison cell (15 square metres [i.e. three by five] is for eight persons; it has two-tier bunks, a table, a bench, a hanging cupboard and a latrine bucket. The prisoners’ cells are dark and damp; about two mattresses per year per prisoner rot because of this. The workshop (14m x 12m x 3.2m) is also damp – the ceiling steams up, and moisture trickles down the walls.
The work is hard and extremely unhealthy – grinding glass with abrasive cast-iron wheels. Abrasive silicose dust hangs in the air, and there is no ventilation. Nor is any special clothing provided. A medical commission ruled that the work was unhealthy, but, nonetheless, refused to grant extra milk rations for the prisoners. The working day lasts eight hours. The prisoners include many criminal offenders who have been sentenced under political articles while in the camps.
Ivan Andreyevich Gel (Ukr. Hel, see CCE 24, 27, and 28) is in camp 1. On 16 October he started a hunger strike, declaring it was “to the death” (i.e. with no time limit), demanding
— the granting of special status to political prisoners;
— permission for the International Red Cross to have access to political prisoners;
— the removal of MVD authority over medical services in labour camps (he himself has suffered from severe headaches for a long time but has not been given the necessary medical treatment);
— and the registration of his marriage with the woman who is his natural-law wife (they have a child, which is usually considered sufficient grounds for the registration of a marriage, but they have been trying to get registration for nearly three years, without success).
At the beginning of 1974 a group of political prisoners in camp 17 protested to the highest authorities against being held with war criminals.
In 1974, in camp 17, Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Chornovil (see CCE 7, 24, 29) went on hunger strike. In this way Chornovil hoped to obtain permission for a visit by his natural-law wife, A. Pashko. After the hunger strike, the visit was allowed. Chornovil stated that if further visits were forbidden he would go on an indefinite hunger strike. Chornovil and his wife cannot obtain permission for their marriage to be registered.
Later Chornovil was transferred from camp 17 to camp 19.
Ilya Glezer (see CCE 24, 25, 27) is also in camp 17.
CCE 32 has already reported the unsuccessful attempt by a group of political prisoners in camp 19 to send a letter addressed to the Committee for Human Rights in Moscow. A subsequent attempt succeeded. The letter is dated March-April 1974, and has six signatories: K. A. Lyubarsky, B. P. Azernikov, B. S. Penson, A. M. Goldfeld, Z, V. Popadyuk and S. A. Babich.
The writers of the letter describe in detail the prison regime under which political prisoners in the camps are kept: the administration’s tyranny, the continuous illegalities it practices with the aid of all kinds of supplementary orders and directives (for example, “Order Number 020”, CCE 33.2). They ask the Committee “to consider the conditions in which political prisoners are held in Soviet labour camps”, and “to study not only the existing laws controlling the life of political prisoners, but also how these laws are in actual fact being implemented”. The writers of the letter also regret that the term “political prisoner” is not used in Soviet laws, and that the existence of political prisoners in the Soviet Union is denied.
What happened subsequently to those who wrote this letter?
On 20 September K. A. Lyubarsky (see CCE 24-28, 32) was transferred from camp 19 to camp 17. On 7 October Lyubarsky went on hunger strike “to the death” over the question of his books. According to camp regulations a prisoner has the right:
— one, to keep in his zone (in his barrack or in the store – the “kaptyorka”) up to 50 kilograms of personal effects (any surplus has to be kept in an outer store, i.e. outside his zone);
— two, the prisoner has the right to keep with him up to five books.
Until now, prisoners, including Lyubarsky himself when in camp 19, have always been allowed to decide for themselves what the 50 kilograms to be kept in the zone should consist of. Lyubarsky had selected books as the greater part of his 50 kilograms; but the administration of camp 17 suddenly announced that he would be allowed to keep only five books inside the zone, whether with him or in the store.
It was then that Lyubarsky went on hunger strike “to the death”, demanding that the administration observe its own rules, On 15 October the administration admitted they had been wrong and promised to return the books. On 16 October, however, Lyubarsky was taken to Yavas, for trial. And it was only when he entered the courtroom that he realized he was going to be tried. This was an administrative trial, held at the request of the authorities of camp 17, in spite of the fact that in that camp Lyubarsky had only been penalized once – he was given a reprimand for talking to other prisoners during work. (It is known to the Chronicle that he had the permission of the foreman to do so, as he was still a “learner” and had to familiarize himself with a new type of job.)
