“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2000, #11
The Lugansk oblast is a risk area for journalists Prohibition of discrimination
The sad statistics Social and economic rights
An educational visit to Poland On refugees
How the rights guaranteed by law are observed in reality Court practices
Bribe-taker is a head of a village council Report on monitoring the results of the recruiting campaign of spring 2000 Army
On the problem of humanization of preliminary prisons Human rights protectors also need to have human rights Twenty years later Political repressions in Ukraine The everlasting script Victims of political repression
For what a man was killed in Antratsit militia? Deported peoples
30 years ago under enigmatic circumstances an outstanding Ukrainian artist Alla A. Gorskaya was killed. We want to remind the reader the sketch of life and death of this great daughter of the Ukrainian people. News from the CIS countries
Where and how to get material support Free access to Transitions Online (TOL)
Freedom of expression
The Lugansk oblast is a risk area for journalists
On 16 September, under the guise of robbery, an editor of newspaper Rakurs Mykola Severin was beaten.
On 15 October a journalist of the TV-company Efir-1 Valeriy Sorokolit was beaten near his house in the center of Lugansk.
At night from 15 to 16 October the editorial office of the newspaper XXI vek and press center of the TV-company ֵ+1 were robbed. The robbers did not take valuable apparatus, they were interested only in computers and diskettes, in other words, only in information carriers.
On 19 October Anatoliy Kibelniuk, a reporter of the newspaper Nasha gazeta, was beaten in Krasnodon, where he was on a mission. Who is the next?
Prohibition of discrimination
The sad statistics
Number of TB-cases
Number of oncological diseases
Number of venereal diseases
For 100 thous.
For 100 thous.
For 10 thous.
For 10 thous.
Totally in Ukraine
1 – data for 9 months of 1999
Birth rate, mortality rate, natality of population (for 1000 of population)
Total birth rate
Mortality of new-born
The analysis of these data leads to pessimistic conclusions. It is good the bulletin Prava ludyny touched the topic of the right for medical aid. I agree with I. Sukhorukova that the society treats the problem with an inadmissible flippancy. I reckon that the government position in the questions of medical aid may be characterized as amoral and even criminal: the financing is lower than any reasonable minimum, there is no strategy at all of leading the branch out of the collapse, even serious discussions are not held. It seems that the authorities have taken off responsibility for the lot of unhealthy people, in fact are proposed to die quietly. The former Soviet system of health protection may certainly be criticized, yet no one can affirm that there was no system: it was imperfect, but actually working. The motto Pay, if you want to survive could be put now on the facades of todays hospitals.
The medical public organizations The pulse of Ukraine, that was created during the election campaign by ex-minister Raisa Bogatyriova, turned to Ukrainian MPs with the request to hand the application to the Constitutional Court concerning the interpretation of a somewhat vague Article 49 of the Ukrainian Constitution about the free medical aid. As such, this application may be sensible: there must exist an official interpretation of this article. As to me, the very text of this article must be changed to become more concrete. The most important meaning, which can be read between the lines of this appeal, is the conviction (and obedient consent) that no budget money will be given for medicine by the authorities! So, the load of financing on the medical reform is suggested to put on tax-payers shoulders, and the medical part of the public does not object.
Yet, if someone proposes me to sign this appeal, I will do it to make the medical problems to be at last publicly discussed in the Parliament. I agree with the creation of the joint funds for financing, I am for the development of medical insurance. Yet, I believe that one must be a complete idealist to hope that all this will start working rather soon, thus supporting the drowning system of health protection. Nobody else, but our very modest in such affairs state, must take the main part of expenses for the financial, material, personnel, informational, etc. provision of the necessary minimum of the free medical aid. This minimum must be officially delimited, be financed from the state budget and be guaranteed to everybody – from the President to a hobo. All the rest must be paid from the municipal, insurance and private financing. It is obvious that the state will give money for the provision of this more or less accessible minimum only under the condition, if the society, public and Church demand it.
So this problem must be permanently stirred up to acquire any decent priority. It must be also done on Prava ludyny pages.
Social and economic rights
An educational visit to Poland
A group of representatives of Ukrainian ecological NGOs was given an opportunity to visit Poland for studying the methods of their colleagues on the invitation of the ecological NGO Polish Green Network. Partly this visit was sponsored by the Dutch organization Milieukontakt Oost Europa. At the end of June nine leaders of Ukrainian ecological organization left for Poland, and during a week they visited four towns and met about a score of representatives of various organizations and several state officials.
At the start of our visit we were shown a tourist agricultural farm under Warsaw. Many similar farms have recently appeared in Poland. The state supports this movement and grants discounted credits. This is a very interesting branch of development of the agricultural sector. At this farm we met representatives of the civil Institute of ecology. This is a non-government, non-profit, scientific establishment that was created with the purpose of servicing public organizations, journalists, students, etc. (E-mail: mailto:[email protected], http://most.org.pl/bwle). This institute took part in the creation of the Green Network it has a large video-library; it develops projects of energy conservation, of solution transport problems and problems of garbage utilization; it implements alternative ecological-educational programs.
The next meeting was the head of the Ecological control center. Its main goals are getting and spreading the needed information and lobbying the needed decisions. In Ukraine there is no similar organization.
In Warsaw we got acquainted with the work of the Ecodevelopment Institute. The main task of this organization is to promote the ecological development of the society. The institute develops regional ecological programs, ecological tourism and agriculture. The institute adapts the national and international legislation concerning ecology, develops recommendations on the cooperation of NGOs and the state organs for solving concrete ecological problems, monitors and analyzes sociological information. This institute has created the program Green lungs of Europe.
In Wroclaw we met the head of the regional department of environmental protection. We learned that ecological taxes in Poland are not directed to the state budget, they are given to special local funds. The taxes for the waste (including domestic) are sent to the same funds. Ukrainian ecological organizations struggle for this for a long time. In this region they have an instructive experience of cooperation with public organizations. Ecological funds are supervised by councils consisting of scientists and representatives of the administration, NGOs and business. It is stipulated by law.
In Wroclaw we also visited the NGO Ecology development center. It has a wide range of interests: from ecological education and promoting bicycles to organizing campaigns for the correct garbage utilization.
The contacts with representatives of Ecological right center were very instructive. The center carries out legislation work, trains NGOs, consults and defends various subjects of law. Their activities are rather similar to those of the Ukrainian network Eco-Pravo (Ecological right).
In Krakow we attended Center of ecological education. The center develops ecological curricula and publishes various ecological literature.
The last town we visited was Lublin. Our hosts there were the NGO For nature and man, the same organization that invited us to visit Poland. This organization enters Polish Green Network. The informational bureau of the organization publishes the ecological magazine Oykos.
