25.2 – Searches, Interrogations, Arrests [January to May 1972]

<< No 25 : 20 May 1972 >>

MOSCOW

On 20 April 1972 the arrest took place of the store-keeper of the Institute of Psychology of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Pyotr Petrovich Starchik, born in 1937. He has two children—the elder is 6, the younger 10 months. The investigation into his case is being carried out by the head of the KGB investigation department for Moscow and the Moscow region, Major Bardin, Starchik has been charged under article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code.

In April a search was carried out in connection with case No. 24 (CCE 24) at the home of Vyacheslav and Olga Velikanov (CCE 21).

On 6 May 1972 a series of searches was carried out: in connection with case No. 24 at the homes of P. Yakir, A. Yakobson, G. Podyapolsky (all three are members of the Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights in the USSR), and at the home of I. Kaplun and O. Iofe (CCE 16), I. Kristi, V. Gershovich, V. Gusarov, E. Armand (the grand-niece of [Lenin’s companion] Inessa Armand), A[ndrei] Dubrov, V. Batshev, V[ladimir] Albrekht, N. P. Lisovskaya, V. M. Makatinskaya and L. E. Pinsky (a literary critic and member of the Union of Soviet Writers).[1] Searches were carried out in connection with case No. 370 (probably the case of K. Lyubarsky, CCE 24) at the home of Yu. Shikhanovich;[2] in connection with case No. 374 (probably the case of P. Starchik, see above) at the homes of K. K. Draffen and Lakhov. There is evidence that in connection with case No. 374 yet another series of searches has been carried out.

First and foremost, samizdat material, typewriters and notebooks have been seized. However it is interesting to note also, among the things seized, the report of N, S. Khrushchev to the closed session of the 20th congress of the Soviet Communist Party (Gospolitizdat, 1959, the booklet had no serial number), the newspaper Pravda of 7 November 1952 (with a speech by Beria), a collection of poetry by Akhmatova (printed in Russian in Munich by a neutral publishing house), the cover of Berdyayev’s book The Sources and Meaning of Russian Communism, a pension card by which P. Yakir received a personal pension in his student years in recognition of his father, I, E. Yakir, the Army commander who was executed [in 1937], In the search of Iofe’s home, they removed only exercise-hooks of poetry by her father, Yu. M. lofe, who already had an exit visa to Israel.[3]

On 13 May V. Chalidze sent to the Chairman of the KGB, Andropov, a letter protesting about the confiscation of his work Reflexions on Man,[4] during the searches. The letter ends with the following words: “If the copies which have been confiscated are not returned soon, I will yet again have the impression that your institution is trying to defend the official philosophy by seizing non-Marxist (although completely legal) works. I urge you to use more academic methods of defending the official philosophy.”

NOVOSIBIRSK

A search was carried out on 14 January 1972, in connection with case No. 24, at the home of Alexander Rybakov, a technician at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Bases of Mineral Processing. In the search of his home a hectograph was confiscated along with much samizdat literature. On 20 March A. Rybakov was arrested.

LENINGRAD

In May a search was carried out in connection with the case of Yu. Melnik (CCE 24), at the home of Letinsky.

SVERDLOVSK

At the end of April Vladimir Markman was arrested. At first he was charged under article 206 of the Russian Criminal Code, In the middle of May article 206 was changed to article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code, Markman is an engineer; recently he had been working as a loader.[5]

KIEV

In the middle of March the poet Mykola Kholodny[6] was arrested.

On 18 April the writer Ivan Dzyuba was arrested (CCE 24). His flat had been searched three times since the middle of January (the last time on the day of his arrest). He has tuberculosis in an advanced state, and cirrhosis of the lungs.

In April Nadia Svitlychna, the sister of Ivan Svitlychny (CCE 24) was arrested. Her two-year-old son, in spite of requests and protests from relatives, was put into a children’s home.