At the trial in Yavas Lyubarsky was accused of breaking the regulations on 15 occasions (he had earlier appealed against these charges, but the Procurator had replied only once). The administration declared that Lyubarsky had not embarked on the path of reform and that he was exerting a harmful influence on younger people. The Procurator, too, declared that Lyubarsky had not embarked on the path of reform; in addition, he said, Lyubarsky had not changed his beliefs. The court ordered Lyubarsky to be transferred to a prison for the remainder of his sentence.
Lyubarsky was taken at once from Yavas to Potma. On 17 October he was dispatched under convoy. On 20 October he was already in Vladimir Prison. For the first two months there he was kept on the strict regime (as allowed by law), but for the first month he was on punishment rations: this is not provided for by law, but is applied to nearly every prisoner. Towards the end of October, Malva Landa and the Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights in the USSR lodged protests against the transfer of Lyubarsky to Vladimir Prison.
In the spring of 1974, B. P. Azernikov and B. S. Penson were transferred from camp 19 to camp 3.
Before transfer, Penson, one of those sentenced in the trial of the “aeroplane people” (CCE 17.6), was put in the camp prison for 15 days for “infringement of the regulations on clothing”.
Boris Azernikov is a dental surgeon. In accordance with Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code he was sentenced to 3.5 years for “participation in a Zionist organization” [see CCE 23]. His sentence was due to end in February 1975.
A.M. Goldfeld, whose release was reported in CCE 32, has already left for Israel.
CCE 32 reported the transfer of Shakirov to Vladimir Prison. As far as is known, B. A. Shakirov was sentenced to eight (?) years’ imprisonment under articles corresponding to Articles 64 and 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code; he was charged with Uzbek nationalism and attempting to cross the border.
Antanas Sakalauskas, one of those sentenced in the Lithuanian “trial of the five” (CCE 32), has been delivered to camp 19.
Roman Semenyuk (CCE 27) has been transferred from Vladimir Prison to camp 19.
CCE 32 reported the arrival in camp 19 of Lyubomir Staroselsky, arrested “at his school bench”. Additional details have now become known, which show that issue 32 was inaccurate in one respect, Staroselsky was born on 8 May 1955, and his co-defendant, Roman Kolopach, on 12 November 1954. Staroselsky finished school after the ninth year and started working. On the night of 8-9 May 1972 Staroselsky and Kolopach put out two yellow-and-blue Ukrainian nationalist flags in the village of Stebnik (Lvov Region). On that date neither of them had reached the age of 18.
On 19 February 1973 the Lvov Region Court found Staroselsky and Kolopach guilty of actions under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the RSFSR Code) and Article 187-2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (Article 190-2 of the RSFSR Code). They were charged under Article 62 for putting out Ukrainian nationalist flags, and under Article 187-2 (“defiling the State emblem or flag”) because the flags incorporated some blue cloth torn by Kolopach from the red-and-blue flag of the Soviet Ukraine. The court sentenced Kolopach to three years, and L.Z. Staroselsky to two years’ imprisonment. Both youths were taken into custody only after sentence had been passed, so their term of imprisonment began on 19 February 1973.
Two of the four leaders of the All-Russian Social-Christian Union for the Liberation of the People or ASCULP (see CCE 1.6, and CCE 19.4 “The fate of the leaders of ASCULP”), are in camp 19: Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Vagin, head of the organisation’s “ideological section”, by profession a literary scholar; and Boris Anatolevich Averichkin, a lawyer, “in charge of the organization’s documents”. Their sentences began in March 1967.
Anatoly Ivanovich Ivanov is a prisoner in the Mordovian camps (seemingly in camp 19). A. I. Ivanov was born in 1939, in the town of Vyazma. Up to the time of his arrest he was working in Moscow as a taxi driver. He lived in Odintsovo (a suburb of Moscow). He is married and has one son. In February 1971 the Moscow Region Court sentenced him to five years in labour camps under Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code.
The charge against him was that, from 1969 onwards, he had been writing poems and other material in which he had “crudely distorted the life and history of the Soviet people, the activity of the party and the government, had poured scorn on Soviet democracy and had exaggerated isolated shortcomings”. In addition, he was charged with:
- the text of an appeal to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, in which he requested permission to emigrate to the USA;
- describing the sending of troops into Czechoslovakia as an occupation;
- expressing dissatisfaction that citizens’ constitutional rights cannot be exercised in practice;
- and conversations with workmates in which “he declared that the policy of the party creates disorder and is against the people, and that it was essential for an opposition party to be formed”.
During the pre-trial investigation A. I. Ivanov expressed his regret for “having acted wrongly when making such statements”. At his trial, he pleaded not guilty.