Our general impression is that Poland made a considerable advance in the development of economics and the civil society. Our journey was very instructive. We have established useful contacts, we got propositions of further cooperation and ideas of new projects.
How the rights guaranteed by law are observed in reality
Each man has the unalienable right for life. Such rights are granted to our citizens by the most superior law of our state – the Constitution of Ukraine.
The question is how these rights are observed in reality? Do the state bodies, which are responsible for the security and order in the country, execute their duties well?
Composer Igor Belozir died because of beating by hoodlums or, maybe, hired killers. Nobody knows where and how has the journalist Georgiy Gongadze disappeared. General of militia Leonid Borodin has perished in the aviation crash under rather mysterious circumstances. And the law-enforcing bodies investigate these affairs in a very lax manner and with the clear unwillingness, actually, under the pressure of the public and the President.
The facts speck for themselves: we observe a crisis in the country that involved all the structures of the country, including the law-enforcing bodies. Racket, intimidating simple folks, hired killings became everyday routine, which does not surprise anybody, including the militia. On 22 September 2000 I. S. Paladiychuk, a dweller of the village of Shchuparka of the Ternopil oblast, who returned from his work in Poland, was cruelly beaten and robbed at the bus station of the Zaliznychny district in Lviv.
The criminals robbed his of all values: 700 USD, the foreign passport, all his baggage and even his cigarette lighter… Everything happened in the daytime, at the presence of many people. When the victim turned for help to the Zaliznichny district precinct, he was directed to another, Frankivskiy district, precinct, from where he was directed back.
The militiamen did not even write the protocol and did not note the description of the attackers (maybe they are already known to the militia?). The law-enforcers did not render any help to the victim and advised him to turn to militia at the place of his residence.
At the same time and in the same place a similar accident happened to a dweller of the town of Kotovsk of the Odessa oblast.
So, how can be guaranteed the security of our citizens declared by the Constitution, if the militia works as it does? It seems that the President was in a hurry when he awarded the Minister of Interior with the Order For services?
Bribe-taker is a head of a village council
Ivanenko had to pay for this certificate every year, until he became 27 and exceeded the recruiting age. At last, this year the lieutenant colonel was caught red-handed while taking a bribe of 200 USD.
All the names here are changed.
Luganska Pravda, brief interpretation by Irina Svetikova
Report on monitoring the results of the recruiting campaign of spring 2000
In those military units, about which we know, 1014 soldiers of the spring-2000 campaign serve, that equals 50.57% of the total number of the recruits (20005 persons).
1014 persons were investigated
% from the total number of investigated
1. Got to a hospital or a medical unit within the first month of service
2. Have chronic diseases, which became acute within the first days of army service.
3. Have behavioral deviations, were detained by militia, took narcotic drugs.
4. Related to the risk group as having suicidal inclinations.
5. Recruited with violation of legal norms (have the right of postponements according to Article 17 of the law ‘On military duty
6. Concealed chronic illnesses from the commission to get to army.
7. Protested that they had no wish to serve in army.
8. Number of attempts to desert.
9. Number of suicidal attempts.
The commanders of 10 (28.57%) military units have no pretensions to the quality of the recruits.
Only 189 per 1014, i.e. 18.63% (some of them got into two or more groups) appeared to be inadequate for army service from the first days. The monitoring of 1999 resulted in similar numbers: 18.25%. The study of 2000 is more representational, that may be explanation why the proportion is larger than in the previous year. Besides, we believe that the responses were sent from better units, where commanders care about their subordinates, so the service there is easier. So, we got only one answer from a unit, where a suicide had happened, so we have no adequate data to debate this question.
The largest proportion of the unsuitable recruits is given by the Moskovskiy and Kharkovskiy district recruiting commissions of Kharkov and the Pervomayskiy recruiting commission of the Kharkov oblast. So, private L., who was recruited by Kharkovskiy district commission, got to the hospital with a kidney trouble. He was demobilized from the army with the conclusion that he had been ill before the army. All in all, 8 persons were demobilized from units studied during the first 2-3 months of the service. One cannot regard reliable the records like illness appeared due to military service, since some military doctors make such records pitying the boys. All these boys had not been investigated adequately, they were called to the army in bad health, during the service their illnesses became more acute, so some of them returned from the army as half-invalids.
Some of the responses we could not read cool-bloodily. So, one of the commanders wrote that two of the five recruits-Kharkovites were dismissed from the army: private Ch. (the Zmiyov district recruiting commission) with the diagnosis organic lesion of the cerebral brain, hydrocephalia, and private S. (the Moskovskiy district recruiting commission) with the diagnosis myocardial sclerosis. Private K. (the Barvenkovo district recruiting commission) committed the suicide. According to the postmortem, in the period before the death was in a psychic condition typical of suicide (schizoid features of character – personality of braking type). This means that all these boys should not be recruited.
The response from another unit read: I inform you that recruits from the Kharkov oblast (260 persons) passed the medical examination on the arrival to the unit, which enabled us to remark the insufficiently high level of their able-bodiness. Namely: private P. was dismissed according to Article 38 – rheumatism, rheumatic heart disease, etc. of the 1st stage; private S. was dismissed according to Article 18 – split personality, moderate, partly or completely compensated. Besides, 27 persons more are substantially undernourished – lack more than 15 kg of weight. The response from this unit also informs that during the first month of the service 48 soldiers got to hospitals or medical unit. The lack of weight is not considered to be a reason for the postponement of recruiting. But is it reasonable to recruit dystrophics? There exist an opinion, that these boys will improve their health in the army. We categorically disagree: the army is not a sanitarium. Such servicemen will not be able for service. Maybe, a special program of rehabilitation is needed for such boys, which will enable the boys to improve their health and be recruited when they become able-bodied and able to serve.
Private Vitaliy L., taken by the Pervomaysk district recruiting commission of the Kharkov oblast, is characterized by the commander of his military unit as follows: L. always complained about his health, especially about his cardiac problems and enuresis. We were surprised when we read the recruiting commission recommendation to use L. as an organizer. L. passed the medical examination in the military unit. The examination showed that L. has the fourth (unsatisfactory) group of the psychic state, the high level of alarm, emotional unsteadiness, exalted type of personality. L. was directed to a hospital, from which he escaped. After L. was returned to the unit, he was directed to the oblast psychiatric hospital, where he was given the diagnosis: emotional unsteadiness, temporary enuresis. According to medical recommendations, L. will be demobilized because of his health. Before the army L. was detained by militia, and even was condemned for theft, but the recruiting commission disregarded these facts. Thus Vitaliy L. was a reason for troubles for his commanders, who, instead of training their subordinates, had to search, catch and heal him, wasting their time and nerves to correct the negligence of the recruiting commission.