On 11 May a psychiatric doctor, Samuil [Semyon] Gluzman, born 1946, was arrested. Prior to his arrest he worked tor a First Aid unit. Apparently he was arrested in connection with the same case as L. Serednyak (CCE 24). A Czech student, Anna Kocurova, has been arrested [see No. 24, note 20].

Oles Serhiyenko[7] has been arrested.

In the middle of April a search was carried out at the home of the [actor and] science-fiction writer, Berdnyk, a member of the Union of Writers of the Ukraine and a former prisoner in the Stalinist camps.[8] In the search some article by I. Dzyuba and two typewriters were removed. On 28 April Berdnyk announced a hunger-strike and sent a letter to the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Shelest, in which he wrote that the KGB had again broken away from the control of the Party, and that he feared another period of lawlessness would ensue. In the same letter he announced that he would not stop his hunger-strike until Shelest or somebody from the KGB received him, and until everything that had been seized was returned to him. On 3 May one of Shelest’s deputies received him. He was presented with all kinds of excuses, but was told that they were unable to intervene in KGB matters, in the middle of May he was summoned to the KGB and all that had been removed during the search was returned to him. His hunger-strike had lasted 16 days.

On 15 May a search was carried out at the home of the teacher Vladimir Evgenevich Yuvchenko, in connection with the case of his former pupil, L. Serednyak (CCE 24). The following things were confiscated: the book by S. Freud, The Psychology of the Masses, the book by S. Bulgakov, Christian Ethics, which had been copied by hand, a note-book, four exercise books and 14 separate sheets with various notes, two colour films and a sheaf of blank paper. On 16 and 17 May Yuvchenko was questioned about the case of L. Serednyak (up until then KGB employees had held so-called “chats’’ with him, i.e. unrecorded interrogations) and on 22 May he was questioned about the case of L. Plyushch (CCE 24).

LVOV

The artist Stefaniya Shabatura and [the poet Hryhoriy] Chubay have been arrested.[9]

On 14 January 1972, in a village in Volynia, Danylo Lavrentevich Shumuk[10]  was arrested. During a search his memoirs about the time he spent in a camp were confiscated. Before the war Shumuk was a member of the Communist Party of the Western Ukraine. He was first arrested by the Poles at the beginning of the thirties and spent 8 years in Polish prisons. He took part m the Patriotic War. In 1943 he joined the [Stepan] Bandera [nationalist] movement. In 1945 he was arrested and served a 10-year sentence. In 1958 he was arrested again on the same grounds, and given another 10 years.

At the beginning of March Vasyl Romanyuk[11] was arrested in Ivano-Frankovsk.

ROVNO

I. Konchinsky has been arrested.

In mid-April in one of the Ukrainian villages, a search was carried out at the home of Natalya Karaziya, a class-2 invalid (tuberculosis of the bone) [see Reddaway, op. cit]. Her personal correspondence with I. Dzyuba was seized.

After the search her invalid status was withdrawn, with the result that N. Karaziya has been left without any means of subsistence. In the village in which she lives the rumour has been circulated that a bag of dollars and a portable radio were found at her home.

NALCHIK [North Caucasus]

In March the arrest took place of Yury Shukhevych, the son of the head of the UPA (Ukrainian Insurrectionist Army).[12]

According to information which has not yet been fully checked, the number of arrests in the Ukraine in the period January—May is more than one hundred.

* * *

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE has received a letter from Ukraine, addressed also to the Supreme Soviets of the USSR and the Ukraine, and to the editors of the papers Izvestiya and Literary Ukraine. After giving information in this letter about the arrests, searches and interrogations in the Ukraine from January to April 1972 (CCE 24 and the present issue) the authors proceed to give the following warning:

“The decades of Stalinist tyranny which afterwards were given the modest designation of “personality cult”, are a phenomenon which is far from being understood. It is much more complex than the personality cult of one man, and in its after-effects comparable, for the USSR, to the disasters brought by the World War, it was a terrible social plague, giving rise to terror, suspicion and denunciations, to a whole country of concentration camps for millions of innocent people, It brought the people to the depths of moral corruption, to psychological shocks as agonizing as a severe mental illness.