In December 1973 Alexander Aleksandrovich Petrov-Agatov (Agatov is a literary pseudonym) arrived in camp 19 from Vladimir Prison. Petrov-Agatov was in the past a Communist, a leading member of the Stavropol Region Party Committee. He is the author of the words of the well-known song “Dark Night” (from the film “Two Warriors”).
In 1947 Petrov-Agatov was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda because of some critical remarks about Stalin, and in June 1948, he was sentenced to imprisonment by the [extra-judicial] Special Board. He escaped from the camps on five occasions. Each escape was declared to have been counter-revolutionary sabotage and for each he was sentenced to an additional term of imprisonment. In 1956 Petrov-Agatov was released and legally exculpated.
Following his release Petrov-Agatov worked as an assistant to the Minister of Culture of the Checheno-Ingush Autonomous Republic. His works were widely published and is song “My Checheno-Ingushetia” became almost a national anthem in the Republic.
In 1960 Petrov-Agatov was again arrested. He was released in 1967. The circumstances of this case are not known.
After his second release Petrov-Agatov continued writing and translating. He did many translations of poems by Yandiev, Raisa Akhmatova, Akhmet Vedzizhev and Mutalibov. He has translated works by almost all the Chechen and Ingush poets. In 1967 a cycle of his own verse lyrics was published in the journal Prostor (Kazakhstan), and another selection of his poems was published in 1968, in the journal Neva (Leningrad), number three. His short novel The Secret of the Old Church was also published in Neva in issue eight, 1968.
On 26 July 1968 Petrov-Agatov was arrested once more. The indictment in his case reads:
On 26 July 1968, by order of the Directorate for Moscow and Moscow Region of the KGB at the USSR Council of Ministers, A. A. Petrov was arrested for conducting anti-Soviet agitation. The investigation carried out in connection with this case has established that, starting in 1943, Petrov wrote, kept and distributed various poems of an anti-Soviet nature… . Later, A. A. Petrov copied into notebooks the anti-Soviet verses he had written between 1943 and 1953 and kept them with the intention of distributing them at some future date.
In 1968 Petrov produced a handwritten book of poems which he called Songs of Hope and Faith. In this handwritten collection Petrov included anti-Soviet poems which he had written in 1943-1953, … and which contain libellous fabrications defaming the Soviet political and social system, while, in addition, the poems ‘To God’, ‘The United States of America’ and ‘To President Johnson’ contain calls for the overthrow of the Soviet regime. … In July 1968, moreover, he wrote an anti-Soviet text called ‘Epilogue’.”
The sentence was seven years under Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code.
In camp Petrov-Agatov wrote a documentary work of an autobiographical nature – Encounters with Convicts. This work, and a number of poems from the collection Songs of Hope and Faith (“Kolyma Track”, To God”, “Twenty- Six”, “The Sword of Gumilyov”) have been published in the West. In November 1970 Petrov-Agatov was sent to Vladimir Prison for three years. He arrived in camp 19 in December 1973.
During 1973 Z. V. Popadyuk, S, G, Dreizner, K, A. Lyubarsky, P. A. Airikyan, B. A. Shakirov, N. Budulak-Sharygin, A. Pasilis, A. I. Ivanov, V. O. Mogilever, I. Zalmanson and R. Z. Semenyuk each spent six months in the cell-type premises (a form of camp prison) in camp 19.
- P. Azernikov spent three months in the cell-type premises during 1973.
In 1974 Vladimir Mogilyover (CCE 20.1) and Alexis Pasilis were released at the end of their terms of imprisonment.
Pasilis was sentenced in 1970, in the town of Klaipeda, to four years’ imprisonment for distributing pamphlets and for hanging out Lithuanian national flags. He was charged under Article 68 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code (which corresponds to Article 70 of the RSFSR Code). His co-defendants were Silinskas and Balkaitis. In the winter of 1973-1974 Pasilis was taken to Vilnius, “to be educated”. On 16 February he was taken back to Mordovia but to a different camp. At the end of August Alexis Pasilis was returned to Vilnius and there set free. The local police have placed him under administrative surveillance for six months.
Near the office-block in camp 19 a notice is posted headed, “THEY HAVE EARNED THE HIGHEST TRUST OF THE LAW”. At the request of the administration, and by order of the supervisory commission, it says, the following persons have been granted a remission of the remainder of their terms by being given pardons or by commutation of their sentences. This is because of their conscientious work, exemplary behaviour and active participation in the public affairs [of the camp]: M. V. Elin, M. R. Potseluiko, A, N. Vashchenko, A, V, Stapchinsky, V, A. Pupelis, J. J. Rubenis, F. F, Klimenko and P. A. Kalva.