Analyzing the addresses of recruits and their parents to public organizations, one can draw a conclusion that the most frequent cause of their complaints is the inadequate medical investigation. 18 persons turned to our organization during the spring recruiting campaign of 2000 with complaints that the medical commission of the recruiting commission disregarded their complaints about illnesses and did not direct them for the additional medical examination. After our interference the boys were examined. 16 out of 18 got a postponement or were considered as restrictedly able-bodied in the peaceful time. This means that 88.9% of the complaint were well grounded. Those recruits, who do not complain at their health, have no chance to get adequate medical examination. The worst lot awaits those, who decided to conceal their illnesses. The proportion of such is 2.46%. They do get to military units, but later they find that they are unable to serve, they become ill, mocked at, they desert. And then it is very difficult to prove that they got to the army by mistake.
Medical commissions have a difficult duty. Their attitude to executing their duty determines the lot of young people and the efficiency of the army. It is well known that unhealthy soldiers, especially with psychic deviations, most often become the objects of the dedovshchina. A man, who is given weapons, must be 100% psychically healthy. That is why, in out opinion, it is time to change the attitude of the doctors to recruits. Doctors must not wait for the complaints, they must industriously examine those, who will take weapons in their hands. Medical errors have a too high cost for the army, both material and moral.
Doctors, working in recruiting commissions, often complain at the excessive load during recruiting campaigns. The recruits, who were regarded as able-bodied before, during the previous registration, start to complain and demand the additional examination. This situation can be essentially improved. The reason is that the medical examination during the previous registration is very superficial. The boys come together with their class and they are shy to confess in some diseases. For example, it is difficult to fancy that a boy will tell about his enuresis or another disease of such type.
Besides, the Union of soldiers mothers receives complaints that recruits cannot get a complete examination because of the poverty of their parents. Some examinations are carried out only for pay: tomographic, immunologic and, some times, X-ray examinations. It is strange why the parents, who are sure that their children are unhealthy, had to pay to prove it. The recruits, who must be examined according to the direction of their recruiting commissions, stay in hospitals. It happens that they get very superficila or no examination at all. For example, recruit O. Who complained at toxico-allergic reactions, stayed in the special ward of a hospital, but was not examined at all. He was not given any allergic test, but he got the diagnosis practically healthy. Recruit P., who has a sugar diabetes from his childhood, after staying in one of the city hospitals, got the diagnosis: bad tolerance to carbohydrates. Now he will undergo additional tests. This controversy of interests is very expensive for the society.
We found that recruits and their parents do not know Article 15 of the Ukrainian law On introducing changes to the law on the universal military duty and military service. That is why they await call-up papers instead of coming to recruiting commissions within one month after the declared mobilization. As a result, some of them are fined.
About 20% of young soldiers recruited from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast are unable to fulfil their service duties completely. It results in moral and material damage for the armed forces and for the state as a whole.
1. Turn to the Minister of Defense with the proposition to return to the restrictions on the insufficient weight of recruits, which was abolished by Order No. 207 of 12 July 1999.
2. Turn to the Kharkov oblast administration with the proposition about the creation of the program of rehabilitation for youths having the weight deficit.
3. To perfect the procedure of medical examination, in particular, during the previous registration, to interview recruits individually, not collectively.
4. To increase the responsibility of medical commission members for the quality of their work. Until the professional army is organized in Ukraine, the recruiting commissions must call to the army only such persons ho are able to fulfil their service duties.
5. To turn to the oblast education department with the request to information future recruits and their parents about their rights and duties during the recruiting campaign and about the procedure of medical examination.
6. To recommend to doctors working with youths to examine future recruits, finding diseases and treating them in the proper time. To inform such doctors about Order No. 207.
7. To oblige the oblast health protection department to provide the high-quality free examination of recruits.
P. S. After this article was already printed in the Russian version of Prava ludyny the Kharkov Union of soldiers mothers received a letter from a military unit. We want to quote this letter: We need your help very much… This spring we have not got recruits from Kharkov or the Kharkov oblast. We got recruits from Odessa and Nikolayev, where no work like your is conducted. We have already demobilized many recruits from these oblasts of the spring call-up.
On the problem of humanization of preliminary prisons
To the ombudsperson of the Supreme Rada
of Ukraine N. I. Karpacheva
To the Head of the Supreme Rada I. S. Pliushch
To the Prime-Minister of Ukraine V. A. Yushchenko
To the Head of the Constitutional Court V. E. Skomorokh
To the Head of the Supreme Court V. F. Boyko
To the General Prosecutor M. A. Potebenko
To the Ministry of Interior Yu. F. Kravchenko
To the Minister of Justice S. R. Stanik
On 4 November there was the 50th anniversary of the European Convention of human rights and basic freedoms protection. In this connection, at the meeting with the representatives of the Lugansk inhabitants on 26 October 2000, the administration of our human rights protection organization mentioned that the development of the state system in Ukraine is more and more influenced by the Convention. The incorporation of the fundamental statements of the Convention into the Second part of the Constitution of Ukraine opened the opportunity of the direct application of the international right norms to the Ukrainian legislation and law-applying practices. Meanwhile, in debating the law-applying practices in our region the participants of the discussion, specialists expressed their worries about the absence of well-coordinated strategy of the implementation of the Convention norms in the sphere of the pre-court processes, trials and penitentiary activities. The majority of abuses of human rights are due, in particular, that many practicing lawyers bred in the traditions of dominating of the state interests over private ones are unable to comprehend the absolute nature of human rights. Besides, they still do not acknowledge the Convention norms as those of the operating laws, thus disregarding Article 9 of the Constitution of Ukraine. It is not quite clear how the precedent right of the Strasbourg court can be extended to the legislation of Ukraine.
In the connection with the necessity to humanize the law-applying practices we would like to attract your attention to a concrete problem of general significance, for whose solving your participation is necessary. Our Committee investigates one of the more acute human rights protection problems: the use of torture during the investigation process in the detention blocks in militia precincts. As our experience shows, torture is applied very often. The very conditions of the upkeep can be considered as a torture, as well the interrogation procedure is a tool of moral breaking of a suspect. Often it serves the criminal practice of faking cases just to improve the reported statistics.
We know cases, which ended fatally. The latest case of this kind occured in the town of Antratsit. On 10 September 2000 Sergey Lysy (4 Petrenko St., the settlement of Bokovo-Platovoб Antratsit), a worker of Antratsit ship repair plant, was detained by militia on suspicion of stealing of metal construction. On 17 September 2000 a motor ambulance transported him from the precinct with traumas incompatible with life, as doctor I. S. Cherniavskiy said. On 18 September S. Lysy died in the intense care ward of the central town hospital.