In the 1930s this illness began with the excessive growth of the role played by the organs of State Security, the exceeding by them of their powers, and their escape from control by the state. The NKVD became a ‘state within a state’, creating a whole industry of murder, and, in principle, it could discredit and destroy any person in the country . . . The change in the climate of social life in the USSR in this direction is a very serious symptom. There has been a whole series of developments: the sending of Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia, the secret veto placed on works which expose the Stalinist tyranny and even on the materials of the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, the persecution of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the ceaseless harping on the sharpening of the ideological struggle—all this arouses a deep feeling of unease, in that it is a tendency capable of leading to another 1937 . . . The suppression of national consciousness, the numerous arrests of prominent representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia, the threats, blackmail, persecutions and ceaseless mass searches—all this is a threatening reminder that 1937 began in 1933, began with the repression of leading figures of the national cultures. This is our warning…

At the end of the letter the authors write:

“We make a point of noting the considerations which have forced us to divulge our names only to the Human Rights Committee of the USSR … We answer for the authenticity of the information divulged in the present appeal, We are sick of anonymity. But the situation is such that at any manifestation of social activity the KGB organs reply with immediate repressions. At the present time we do not think it advisable to have anything to do with the faceless and irresponsible Committee of State Security, which is steadily becoming a real danger to society. We would have been prepared to give our names and to take part in a public examination of the essence of our letter, had there been even the slightest hope of the text being published in full.

A Group of Soviet Citizens, Ukraine. May 1972.”

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NOTES

[1] On all these people except Armand, Dubrov, Batshev, Albrekht, Lisovskaya and Makatinskaya see P. Reddaway, Uncensored Russia. On Yakir see also CCE 24, note 12. On Batshev see P. Litvinov, The Trial of the Four, London and New York, 1972. On Lisovskaya see ibid, and also CCE 15. Valentina Makatinskaya is a translator from French.

Gershovich signed a letter summarized in CCE 24; see also the letter from his 4 co-signatories, supporting his requests to emigrate, in The Times, London, 13 July 1972; also a similar appeal, to Mr. K. Waldheim, from Academician Sakharov and 7 colleagues, summarized in Reuter and A.P. dispatches from Moscow dated 21 July.

[2] . On Shikhanovich see entries in Reddaway, op cit.

Lyubarsky is not only a prolific writer on astronomy (CCE 24, note 11). Since at least 1965 he has also been academic secretary of the Moscow Section of the All-Union Astronomy and Geodesy Society.

[3] He left for Israel on 13 May 1972. See his poems in Possev-7, 1972.

[4] See CCE 21. This 123-page typescript is available in the West, but has not yet been published.

[5] On Markman and his case see The Times, 13 June 1972, CCE 21, and NBSJ nos 215-217.

[6] Born in 1940, he has published in the Ukrainian-language journals Zhovten and Dnipro since 1962, In 1965 he was expelled from Kiev University for heterodoxy. See the Ukrainian Herald, No. 3, and his poems in Suchasnist 12 (1968).

[7] Oles (affectionate form of Oleksandr) Serhiyenko is a young teacher. See his speech in Ukrainian Herald, No 4, also M. Browne, Ferment in the Ukraine.

[8] See his biography in Pismenniki rad. Ukrainy, Kiev, 1970. Born in 1927, Oleksandr P, Berdnyk served in the war, then worked as an actor. See attacks on him for an “ideologically corrupt lecture” in Literary Ukraine, 21 and 24 April 1972.

[9] See on them Ukrainian Herald, No. 4. On Chubay see also Nos. 2 and 3. He has written a cycle of poems dedicated to Valentyn Moroz.

[10] See entries in Browne, op. cit., and Ukrainian Herald No. 2.

[11] An Orthodox priest trained in Moscow, he serves the parish of Kosmach, where he got to know V. Moroz. S ee CCE 17 and Ukrainian Herald, nos. 2-4.

[12] See Reddaway, op. cit., and Ukrainian Herald, no 3.