Obituary [Tvardovsky] (23.10)

No 23 : 5 January 1972

Alexander Trifonovich Tvardovsky died on 18 December 1971. The Chronicle considers it suitable to publish the following text as his obituary:

There are many ways of killing a poet.

The method chosen for Tvardovsky was to take away his off-spring, his passion, his journal.

The sixteen years of insults meekly endured by this hero were little, so long as his journal survived, so long as literature was not stopped, so long as people were printed in it and people read it. Too little! So they heaped the coals of disbandment, destruction and injustice upon him. Within six months these coals had consumed him. Six months later he took to his death-bed, and only his characteristic fortitude sustained him up to now – till the last hour in full consciousness. In suffering.

Third day. Above the coffin is a portrait, in which the dead man is about forty, his brow unfurrowed by sweetly bitter burdens, radiant with that childishly luminescent trust which he carried with him throughout his life, and which was returning to him even when he was already doomed.

To the best music they are bearing wreaths, bearing wreaths . . . “From Soviet fighting men” … As it should be. I remember how the soldiers at the front as one man preferred the marvel of his trusty Tyorkin [123a] to the other wartime books. But we remember too how the army libraries have been forbidden to subscribe to Novy mir. Only recently people have been hauled before their commanding officer for interrogation after reading the light// soft blue journal.

And now the whole gang from the Secretariat [of the Writers’ Union] has flopped onto the scene. The guard of honour comprises those same mortally flabby people who hunted him down with unholy shrieks. This is an old custom of ours, from Pushkin’s day: it is precisely into the hands of his enemies that the dead poet falls. And they hastily dispose of the body, and extract themselves from the situation with glib speeches.

They have crowded round the coffin in a solid ring and think they have fenced it off. They’ve destroyed our only journal and think they’ve won.

You have to know and understand nothing about the last century of Russian history to regard this as a victory, not as an irreparable blunder!

Madmen! When the voices of the young resound, fiercely, how you will miss this patient critic, whose gentle admonitory voice was heeded by all. You will be set to tearing up the earth with your hands, to bring Trifonych back. But then it will be too late.

For the ninth day


[Commentary No 23]

23.10 Obituary [Alexander Tvardovsky]


[123a] Tvardovsky wrote the long poem Vasily Tyorkin, also known as A Book About a Soldier, during the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945). It was printed chapter by chapter in newspapers and magazines and immediately despatched to the Front; it was also read over Soviet radio. Tvardovsky was awarded his second Stalin Prize [1946] for Vasily Tyorkin. (Wikipedia)

Obituary [Soroka] (20.13)

No 20 : 2 July 1971

On 17 June Mykhaylo Soroka died suddenly of a heart attack in Dubrovlag, Camp 17-a.

Mykhaylo Mykhaylovych Soroka was born in the Ternopol Region in 1911. An architect by profession, he studied in Prague. In 1930 he took part in the activities of the OUN [Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists], fighting in its ranks for the independence of the Western Ukraine from the Polish Republic. For some time Soroka was confined in a Polish prison.

After the territory of the Western Ukraine had been occupied by Soviet troops in autumn 1939 and incorporated into the Soviet Ukraine, many OUN members were arrested in Lvov in a single night. Among them were Soroka and his wife K. M. Zarytska (CCE 15.8, item 1), the daughter of a prominent Lvov professor of mathematics. Soroka was despatched to Vorkuta [Northwest Russia], while Zarytska remained in Lvov Prison, where she gave birth to a son (now the Ukrainian artist and decorator Bohdan Soroka, who lives in Lvov).

M. Soroka was kept beyond the Arctic Circle until 1950, when he was rehabilitated—a rare event in those years. After his release he returned to Lvov (by this time Zarytska, as a messenger of UIA commander Roman Shukhevych, had already been under investigation for about three years). Soroka did not stay long in Lvov; not receiving permission to live in his homeland, he was obliged to leave for Krasnoyarsk Region [Central Siberia].

In 1952 Soroka was again arrested. It turned out that a certain Austrian, who had been released with him, had been repatriated to Austria and shortly afterwards published his memoirs. [66] He described life in the Vorkuta camps and told of the circulation among the prisoners of persistent rumours of their possible mass liquidation. The prisoners were determined to resist, and made preparations to defend themselves if this operation should be carried out. The plan was drawn up under the direction of Mykhaylo Soroka.