Torture is dangerous also by the fact that it draws the officers of militia, prosecutors office and court into the vicious circle of criminal actions, from which there is no way out under the existing procedures of the criminal investigation, surveillance and court. Here is an extremely demonstrative and tragic example.
On 1 April 1999 militiamen from the Lutuginskiy district department of the Lugansk oblast detained a Russian citizen Vladimir V. Perekrest for determining his identity (he was visiting his relatives and had his passport on him). He was interrogated the whole day as to his connection with the recent murder of M. O. Chivik. In the process of the interrogation the militiamen started to beat Perekrest, forcing him to confess in the murder. The relatives of the detained witnessed that he was at home in the time of the murder, but their testimony was disregarded. Since Perekrest was battered, the militia did risk to release him. So the repressive machine logic was used: at first they gave an order to detain him for the alleged resistance to militia, next day the court decided to arrest him for 15 days, he was put to the detention block, where they tried to beat out the confession of the murder. As torture tools they applied a gas mask and club. After all Perekrest could not stay the torture any more, signed the confession, after which he was directed to a hospital. There doctors gave the diagnoses: acute cerebral brain trauma, brain concussion, haematoma of the crown of the head and of an ankle. In the hospital ward he was guarded by militiaman, who handcuffed him to the bed. That is the torture continued in the hospital too. After this he was again placed in the detention block for 10 days without any reasons. The complaint handed in by his advocate D. I. Gavrish about the torture was responded by the explanation: Perekrest fell down from the upper bunk in the cell. It became known during the trial that there were no upper bunks in the cell, he actually slept on a bunk 60 cm high. The testimony about his fall appeared to be false. Nonetheless, the prosecutors office by hook or crook tries to get the verdict of guilty. The Lutuginskiy district court twice suspected the convincing force of the accusation act, the case has been recently transferred to the Leninskiy district court of Lugansk. The legal term of keeping Perekrest in the preliminary prison has long exhausted, and his advocate considers illegal his clients stay in the prison. This tragedy concerns not only Perekrest, it is the tragedy of all Ukrainian courts and law-enforcing system, which fast turns into a repressive machine, serving corporation interests.
We are sure that the European vector of the development of Ukraine cannot be realized without a profound change of the law-enforcing system. According to the Convention, the prohibition of torture and unconditional observance of human rights has the absolute character, and namely this presumption, but not the exchange of uniforms and signboards must be put to the base of the reform. We suggest to adopt a special law on the rules of the upkeep in detention blocks that will grant the institutional and procedural guarantees to the detained against the cruel and degrading treatment by militia on the base of European legal standards. These laws must guarantee the creation of the permanently acting independent mechanism for considering complaints about degrading treatment and torture. The present practices, when the procedures of treatment of the detained by militia are regulated by the ministers orders, only worsens the situation. Permit me also to remind that the problems with suspects kept in the detention blocks will become worse after 28 June 2001, when item 13 of the Transitory rules of the Constitution of Ukraine will loose its juridical force. While turning to you we think that in the difficult times of the crisis the reform philosophy must grant the key role to the human rights, as the most important humanitarian resource of the development. To this end, we must develop the nation-wide human rights protection strategy to unite the efforts both of state and non-state human rights protection organizations.
N. Kozyrev, the head of the directorate of the Public Committee of protecting constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens.
PL commentary. We propose to all our readers, to both physical and juridical persons, to support the appeal of the Lugansk human rights protection organization. We suggest our readers to turn to the top authorities of the state with the demand to openly investigate and publicly assess the facts described by Mr. Kozyrev. We must break the chain of the irresponsible acts concerning human life, otherwise we shall have a criminal state and unprotected citizens.
Human rights protectors also need to have human rights
Now Sergey Salov appealed against the oblast court verdict to the court chairman A. Kondratyev. The advocate is sure that he committed no crime. He said, that the description of his actions in the verdict verbally coincides with the corresponding article of the Administrative Code, and that the maximal punishment that can be applied to him is a fine. But this case has other, very unpleasant, consequences.
According to Article 2 of the Law on advocates, a person, condemned for a crime and whose verdict already came into effect, may not be an advocate. Article 17 of the same law reads that the qualifying-disciplinary commission can deprive an advocate of the right to carry out his professional activities. The commission of the Bar considered the question about the prohibition to Salovs practice as an advocate. The condemned advocate asked the commission to give him some time for preparing an explanation, and the sitting was postponed to 22 November.
In spite of the absence of the final verdict of the commission, several days later Salov was not permitted to enter the courtroom of the Kuybyshev district court for the defense of his client. The judge, who headed the trial, explained that the trial was suspended until the legality of Salovs authority would be confirmed.
Several years ago the author saw in London a picket of the Amnesty International workers in front of the office of this organization. The workers had to be fired in connection with the decreasing of financing and, accordingly, the staff reduction in the central office. The picketers carried the placards: Human rights protectors also need to have human rights! Salovs case, it seems to me, is an evidence that Ukraine becomes closer to Europe.
Twenty years later
Certainly, all these events were not unnoticed by the KGB, and the Kremlin decided to take extreme measures. The first signs of such measures appeared as early as in 1979, when the USSR government practically stopped the emigration of Jews to Israel. The activists of national movements, who had been convicted by Article 1901 Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda (Article 1871 in the Ukrainian Criminal Code), were persecuted and condemned again.
In 1980 we, Kharkovites, sensed that important changes are to be introduced. Those who had no illusions with respect to the Soviet power, who had similar people among those with whom one communicated, sensed it especially clearly. First of all it concerned Kharkov scientific intelligentsia. These people irritated the KGB. These people filled the ranks of refuseniks, they distributed samizdat, the listened to the poems of the forbidden Kharkov poets: B. Chichibabin and M. Rakhlina. This circle was vast enough and to intimidate them was the first and main task for the KGB.
So in the 80s the new wave of repressions came to Kharkov. First of all the repressions touched those, who had sinned of decent before. In 1969-70 four people (three of them were former classmates) were condemned in Kharkov according to Article 1871 of the Criminal Code of the UkrSSR, who signed a letter in defense of general Grigorenko and a letter to the UNO about the violation of human rights in the USSR. The four men: Genrikh Altunian, Vladislav Nedobora, Vladimir Ponomariov and Arkadiy Levin got a term of three years each. Altunian was especially hated by the KGB, since, in the opinion of the party nomenclature, he, the former major and the former party organizer, before whom the brilliant career was opened, betrayed party interests. The others, non-party engineers Nedobora, Ponomariov and Levin, were never trusted by the authorities before, since from the first days of its existence the Soviet power never trusted and always suspected the intelligentsia. The four friends, having done their terms for their convictions, never confessed and corrected, as it was later formulated in the court resolution that condemned Altunian for the second time. In fact, the friends went in for human rights protection, helping those, who were persecuted for convictions. Altunian, who worked as a technician in a cinema projecting company after his release, provoked them the most. Many people tried to get his advice, when the KGB started to trouble them and to extract some testimony from them. Refuseniks turned to him. Naturally the friends knew other Kharkov fighters with lawlessness. The poets Chichibabin and Rakhlina were their friends, who, having learned in 1968 for what and how their friend had been incarcerated, came to their families on their own initiative.
