Commentary No 23

No 23 : 5 January 1972


 

23.1 THE CASE OF VLADIMIR BUKOVSKY

Appeals and Statements

64. The Action Group letter was signed by nine members, including P. Yakir, and briefly summarised in an A.P. dispatch from Moscow of 28 November 1971.

65. The Russian text of Grigorenko’s prison notes is in Possev, No 4, Frankfurt, 1970, and Kaznimye sumusshesiviem, [Punished with Madness] Possev-Verlag. 1971, pp, 300-333; a French version is in La Russie contestataire, Fayard, Paris, 1971, pp. 205-232.

66. The Russian text of Fainberg’s letter is also in Kaznimye sumasshestviem, p. 381-99. French and German texts are to be found in the French and German editions of Bukovsky’s documents.

67. The Fifth International Congress of Psychiatrists in Mexico produced no public condemnation of these practices, thanks in part to the intense diplomatic activity at it of Prof. Snezhnevsky and other Soviet psychiatrists. See an important critical review of the Congress and allied issues by I. F. Stone in the New York Review of Books, “Betrayal by Psychiatry”, 10 February 1972 and his article in the New York Times, 15 February.

However, the initiative of January 1971 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association was followed up in a resolution passed by the Executive Board of the World Federation of Mental Health on 25 November 1971. This reads in part:

“In recent years there have been numerous public allegations concerning the current miss-use of psychiatric diagnoses, psychiatric treatment and enforced confinement in psychiatric institutions to persons whose only ‘symptoms’ have been the avowal of opinions disapproved by their .society. These accusations have been directed in particular—though not exclusively– against the alleged incarceration of political dissenters in prison mental hospitals in the USSR. The W.F.M.H, resolutely opposes any such abuse of psychiatric procedures and calls on its Member Associations throughout the world promptly to investigate all such allegations, and to defend the individual’s freedom of opinion where it appears to be threatened.’’

68. On the rejection of Kaminskaya as Bukovsky’s lawyer, see also The Times, London, 7 December 1971, where there is also a description of the annual Constitution Day demonstration of 5 December on Pushkin Square, and an interview with P. Yakir. And see U.P.I. dispatches from Moscow of 23 and 27 December.

69. The Presidium Chairman of the Moscow Collegium of Lawyers, A. K. Apraksin, also played a role in V. Dremlyuga’s ease, see Chronicle 20.4 (News in Brief, item //).

70. The letter to the USSR Procurator-General and the Minister of Justice of the USSR by Sakharov, Leontovich, Shafarevich and Galich is summarized in AP and Reuter despatches of 4 January from Moscow.

71. For the text of Bukovsky’s TV interview see Survey, London, No. 77, 1970.

72. For the medical documents sent by Bukovsky to Western psychiatrists, see the French and German editions, and selected documents in English in Survey, No. 81, 1971.

73. After Maximov’s statement to the USSR Procurator-General and the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Court, the KGB is now considering laying charges against him. See The Daily Telegraph, London, 29 February 1972.

The Trial

74. A 50-page samizdat transcript of Bukovsky’s trial appeared in Russkaya mysl, Paris (9 March 1972), and will appear soon in English in Survey 83, London. Long extracts were printed in The Times, London, 7 February 1972. See also numerous western press reports printed on 6 and 8 January, and a crudely distorted Soviet report in Vechernyaya Moskva, 6 January.

75. Valentina G. Lubentsova was also the judge at the trial of the Red Square demonstrators in October 1968. See the transcript in N. Gorbanevskaya, Red Square at Noon.

76. Vladimir Shveisky was also defence counsel to A. Dobrovolsky, B. Talantov and A. Amalrik (See Chronicles 1.1, 10.2 and 17.1).

Defendant’s Final Words

77. Extracts from Bukovsky’s final speech have been published in The Times and other newspapers, 8 January 1972.

78. See Russian text of Bukovsky’s transcript of this interview in Russkaya mysl, 3 and 10 February 1972, and a slightly condensed translation in the New York Review of Books, New York, 9 March 1972.

79. Bukovsky’s hunger-strike lasted from 9 to 21 December, and on 22 December his mother saw him for the first time in nine months and found him pale and haggard. See UPI dispatch of 23 December.

80. In addition, in a letter to the Moscow City Court Academician Sakharov had asked that three such people, ex-inmates, be summoned to testify, as documents written by them showed that Bukovsky had publicized not defamatory inventions but true facts”. See an AP dispatch from Moscow of 3 January.

81. Numerous protests and appeals were made against Bukovsky’s sentence, notably an appeal of 22 January by 52 of his friends to UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim (text and signatories in Russkaya mysl, 23 March), a letter to The Times (31 January) from 39 prominent British writers, scholars and politicians, an appeal by 75 Swiss writers, members of the Swiss Writers’ Association, to Kosygin (text and signatures in Der Bund, Bern, 20 January), and an appeal to Brezhnev by Academician Sakharov (The Guardian, London, 21 January).

Nevertheless, the sentence was confirmed on 22 February at a two-hour session of the RSFSR Supreme Court, to which neither Bukovsky’s friends, nor Academician Sakharov, nor independent journalists were admitted, but only his mother. See an A.P. dispatch of 22 February and The Times, 23 February. An A.P. dispatch from New York of 2 March reported that Bukovsky had been sent to Vladimir Prison, and that his friends feared for his survival in view of his heart condition.

80a. For a new document by Bukovsky  (June 1970) see Russkaya mysl, Paris, 3 and 10 February 1972.