So once more Soroka was in the camps—this time sentenced to 25 years.

K. M Zarytska, who is in the women’s political camp [at Dubrovlag] not far from the burial ground for camp inmates (the convicts’ graves are adorned with plaques bearing, instead of the name of the deceased, his camp number), learned of her husband’s death indirectly; the camp administration did not officially inform her of the death of Mykhaylo Soroka.

[Commentary No 20]

20.13 Obituary [Soroka]

[66. Joseph Scholmer, Arzt in Workuta [A doctor in Vorkuta], first published in Cologne in 1954.]


Obituaries [Talantov, Samsonov] (18.12)

No 18 : 5 March 1971

On 4 January 1971 Boris Vladimirovich Talantov (b. 1903) died in the prison hospital in Kirov [Volga District]. He was arrested on 12 June 1969 and at the beginning of September sentenced under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code to three years’ imprisonment (see Chronicle 8.14 (3) and 10.2 [trial]). The indictment was based on his works on the position of believers and of the Orthodox church in the USSR.

Boris Vladimirovich was born into the family of a priest in Kostroma [Central Russia]. His father, who was sentenced in 1937, died in the Temnikov camps in Mordovia in 1940. His younger brother Serafim, a hydrotechnician, was arrested in 1930 and sent to work on the building of the White Sea canal [where he died].

Boris Vladimirovich graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of the Kirov Pedagogical Institute, and remained there as a lecturer in higher mathematics (until 1954). Both as a student and a lecturer B. V. Talantov was repeatedly persecuted because of his social background and his religious beliefs, which he never concealed. Several times he was barred from teaching and persecuted in the local press: O. Lyubovikov wrote about him twice in Kirovskaya pravda, in the articles “Out of the Gutter” [Iz podvorotni] in 1958 and “With an open visor” [S otkrytym zabralom] in 1967. [1] In Perm in 1967 B. V. Talantov was subjected to a search. In the same year, unable to endure the constant harassment any longer, Boris Vladimirovich’s wife died.

Boris Vladimirovich was an active fighter for the freedom of the church. The letters “On the mass destruction of churches of architectural value” (1963) and the “Letter from twelve believers of the Kirov Region to Patriarch Aleksy” (1966), of which B.V. Talantov was the author or co-author, are well-known.

At his trial Boris Vladimirovich conducted himself with dignity and courage, pleading not guilty; he took leave of his near ones in advance, saying that he had no hope of ever seeing freedom again. From September 1970 onwards his health began to deteriorate sharply, and in November he was placed in hospital. On 4 January Boris Vladimirovich had an hour’s talk in prison with his son Gleb and bade him farewell; he died twenty minutes after his son had left.

The body of the deceased was handed over to his children and buried on 8 January, all the rites of the Orthodox church being observed. The farewell to the body of the deceased lasted several hours. A large crowd accompanied the coffin to the cemetery. The mourners included non-believers—former students of Boris Vladimirovich.


On 27 February 1971 the eminent Soviet geophysicist Nikolai Nikolayevich Samsonov died of an acute heart attack.

Nikolai Nikolayevich was born in St. Petersburg in 1906.

On graduating in 1929 from the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of Leningrad University (specializing in astro-geodesies) he began work in the field of exploratory geophysics. In 1931 he headed a group of gravimetric expeditions in the Donets Basin and Baskunchak. From 1932 to 1936 he worked for the Directorate of Geology as consultant-curator for problems of the Major Donets Basin. He subsequently transferred to the Directorate of Northern Sea Routes [Glavsevmorput], where he was in charge of geophysical prospecting for valuable minerals in the Arctic. In 1936 his appointment as senior research officer was confirmed.

On 6 July 1941 Nikolai Nikolayevich entered the people’s volunteer corps and fought at the Leningrad front. On 15 March 1942, at the request of the Directorate of Northern Sea Routes, he was demobilized and sent to join the Nordvik expedition a in the Arctic, where he worked until 1946. There then followed work at the Scientific Research Institute of Arctic Geology and the All-Union Institute of Exploratory Geophysics (in 1951-1952 he headed a gravi-magnetic expedition in the Taimyr Depression using aeroplanes and helicopters), and in 1954 he was transferred to the All-Union Institute of Prospecting Technology.