The KGB, in their attempts to frighten Kharkov intelligentsia, did not choose Altunian and his friends in vain, because they were a center of attraction for many groups.
On 31 May 1980 the Kharkov KGB searched Altunians flat. They found and confiscated books by A. Solzhenitsyn GULAG Archipelago, A. Koriakov The alive history, J. Medvedev The personality cult and biological science and others. Before the search Altunian had been warned that his activities were anti-Soviet, which rejected pointblank. From August 1980 the KGB began to interrogate a wide circle of his friends and acquaintances, hoping to find witnesses of his anti-Soviet activities. It was another alarming signal on serious intentions of the organs. One could suppose that what was happening was not accidental: in August 1980 Zinchenko, a refusenik, was arrested. He used to visit Altunians friends and knew him personally. Zinchenko was vague figure. He told about himself that he had attempted to defect to the West during a tourist journey, he failed, and having returned he became a refusenik.
His story was suspicious, the more so that later it became clear that he concealed his past: in 1945 he somehow changed his surname by taking the name of the perished soldier. Zinchenko also told that after the attempt to defect in the West Germany the KGB first arrested him and then released. This story seemed even stranger. During the investigation and trial Zinchenko gave evidence against Altunian. The suspicion was whether his appearance was planned by the KGB to obtain needed proofs that Altunian conducted anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda for subversion of the Soviet power. This formulation enabled the court to apply against Altunian Article 70 of the Criminal Code of the USSR, according to which the most active dissidents were condemned and sent to special political concentration camps.
Altunian was an open-minded man, and many different people turned to him for assistance, nonetheless at the trial there were very few people, who brought testimony against him. This was the first obvious failure of the organs. A question appears why the KGB-men wasted their time to find witnesses? It was the peculiarity of the Soviet legislation: everyone could be blamed of the anti-Soviet activities and declared a criminal, if sufficient efforts were applied. The situation changed in the 60s-70s. The violent resolution of social problems became less and less attractive. In the 70s social problems were solved in a much easier way in rich Western countries than in socialist countries that declared social equality. The credit of trust to the first country of workers and peasants was melting as snow on a frying pan. That is why if was extremely important for the Soviet establishment to prove that the enemies of socialism are bought by Western capitalists and are conducting a real subversive work. Even communist parties of the West had to demonstrate their disagreement with the Soviet au, when the Soviet authorities were accused of repressions and willingness to suppress any political freedoms. The KGB faced a very difficult problem: to protect the power from insolent dissidents and pretend to be law-abiding. Bug they failed in Altunians case. By 16 December 1980, by the moment of the arrest, the KGB had had very few proofs in favor of their accusation, the evidence was even smaller. The dubious figure of Zinchenko was hardly proper for this show.
On 16 December 1980 Altunian was arrested. Simultaneously searches were held in flats of his friends Ponomariov and Nedobora (Levin in 1975 emigrated to Israel, where he soon died of a heart attack). The searches were fruitless. At the same time the KGB focused its attention on two other dissidents: a historian Evgeniy Antsupov and a psychiatrist Anatoly Koriagin. Antsupov was an original professional fanatically devoted to science. By applying statistical methods to history he, being far from politics at that time, not only predicted that the Soviet government would start the Afghanistan war, but also came to the conclusion that this step would be fatal for the state. Antsupov wrote a letter to Brezhnev, in which he warned the General Secretary of this fatal step. Of course, he was summoned to the KGB, got under the rigid surveillance and was sacked from his job. Antsupov decided to emigrate. Since that time he became one of the suitable figures for the planned political trial.
A. Koriagin came to a collision with the authorities by quite another way. Working as a doctor in an oblast psychiatric hospital in the Siberia, he observed political repressions against dissidents and the corruption among the local party elite. The communist ideology was quite alien to Koriagin before, but his personal observations made him one of the most merciless and consecutive fighters with the communist regime. Before coming to Kharkov, Koriagin offered his services to the Moscow Helsinki group and became an independent expert on political applications of psychiatric methods. Already working in Kharkov Koriagin managed to get the permission to examine several patients, who had been placed to psychiatric hospitals of various Ukrainian cities of the common type with the KGB initiative. On Kharkov proper there were no such psychiatric repressions.
In all such cases Koriagin gave the conclusion contradicting the official diagnosis. A serious campaign of protest started in the West, partly based on these conclusions. Out of all planned scapegoats only Koriagins actions were covered with Article 70 of the Criminal Code of the USSR (anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation directed at the subversion of the Soviet power). We never concealed that his activities were directed against the Soviet power. Neither the human rights protection activities of Altunian, nor the activities of Antsupov coordinated with this article. Perhaps, the KGB hoped, as we have already said, to get the needed evidence against Altunian during the trial. Naturally, having got no such evidence, the KGB did not reject the plan: both the trial and the verdict were predetermined.
The trial over Aktunian chaired by judge Karpukhin started in the end of March 1981. Before this Aktunian was held for three months in a preliminary prison. Usually the trials over dissidents were closed to the public. Aktunians case that was considered in the oblast court attracted the attention of many people, who partly were unacquainted with him. In this case the KGB broke some of its own rules. Not only relatives of Aktunian, but also some of his friends were admitted to the courtroom. Several friends, who were known by the KGB as tough and uncompromising, were barred from the courtroom. The process was partly opened, because the KGB wanted to frighten the public. But here the efforts of the KGB specialists failed.
First, it became obvious at the trial that the case could not be linked with Article 70. Many understood that Aktunian was tried not for his actions, but for his convictions and his prominence. Scarceness of evidence enabled Vladimir Korabliov, Aktunians advocate, to disprove some accusations and insist on his clients innocence. Secondly, those in the courtroom, among whom there were many younger people, did not conceal their sympathies to the dissident and were not afraid to demonstrate them.
In the end of the trial, after the verdict was pronounced on 1 April, the present got to their feet and cheered Aktunian. Five women threw bunches of flowers at him, the flowers were immediately confiscated.