Who, in fact, are these people?
Elin – a former soldier who defected to West Germany, returned voluntarily, and received a ten-year sentence in accordance with Article 64 of the RSFSR Criminal Code; in camp he worked as senior electrician.
Potseluiko – took part in mass murders during the German occupation; he personally hanged a number of people, his sentence was 25 years, and in camp he worked as senior foreman.
Vashchenko – worked as a chief of police under the Germans during the occupation and took part in mass murders; his sentence was 25 years, and in camp he was in charge of the stores.
Stapchinsky – worked as a Gestapo interrogator; he was first sentenced to 25 years and later received another 25-year sentence for participating in the Vorkuta camp uprising; in camp he was a senior foreman.
Pupelis and Rubenis – served in the German army, both of them got 25 years; in camp Pupelis was in charge of the seed-beds, and Rubenis was his assistant.
Klimenko – arrested in March 1969 on account of a manuscript (evidently of an autobiographical nature) and during his pre-trial investigation gave false evidence against P. Litvinov and L. Bogoraz [CCE 8]; his sentence was five years; the handwritten texts of Klimenko’s denunciations have been found.
Kalva – a ten-year sentence for participating in the Latvian partisan movement; in the camp he worked as a construction engineer; he was pardoned three months before his sentence expired.
There are, at present, 22 women in the fourth (female) zone of camp 3 [cf CCE 15.8]:
(1) Darya Yuryevna Gusyak, Ukrainian (b. 1924), member of OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists], sentence — 25 years. Imprisoned since 1950, from 1950 to 1969 in Vladimir Prison. At present almost blind, suffers from dermatitis.
(2) Maria Ivanovna Palchak, Ukrainian (b. 1922 or 1927), member of OUN, Arrested in 1960 or 1961, sentenced to be shot but sentence commuted to 15 years.
(3) Nina Antonovna Strokata, Ukrainian (b. 1925), microbiologist. Arrested December 1971 under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (Corresponding to Article 70 of the RSFSR Code), sentenced to four years. Strokata is suffering from an oncological illness. Once every six months she is taken to a cancer clinic in Rostov-on-Don for examination. In 1974 Strokata was elected an honorary member by the American Association of Microbiologists. Her husband Svyatoslav Karavansky (CCE 13.7, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, and 32) is now serving his 25th year of imprisonment. He is presently in camp 1. His term ends in 1979.
(4) Irina Mikhailovna Senik, Ukrainian (b. 1925). Was imprisoned from 1944 to 1954. In October 1972 she was arrested again (see CCE 28, 29, 32). Her sentence was six years of camps and three years in exile. Irina Senik is an invalid of the second degree (she has either tuberculosis or a fractured spine).
(5) Stefania Mikhailovna Shabatura, Ukrainian (b. 1938), is a commercial artist. Arrested January 1972 under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, sentenced to five years in camps and three years’ exile (CCE 28, 32).
(6) Irina Onufrievna Stasiv-Kalynets, Ukrainian (b. 1940), a poetess. Arrested January 1972 under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, sentenced to six years in camps and three years’ exile (CCE 28, 29, 32). In the spring of 1974 Irina Stasiv began feeling the first acute symptoms of a renal disease (the preliminary diagnosis was nephritis); after a period in hospital her condition became more stable. Her husband Igor Kalynets (CCE 28, 32) was arrested shortly after his wife’s trial. He received the same sentence and is now in camp 35 in the Perm complex. Their 12-year-old daughter lives with her grandmother in Lvov.
(7) Nadezhda Alekseyevna Svetlichnaya, Ukrainian (b. 1936). Arrested in April 1972 under Article 62 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code; sentenced to four years in labour camps, to be followed by exile (CCE 29, 32), Svetlichnaya is a sick woman (she has arachnitis, hepatitis and latent tuberculosis). Her brother Ivan Alekseyevich Svetlichny (CCE 29) is in camp No. 35 in the Perm complex. Her four-year-old son lives with relatives in Kiev.
(8) Galina Vladimirovna Selivonchik (b. 1937). In 1969 she, her husband and brother tried to hi-jack a plane (her husband being killed in the attempt); she was sentenced to 13 years in camps and five years’ exile (see CCE 15.8, 16.5).