He was decorated with the Medal of Honour [Znak Pochyata] and other medals.

In 1950 N. N. Samsonov and S. A. Poddubny were awarded the Stalin Prize (3rd class) for designing a new type of gravimeter and solving the technological problems associated with its manufacture.

N. N. Samsonov is the author of fifteen published works, two text-books on gravimetrics and four inventions (including the Samsonov density meter (SDM), which is widely used as present).

Samsonov’s unpublished works on questions of linguistics and thought-processes are of great interest.

In 1956 N. N. Samsonov wrote to the Party committee of the October district of Leningrad, and later to the Central Committee of the Party, attaching his notes entitled “Thinking Aloud”. Here he argues that between 1934 and 1937 Stalin carried out a counter-revolutionary coup, destroyed the Communist Party of Lenin, replaced it by a party of the bureaucratic e1ite, thus perverting the Leninist concept of the withering-away of the state under socialism, and laid the foundations for the creation and consolidation of the bureaucratic state. In his letter N. N. Samsonov urges a return to Leninist democratic principles of governing the country.

On 6 November 1956 he was arrested and detained at the ‘Big House’, KGB headquarters in Leningrad. He was charged under Article 58-10 (now Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code). However a visiting commission headed by Professor Torubarov (of the Serbsky Institute) judged Samsonov to be of unsound mind, and on 26 November he was placed in the Leningrad Prison Psychiatric Hospital (LPPH), later renamed the LSPH (Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital).

Doctors [L.A.] Kalinin, Kelchevskaya and others, having acquainted themselves with N. N. Samsonov’s works on language and thought-processes, considered him to be mentally healthy, but advised him to admit in writing that he was of unsound mind when he composed the letter to the Central Committee. Such an admission, they told him, would testify to his “recovery”. However, for the eight years he spent in the LSPH N.N. Samsonov refused to admit that he was of unsound mind and demanded a judicial examination.

In 1958 he was threatened with forcible injections of Aminazin, with the candid explanation that in view of his diseased liver Aminazin would result in a worsening of his health. But even this threat did not shake Samsonov’s determination. They began to use Aminazin. In 1964, afraid of dying in the LSPH (he was suffering from emphysema and a weak heart), Nikolai Nikolayevich was compelled to write the required declaration.

On 30 September 1964 he was discharged from the LSPH. A year later he was released from guardianship and given a pension. Recently, as is the right of a pensioner, he had been working for two months every year at the same place as before – the Institute of Exploratory Geophysics, perfecting the instrument which he created in collaboration with S. A. Poddubny.

Obituary [Oksman] (16.12)

No 16 : 31 October 1970

Professor Julian [Yulian] Grigorevich Oksman, Doctor of philological sciences, died on 15 September 1970 in his seventy-sixth year.

J.G. Oksman was born in 30 December 1894 in Voznesensk in the Kherson Province. After leaving high school in 1911 he entered the History and Philology Faculty of St. Petersburg University. For about a year he worked abroad, studying the history of civilisation and the science of source materials [istochnikovedeniye] in Bonn, and attending lectures in Heidelberg. From the summer of 1915 he began to work in the archives [presumably in St. Petersburg], studying the history of Russian censorship and the press. After the February Revolution he took part in the preparation and implementation of the archive reform.

From 1919 to 1923 he taught in institutes of higher education in Odessa, and was the acting head of the archive of the Odessa Region. From the end of 1923 he was a lecturer at Leningrad University, then reader and later professor. From 1927 Oksman was the chairman of the Pushkin Commission at the State Institute of Art History. In the thirties he was deputy-head of Pushkin House (the Institute of Russian Literature at the Academy of Sciences). He was the initiator of much research in the field of Russian literature and the social movements of the nineteenth century. He took part in the preparation of the Academy’s Complete Works of Pushkin, the multi-volume Decembrist Uprising [1825] and many other works, including — in recent years — the Complete Works of Herzen.

Arrested in 1937, J.G. Oksman was fortunate enough to return from imprisonment and exile in 1947. He worked at Saratov University. After his rehabilitation he worked at the Institute of World Literature in Moscow, led the Herzen group and prepared for the press Belinsky’s Works and Days [Trudy i dni], for which he was honoured with the Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences.