The moral superiority of Aktunian was so obvious that all the action could be regarded as a failure. The KGB understood this and never admitted the public, except the nearest relatives and witnesses, to the courtroom at the following trials. Aktunian was condemned to the maximal punishment stipulated by Article 70 part 1: seven years of incarceration and five years of exile. He did about six years and was released one later after the Gorbachevs perestroyka.
A. Koriagin was arrested in February 1981, when the investigation of Altunians case was completed and the case was passed to the court. Soon after Altunian got his verdict E. Antsupov was arrested too. Both Antsupov and Koriagin were tried by the same oblast court. Judge Navalny chaired the court at Koriagins trial. Koriagin did not take part in his own investigation and trial, having refused to give any evidence. Kharkov judges did not entertain the public with the diversity of verdicts: everybody tried by Article 70 got his 7 years of incarceration and 5 years of exile. Zinchenko was a witness not only in Altunians case, but in Antsupovs case as well. His efforts were futile, he got his own term too: 6 years of incarceration and 5 years of exile.
In August 1981 refusenik Paritskiy, who tried to leave the USSR for several years, was condemned to 3 years of the common regime colony. He was tried according to Article 1871. In March 1983 the same article was applied to Yuri Tarnopolskiy, a refusenik and a chemist by profession. Thus, the KGB touched all the circles of Kharkov intelligentsia.
But did the authorities reach their main goal – to intimidate the public? Now, twenty years later, one can assuredly answer that this goal ignominiously failed. The society changed. These political processes provoked great indignation, especially among younger people. Some of those, who had delimited themselves to reading samizdat and talking in their kitchens, started to help actively to dissidents families, collect and pass to Western journalists information about the KGB activities. The process of Altunian was transcribed by some people present in the courtroom. This record was published abroad, which enabled Western analysts to assert that a new wave of repressions is rolling in the USSR: Article 70 began to be applied not only for actions but also for convictions. It became clear that in order to frighten and pacify the public, against which the ideological dictate became inefficient, massive repressions were needed. There existed an alternative way – democratization. The author of this lines thinks that the USSR in that time became economically dependent of the West, and the power by and by began to understand that changes were necessary. Besides, massive repressions in the society that awoke from an ideological shock usually had no executioners, since they are not sure of their future and so not resolute enough. Only an ideological and economic crash could make communists refuse from the catching reflex. Otherwise, knowing the structural viscosity of the Soviet system, we may say that the perestroyka would never happen.
The dilapidation of the system began long before the revolutionary years of 1985-86. But then we could not guess the future, and were waiting for the return of our friends and relatives from concentration camps and exiles.
Thank God, the Kharkov dissidents, condemned at these trials, returned alive. Although E. Antsupov returned from the camp as an invalid, one year later he would await the lot of V. Marchenko, Yu. Litvin, V. Stus, O. Tykhiy… Antsupov died of a very sick heart in Germany, to which he emigrated in 1987. He was comparatively young… Sometimes six years is a fatally long term, longer than later twenty…
Political repressions in Ukraine
Maybe, this is a consequence of the general post-totalitarian tiredness, maybe people began to treat the political repressions in the USSR as to distant history that occurred in a foreign state that sank into oblivion and interesting only to a narrow circle of specialists. It is obvious that the interest to dissidents has fallen down.
That is a pity, in my opinion, because the Ukrainian reality grants many reasons for talking that political repressions in Ukraine become more and more observable. Law-enforcing bodies are used for suppressing political opponents, the publication of the opposition newspapers Svoboda and Informatsiyny bulleten is rudely suppressed. The runs of the two recent issues of the latter were taken from the printing shop without ceremony (by USS officers, as the editor-in-chief affirms), and now the newspaper is printed without mentioning the printing shop. Journalist Lesia Voronina, the presenter of the program Ukrainian culture yesterday and today, was removed from work for the interview with Evhen Sverstiuk given without the previous concordance with her bosses, in which Sverstiuk dared to criticize Viktor Medvedchuk, Vasyl Stus advocate (appointed by the KGB) at the poets last trial in 1981. Now Medvedchuk is a well-known politician, the first vice-speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament. We could also add the trial over the Donetsk advocate Sergey Salov.
That is why the Kharkov Group for human rights protection carried out some actions devoted to the Day of political prisoner. We wanted to remind the public to pay more attention to political repressions, which now have assumed a quite different form. One of such actions is just the publication of the above article The everlasting script and the article Twenty years later presented below. The interview of E. Zakharov in the Kharkov TV transmission Den za dniom (Day in, day out) was also dedicated to this topic.
It is worth to dwell on Sergey Salovs case especially (see A. Bukalovs note below). Before the election of 31 Ocotber Salov found in his mailbox a parliament newspaper Golos Ukrainy, which announced President Kuchmas death. The newspaper was a fake, and Salov had no relation to its production. He showed this newspaper to a few people and was arrested. Salov was accused of violating Article 127 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine Hindering election. For this crime Salov was condemned (in July!) to five years of incarceration with the postponement of two years; before this he was kept in a preliminary prison. Salovs advocate handed in several petitions to release Salov from prison on bail, the prosecutor agreed, but the judge was adamant.
In my opinion, the actions of the authorities concerning Salov can be qualified only as political repression.
And how many criminal processes caused by political reasons we have recently had in Ukraine! It seems that they are governed by the principle: We shall not punish our political opponents, we shall punish their sponsors. Under our conditions any sponsor, i.e. a rich business may be put to prison for some reason or another. Our legislation seems to be constructed on purpose in such a way that it must be violated. That is why the authorities could easily deprive the opposition of any support. It is rather difficult to prove in such cases that the criminal persecution has political roots. Nonetheless, one thing is clear: political repressions will continue, of the society will not try fighting with them.
The everlasting script
L. Voronina: We have met Evhen Sverstiuk, the head of the PEN-club in Ukraine and the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Nasha vira, to discuss a very important affair. His speech at the at the meeting devoted to the 15th anniversary of Vasyl Stus death made a great impression on everybody was present. This speech was published in the newspapers Nasha vira and Ukrainske slovo.
Vasyl Stus. 15 years. The measure of presence -- that was the title of Evhen Sverstiuks speech. And I think you will understand why it was so important for me to make as many people as possible hear about this. In his speech Mr. Sverstiuk touched several delicate and even forbidden topics. For now many people consider that confessing their former sins is not necessary. Some people talk about supercilious aura of heroism that are given to those, who died, defending their opinions and principles. Even at the meeting commemorating the poet some speakers told that Stus is often treated like a hero and martyr, which diminishes his role as an outstanding highly gifted poet. I believe that Evhen Sverstiuk will point out this aspect.