(9) Anna Moiseyevna Kogan (b. 1920), worked for the KGB, was a Party member. Arrested in 1969, sentenced to seven years. She was tried together with her son. Her son Boris Sokolov (b. 1941), a worker, was sentenced to four years and is now in camp 35 in the Perm complex [see below]. Details of their case are not known.
(10) Alexandra Khvotkova, convicted for the second time for her membership of the TOC (“Truly Orthodox Church”).
(11) Irina Andreyevna Kireyeva, second conviction for being a member of the TOC.
(12) Anastasia Andreyevna Volkova, sister of I. A. Kireyeva; second conviction for being a member of the TOC.
(13) Klavdia Volkova, second conviction for membership of TOC.
(14) Maria Pavlovna Semyonova (b. 1925); third conviction for membership of the TOC, She finished her second term of imprisonment in, it appears, 1971 (CCE 15.8).
(15) Nadezhda Usoyeva (b. 1942). Convicted for TOC membership.
(16) Tatyana Sokolova (b. 1934). Convicted for TOC membership.
(17) Glafira Kuldysheva (b. 1929). Convicted for TOC membership.
(18) Raisa Ivanova (b. 1929). Convicted for TOC membership. Ivanova refused to work in the camp and was sent away for psychiatric examination, from which she never returned. It is assumed that she was sent to a Special Psychiatric Hospital. The prisoners consider Ivanova mentally healthy.
(19) Natalya Frantsevna Gryunvald (b. 1912). Sentenced to 25 years (CCE 15.8). Her son, sentenced with her at the same trial, is now in camp 35 in the Perm camp complex.
(20) Vera Iosifovna Kiudene, Lithuanian (b. 1919), a peasant. Arrested in 1967 for her participation in the post-war Lithuanian resistance movement. CCE 15.8 stated that Kiudene was mentally ill. No information is available on her present state of health.
(21) Yekaterina Aleshina (?), apparently Mordovian. Sentenced for membership of the TOC.
(22) Tatyana Pavlovna Krasayeva (b. 1904). Sentenced to seven years. There is no information about her case.
In September 1974, responding to an appeal in the New Times magazine (no 13, 1974), Svetlichnaya, Stasiv-Kalynets, Strokata and Shabatura handed a statement to the administration. They requested permission to contribute to the fund for victims of the Chilean junta with money they had earned in the camp. Their request was refused.
They also asked for permission to send delegates from among the women political prisoners to a congress of the Women’s International Democratic Federation. This request was also refused.
Lyubarsky, Azernikov, Penson, Popadyuk, Babich, I. Zalmanson and Petrov-Agatov addressed an open letter to the Women’s International Democratic Federation:
There are not many of these women, altogether only 20 to 30. We do not wish to discuss here the question of whether or not their conviction was just or lawful. Political disagreements are long-drawn-out affairs, while these women are suffering now. We only want to ask whether the power of a mighty State would really be undermined, whether the power which disposes of a gigantic apparatus would be weakened, by the release of two dozen women? Waging war on women cannot be a sign of strength.
“They must be freed! What better opportunity could there be for a State which proclaims itself the most humane in the world to prove the sincerity of its declarations? We appeal to you, women democrats: demand that the Soviet government release its women political prisoners … They are your sisters. Help them. That would be not an act of politics, but an act of humanity.”
At the end of August 1974, six years before her sentence was due to end, Silva Zalmanson (see CCE 17.6, 32) was unexpectedly pardoned. She left for Israel at the beginning of September. Silva’s husband Edward Kuznetsov, and her brother Izrail, are in the Mordovian camps (Kuznetsov is in camp 1; I. Zalmanson is in camp 3); her other brother, Vulf Zalmanson, is in camp 36 in the Perm complex.
 For detailed ground plans of camp 1, and a typical cell there, see Amnesty International Report, 1975.
 CCE 35 reports that Staroselsky was released, probably, in early 1974, and also points to the illegality of his having been put in a camp for adults, after the verdict had specified he was to be kept in a juvenile camp for his whole term.
 This document reached the West in 1975, with related documents, but was not published that year. For Petrov-Agatov and his works see CCE 10, 17 and 27
 On the involvement of Pasilis’ mother, B. Pasiliene, in the case of Sergei Kovalyov see CCE 34 and 35.
 On the “Truly Orthodox Church” see W. C. Fletcher, The Russian Orthodox Church Underground: 1917-1970, London, 1971.
 CCE 35 reports that in October 1974 Raisa Ivanova was ruled to be mentally ill and sent to the hospital in camp 3.