In 1963 his flat was searched. He was under suspicion of supplying the western press with material about the provocative activities [1] of a number of Soviet writers (Elsberg, Samarin, Lesyuchevsky) [2-4]. In autumn 1964 Oksman was expelled from the Union of Writers, and at the same time compelled to leave the Institute of World Literature. Since then his publications have either not appeared or have appeared under pseudonyms. His name is removed from finished works, and the censorship crosses out all mention of him. A few weeks before Oksman’s death an official of the KGB, briefing translators for the International History Congress [in Moscow], named Oksman as one of the “representatives of the Soviet intelligentsia who easily fall for western propaganda”.

J.G. Oksman was buried at the Russian cemetery at Vostryakovo on 18 September. It proved impossible to place a notice about Oksman’s death in the Moscow press.

Alexander Lavut (1929-2013)

“Alexander Lavut was a member of the Action Group for the Defence of Human Rights, the first organisation in the USSR to openly defend such  rights, yet he never boasted about having belonged to the oldest  organisation of its kind in Russia. Lavut was among the editors of the legendary Chronicle of Current Events (1968-1982) but never regarded this worthy of mention. Twice convicted and imprisoned, he served consecutive sentences from 1980 to 1986 but never sought leniency or petitioned for a pardon. A model of irreproachable behaviour as a dissident, Alexander Lavut never criticised those who could not attain the same standard”.

Alexander Podrabinek (

Alexander and Sima Lavut

LAVUT and his wife Serafima Mostinskaya at the evening to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Chronicle of Current Events in 2008





УМЕР ПРАВОЗАЩИТНИК АЛЕКСАНДР ЛАВУТ, Воскресенье, 23 июня 2013 г.

Диссидент и правозащитник Александр Лавут скончался в воскресенье, сообщил “Граням” глава правозащитного центра “Мемориал” Александр Черкасов.

Александр Лавут родился 4 июля 1929 года. В 1951 году окончил механико-математический факультет МГУ, затем преподавал математику в Казахстане и на Украине, работал математиком-программистом.

Получил известность в диссидентских кругах как автор и редактор самиздата. С 1968 года принимал участие в выпусках “Хроники текущих событий”, в 1974-1980 годах был одним из ее основных авторов.

В 1969 году одновременно со своим другом и коллегой Сергеем Ковалевым вошел в состав Инициативной группы по защите прав человека в СССР.

В 1980 году был осужден по статье 190-1 УК РСФСР – “распространение заведомо ложных измышлений, порочащих советский государственный строй”. В заявлении Елены Боннэр, Андрея Сахарова и других членов Московской Хельсинкской группы по этому поводу говорилось:

“Его вклад в сбор и распространение правдивой информации о борьбе за права человека и о нарушениях этих прав в нашей стране невозможно переоценить. Александр Павлович не искал ни славы, ни почестей, он “всего лишь” имел мужество отстаивать свою гражданскую позицию противопоставления злу и насилию, которую считал единственно возможной. Он защищал несправедливо преследуемых”.

В заключении Лавут был вновь осужден, 1983-1986 годы он провел в ссылке.

Лавут был членом совета правозащитного центра “Мемориал”.

Biography (A-Z)

A few basic details are included here: name and patronymic, profession and terms of imprisonment and incarceration. Common alternate spellings of some first names and surnames are indicated [thus].

Biographies of many may be found on the Gratitude Fund website.


ALTUNYAN, Genrikh Ovanesovich (1933-2005) — born Tbilisi, died Jerusalem.


BELOGORODSKAYA, Irina Mikhailovna — Wife of Vadim Delaunay.

BOGORAZ, Larissa (1930-2003) — born and died in Moscow. Wife of Anatoly Marchenko.

BUKOVSKY, Vladimir Konstantinovich (b. 1942)— b. 1942 Belebei (Bashkir ASSR). Deported to West Germany in 1976.


CHALIDZE, Valery Nikolayevich (1938-2018) — born Moscow, died USA. Deprived of Soviet citizenship while visiting USA in 1972. Publisher in USSR (Social Issues) and then in United States (Khronika Press) of human-rights related material. Founding member of Moscow Human Rights Committee.