So, what is Stus in the Ukrainian history. Ukraine of that time, when Stus got to the prison and perished there, and our present situation from the viewpoint of this tragedy.
E. Sverstiuk: People say that, when a country is humiliated and quite desperate, it can be saved only by a sacrifice. I think, it was true for that time. And the sacrifice is important when, as Lesia Ukrainka said, the man knows where and why to go. When he is protecting his people with its breast, disregarding numerous people, who want to snatch some privileges at this sad masquerade, to provide something for swallowing while the martyr is marching to the cross.
That was the situation around Stus. And we must confess honestly that it was so. Otherwise we shall never comprehend, why the poet, who was far from politics and never wanted to be involved in politics, the poet, who was a successor and pupil of Rilke, a mystic, who perhaps was the most spiritual Ukrainian poet of the 20th century, chose the way on which he was executed as a political rebel. Why should not he step aside, why others could not take his place.
This question is very important because it is actual today and will be always actual. Every historical drama will ever have its own Christ, it own Juda, its own Pilatus, who washes his hands, its own apostles, who retreat in timidity and then regain senses and start to continue their Teachers doctrines. Each drama is going along these lines. And it is endless.
As to making Stus a hero? Do you know that concentration camps of the Soviet Union before the war and especially after it were overfilled by Ukrainians? Their proportion was more than half. Even when I got to a concentration camp in 1973. But they were different people. Many of them stayed there for the war: weak people, who had chosen the easiest way, there were quite accidental people… Suddenly a poet unknown to anybody appeared in the camp. At once all paid their attention to the fact that we was especially persecuted by guards. By and by, those around Stus began to understand that this man has something inside, which they have not, that he is absolutely unable to compromises. He spoke with the camp authorities as if they absolutely had no power over him. He obeyed only some superior authority, who ordered him not to bend to anybody.
During Stus stay in the concentration camp I was not near him: they never directed close friends to the camp. That was why I could meet either with Vasyl Stus or with Ivan Svitlychny under any circumstances. So I judge about Stus life in the concentration camp from Mykhail Kheyfets memories Ukrainsky siluety (Ukrainian silhouettes) and from memories of other political convicts.
L. V.: Kheyfets was not a supported of Ukrainian ideas at all, but staying in the same camp with Stus, Kheyfets appreciated Stus talent, learned his poems by heart; thanks to Kheyfets many poems by him have been preserved. Am I right?
E. S.: Mainly so. This is a very interesting situation. Kheyfets was a Leningrad journalist, who got acquainted with many interesting figures in the camp. Stus attracted him most of all. Kheyfets even learned the Ukrainian language to communicate with Stus. Later he showed Stus as a central figure of his Ukrainsky siluety. Stus was lucky in this respect: in the concentration camp he met a person, who could appreciate his poetry (and that is not a common gift to understand and appreciate poetry), who understood his peculiar ethics, which is determined by unwritten, superior laws.
The poet could not demonstrate especial heroism in the cell, where all was dumb and deaf, where someone could come in and strangle you any minute. We even do not know, if not something similar happened in the solitary cell in Kuchino, in colony No. 36, which is now reconstructed as a museum. It was necessary to keep ones dignity to the very end. And under those circumstances one could keep dignity only struggling incessantly with those, who trampled him. So, Stus was a natural hero and he behaved himself corresponding to the circumstances. Certainly, his nerves were raw and spoilt. When he was at large, he was a very physically strong man. Till 1972 we used to meet often and sometimes played badminton. Then he was a powerful muscular man, to me he seemed to be an athlete. Later, the life in captivity weakened him so that he became quite an invalid.
Certainly, Vasyl Stus was a hero, so there is no need to make him one. Now we have too many puppies, who jump on a pedestal and pretend to be lion. Stus was a man of integrity. I have never met people like him. In captivity I met righteous people, people who could keep silence about their own pains and care about their fellow creature. For example, I knew Stepan Mamchur from Volyn, who died in my presence in the camp in 1977. He was another type of a hero. A man who lit the way to others. Such people were also few.
L. V.: But let us turn to our main topic: Vasyl Stus and the situation that existed in Ukraine then and exists now.
I have understood that the main idea of your speech was giving absolution to those people, who had not confessed their sins, would be a blasphemy before Stus and other people who died defending the truth.
E. S.: As to the collective sin and collective responsibility, I think that it is similar to the collective copulation and collective rape. People dislike it. If the cattle goes to a shed, it acts collectively. But when appears an independent man, he is responsible for all.
What can be said about the trial over Stus? Certainly, the atmosphere existing at that time was extremely cruel. Certainly it was impossible to save Vasyl Stus. But at this trial one could see who is who: everyone went his own way. I would dwell on the role of Viktor Medvedchuk, Stus advocate, who at first had been the advocate of Litvin. First of all, there existed a special permission for becoming an advocate in political cases. Such permission was never given to uncompromising people like Dina Kaminskaya and Kalistratova in Moscow.
L. V.: Do you mean that the authorities knew that such people would never go against the truth?
E. S.: Yes, there are always people, who stand for truth under any circumstances. When Stus met with the advocate appointed to defend him, he immediately felt that Medvedchuk was a man of the Komsomol aggressive type, that he would not defend, would not understand his client and was not in fact interested in the case. So Stus rejected this advocate. The advocate, who is rejected by his client, has no right to participate in the trial, if he has professional honor. But Medvedchuk took part in the trial contrary to Stus will and began his speech in such a manner: For all his crimes Stus vastly deserves a punishment… All this details were reflected in samizdat human rights protection magazine A Chronicle of Current Events issued in Moscow. The attitude of other participants of the trial was reflected there too. In particular, they quoted the brave speeches of Miyhaylyna Kotsiubinska and Svitlana Kirichenko, in which they protected Stus. All this was a kind of a screen, where each participant could see oneself.
And now we have no right to ignore this fact. Every cultural nation must remember the history of its tortured and perished poets.
L. V.: Mr. Sverstiuk, today you have told that on of the present leaders of our state, Viktor Medvedchuk, was rejected by Stus as an advocate. In spite of this rejection, Medvedchuk did take part in the trial and began his speech with an accusation of his client. This is a strange way to defend, although advocates defend even murderers. That you make public this fact is not revenge. It is mere truth.
E. S.: What kind of revenge do you mean? The public must know all this and must learn. I could understand a man, who acted like Medvedchuk, and now was ashamed of it and worked as a watchman hiding from the entire world. But when such a man becomes the hatchet man of the President, when he nearly became a candidate for presidency himself, this means that this man is not ashamed of his past and wants to remain as he was. People must know the truth. The public has the right to know its heroes and anti-heroes.
L. V.: Mr. Sverstiuk, we are finishing our difficult, complicated and very responsible talk. The talk, in which you expressed the confidence, that a society can life and survive only if it lives according to Gods commandments. When we shall know and appreciate all the personae of this eternal drama: Chirst, Juda, Pilatus, apostles and apostates, martyrs and their torturers. What would you like to say to conclude your talk?
E. S.: I want to say that now we have no another choice. Our society has degraded during the years of independence, both economically and morally. And we have only one path towards the world that may accept us. It is an open mind, acknowledgement of European and universal humanistic values, of truth and transparency, accepting the stern law obligatory for everyone.
Prepared by V. Ovsienko
PL commentary. This interview was transmitted by radio in the cycle Ukrainian culture in the morning on 22 September 2000. Next day Lesia Voronina was debarred from this cycle without explaining the reasons. She was also not given the bonus for disciplinary fault (she did not inform her bosses that that she has replaced the planned interview with A. Danilenko by the interview with E. Sverstiuk).
Until that time such replacements passed without comment, but in this case she had a reprimand from the editor V. Moroz, who demanded from her to write an explanation for the first vice-president of the National radio company V. Nabrusok. L. Voronina refused to write the explanation. Now she is on the sick list. She is still not dismissed, but the program Ukrainian culture is already presented by other people.
In our opinion, the previous concordance of transmissions is a camouflaged censorship that is forbidden by Article 15 of the Constitution. In this case Article 6 of the Ukrainian Law On TV and radio broadcasting is violated.
Lesia Voronina is an experienced journalist and editor, the wife of the deceased writed Evhen Gutsal. Along with the work for radio she edits the children magazine Soniashnyk.
Victims of political repression
For what a man was killed in Antratsit militia?
The press-service of the Lugansk Department of internal affairs asserts that, staying in the detention block, Sergey had a fit of mental disease and was hitting his head against the wall. But doctors said that it is impossible to break ones chest in such a way. Another explanation of militia was that Sergey was beaten by his cellmates. So, it is very possible that this time also no measures would be taken in connection with the fact of death of a man detained by militia and not even prosecuted yet.
30 years ago under enigmatic circumstances an outstanding Ukrainian artist Alla A. Gorskaya was killed. We want to remind the reader the sketch of life and death of this great daughter of the Ukrainian people.
Gorskaya was one of organizers of the Creative Youth Club Sovremennik (Contemporary), 1959 – 1964. Jointly with V. Simonenko and L. Taniuk she discovered the place of interment of the executed by the NKVD in Lukyanovskoye and Vasylkovskoye cemeteries in Bykovnia (1962 – 1963), about which they announced in Kyiv city council (Memorandum No. 2). After this V. Simonenko was brutally beaten and soon died from a virulent malady of kidneys in 1963.
In 1964 Gorskaya, jointly with O. Zalivakha, L. Semykina, G. Sevruk and G. Zubchenko, made a stained-glass window Shevchenko. Mother in Kyiv University. The glass shows gloomy Shevchenko who embraces the seduced woman — Ukraine — with one arm, and in another raised hand holds a book. At the bottom of the composition there are his words: Ill glorify these silent slaves, and to protect them from a rogue I put the word as a watchdog. The stained-glass window was disassembled by the university administration. The commission created after this conflict regarded the stained-glass window as ideologically harmful: … Shevchenko is shown behind a grate (it was a frame to fasten the glass. — Editors note). The approach is quite formalistic and is not compatible with Shevchenkos image. The authors have to show that Shevchenkos dream came true… and so on, and so forth. Gorskaya and L. Semykina were excluded from the Union of Artists of Ukraine. In a year they were reinstated.
In 1963 many friends and acquaintances of Gorskaya were arrested. This year became for her the beginning of active participation in the resistance. On 16 December 1965 Alla Gorskaya directed the application to the prosecutor of the Ukrainian Republic concerning the arrests. The application was published in samizdat. Gorskaya directed her application after the trial of Ya. Gavrich; besides, she directed two complaints to the prosecutor of the Ukrainian Republic in December 1965 and March 1966.
Gorskaya was summoned to the KGB for interrogations as a witness and for the confrontations, where she heard usual KGB talks with warnings and threats. She assisted to political convicts families morally and materially, she corresponded with them and with O. Zalivakha. In April 1966 she signed the petition in his support. Human rights protection activists after their release from prisons and colonies turned for help to Gorskaya.
Gorskaya was also present at the trial of V. Chornovil on 15 September 1967 in Lviv, where she with the group of other Kyivans protested against illegal procedures of the court. On April 1968 she signed The Letter of protest of 139 directed to the leaders of the Communist party and the Soviet state with the demand to stop the practice of illegal processes. This text was included into the samizdat collection Protsess Chetyriokh (The process of the four) about the case of Ginzburg — Galanskov. Administrative repressions began against those who signed the protest, the KGB pressed on them. Rumors circulated in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine that an underground terrorist Bandera organization existed in Ukraine under the control of Western security services. Gorskaya was called one of the chieftains of this organization. On 15 June 1968 she and seven more persons were excluded from the Union of Artists of Ukraine.
She was tailed, sometimes demonstratively, she was threatened by strangers. In 1970 she was summoned to an interrogation in Ivano-Frankivsk about the case of the arrested V. Moroz, but she refused to give any testimony. Several days before her death she wrote a protest letter to the Supreme Court of the Ukrainian Republic on the illegal and cruel verdict pronounced to him.
On 28 November 1970 Alla Gorskaya was killed in the town Vasylkov of the Kyiv oblast. Her funeral was appointed on 4 December. This day her friends organized an exhibition of her pictures in her studio, some people came from other towns. Suddenly the funeral was postponed to the 7 December allegedly in the interests of the crime investigation. The coffin was prohibited to be carried to her house and to her studio. Nonetheless, about 150 – 200 persons gathered in the cemetery. E. Sverstiuk, V. Stus, I. Gel and others delivered their speeches. The crime investigation conducted by the prosecutors office of the Kyiv oblast came to the conclusion that Gorskaya was killed by her father-in-law due to personal motives, after which he committed suicide. Awful rumors were distributed in Ukraine about these two deaths, foreign radio stations suggested their own versions. The authorities tried to hush-hush any talks about Gorskayas death.
After the disintegration of the USSR the prosecutors office and security service of Ukraine never made public any information about Gorskayas death, in spite of the public demands, although the criminal case was reopened. The analysis of the case showed that the investigation was incomplete, full of contradictions and was carried with violation of the proper procedures, i.e. it was fabricated. General traits with murder of other political figures in the USSR are easily observed.
Alla Gorskaya is buried in Minskoye (Berkovetskoye) cemetery in Kyiv
News from the CIS countries
Where and how to get material support
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