DANIEL, Yuly — 1925-1988 (Moscow). Poet and prose writer. Convicted in 1966 with Andrei Sinyavsky.

DZHEMILEV, Mustafa – b, 1943 (Crimea). Student. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR. Crimean Tatar leader.


GALANSKOV, Yury Timofeyevich — b. 1939 (Moscow); d. 1972 in Mordovian camps.

GINZBURG, Alexander — b. 1936 (Moscow); d. 2002 (Paris). Twice imprisoned. Released in 1979 prisoner exchange. Emigrated to France.

GORBANEVSKAYA, Natalya Yevgenievna — b. 1936 (Moscow); d. 2013 (Paris). Poet and translator from Polish. First editor-compiler of Chronicle (CCE 1-9). Emigrated to France in 1975. In 2005 she became a citizen of Poland.

GRIGORENKO, Pyotr [Petr] Grigorievich — b. 1907 (Zaporozhe, Ukraine); d. 1987 (New York). Red Army major-general in reserves.


KALISTRATOVA, Sofia — b. 1907 (Kursk); d. 1989 (Moscow). Lawyer. Defended Yakhimovich, and Gorbanevskaya.

KAMINSKAYA, Dina Isaakovna — b. 1919 (Yekaterinoslav); d. 2006 (USA). At trials between 1968 and 1971 Kaminskaya defended Yury Galanskov and Alexander Ginzburg, Larisa Bogoraz and Pavel Litvinov, and Mustafa Dzhemilev and Ilya Gabai. She and her husband Konstantin Simis emigrated to the USA in 1977.

KHODOROVICH, Tatyana — Linguist. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR. Emigrated to France.

KOSTYORIN [Kosterin], Alexei Yevgrafovich — b. 1896 (Saratov); d. 1968 (Moscow). Writer. Left Party in 1968 after Czechoslovakia. Daughter Nina died during war.

KOVALYEV [Kovalev], Sergei Adamovich — b. 1930 (Seredyna-Buda, Ukraine). Biologist. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR. Editor-compiler of Chronicle. Sentenced to five years in the camps in 1975.

KRASIN, Victor — b. 1929. Economist. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR. Emigrated to the USA.


LAVUT, Alexander Pavlovich — 1929-2013 (Moscow). Mathematician. Imprisoned 1980-1986. Editor-compiler of Chronicle. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR.

LEVITIN-KRASNOV, Anatoly Emmanuilovich — b. 1915 (Baku, Azerbaijan); d. 1991 (Lucerne, Switzerland). Religious writer. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR.


PODRABINEK, Alexander Pinkhosovich — b. 1953. Medical auxiliary. Contributing editor of CCE (psychiatric abuse). Journalist and commentator.

PODYAPOLSKY, Grigory Sergeyevich — b. 1926 (Tashkent, Uzbekistan); d. 1976 (Saratov). Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR.


SAKHAROV, Andrei Dmitrievich — 1921-1989 (Moscow). Nuclear physicist. Committee for Human Rights.

SHIKHANOVICH, Yury Alexandrovich — 1933-2011 (Moscow). Subject of reports in CCE and long-term editor.

SUPERFIN, Gabriel — .


TALANTOV, Boris Vladimirovich — b. 1903 (Kostroma); d. 1971 in prison hospital (Kirov Region). Religious writer.

TVERDOKHLEBOV, Andrei — b. 1941 (Moscow); d. 2011 (Lansdale, Pennsylvania).


VAIL, Boris Borisovich — b. 1939 (Kursk); d. 2010 (Copenhagen).

VELIKANOVA, Tatyana Mikhailovna — 1932-2002 (Moscow). Mathematician. Editor-compiler of Chronicle. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR.


YAKIR, Irina Petrovna — b. 1948 (Penza Region); d. 1999 (Jerusalem).

YAKIR, Pyotr Ionovna — b. 1923 (Kiev); d. 1982 (Moscow). Historian. Member of Action Group for Human Rights in USSR.

YEMELKINA [Emelkina], Nadezhda Pavlovna — b. 1948; d. 2010. Wife of Victor Krasin.


ZHELUDKOV, Father Sergy — b. 1909 (Moscow); d. 1984 (Pskov).