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A. A. Bolonkin

Memoirs of Soviet Political Prisoner

1991

New York

Translation from Russian

Contents

Preface

1.     Soviet material well-being

2.       Acceding to  remedial activity

3.       Propaganda leaflets

4.     Arrest, investigation

5.       Trial

6.       Concentration camp JH-389/17а

7.    Concentration camp hospital

8.       Concentration camp  JH-389/19

9.       Penalty isolation ward and penalty cell (special prison)

10.   Concentration camp in Barashevo

11.   Road to exile

12.   First exile

13.   Second arrest

14.   Ulan-Ude prison

15.   Second trial. Concentration camp ОV-94/2

16.   Third arrest and fabricating “a new case”

17.    Second exile.

 

APPENDIX /according to the materials of radio station “Svoboda”/(“Freedom”)

1. “Amnesty International” Statement.

2. The leaflet of Civil Committee.                           

3. A. Bolinkin’s appeal to Chairmen of Soviet Supreme Council N. Podgorny.                     

4. Appeal of academician Sakharov in A. Bolonkin’s defense.    

5.                    Appeal of Elena Bonner and other members of Moscow group “Helsinki” in A. Bolonkin’s defense.                      

6. From radio broadcast of radio station “Svoboda”.                              

7. Valreiy Rubin, "To Alexander Bolonkin" /poem/.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - -

 

Alexander Bolonkin is a Doctor of Technical Sciences, specialist in aviation, rockets, and mathematics. He worked in experimental-design bureaus of O.K.Antonov, V.P.Glushko, taught in Moscow Aviation Institute, Moscow Aviation Technology Institute, and Moscow Technical University named Bauman. He is an author of more than 100 scientific works and 17 inventions. He was first arrested in 1972 on accusation of distributing works of academician A.D. Sakharov, writer A.I. Solzhenitsyn and others. He was sent to a concentration camp and then to exile where he spent 15 years. When perestroika began he was discharged and deported abroad. Now he lives in the USA.

Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences Ivan Martynov

 

Alexander Bolonkin had everything one can wish for: interesting job in the most prestigious sphere of space engineering, advanced degree of Doctor of Sciences, material well-being. He possessed all this and he resigned all this standing up against the regime in the years when the end of its existance couldn’t be predicted. He began struggling and lost everything. A new life of political prisoner, with all its dreadful aspects, began.

Doctor of Historical Sciences Vladimir Gusarov

"TWO LIVES OF ALEXANDER BOLONKIN – A SCOLAR AND A POLITIVAL PRISONER"

 /From the series of programs of Russian-American radio in the USA /

/ 4 programs for 45 min. each/

Preface

                The victory of democratic forces in the Soviet Union in August of 1991 had put an end to the bloodiest and the most dreadful regime in the history of humankind. It caused a death toll of 60 million people. The social order was based on total hypocrisy, falsehood, violation of the primary human rights and bloody repressions. The Communist party which had proclaimed itself to be the torch, the flag of all the labouring men ceased to be. The menace of basing our “bright future” and “people’s happiness” on the ashes of all the mankind in a contaminated by radiation world diminished.

                We must remember, about this struggle, about the torments, sufferings and taken-away lives of people who were fighting against the existing regime in as it might seem hopeless situations.

                Here are the short notes about my life in Soviet concentration camps and exiles. I’d like to apologize to the people I couldn’t mention about because of limited content. My full memoirs confiscated in 1982 by KGB haven’t been returned to me till now.

1.  Soviet material well being

I was born in city Perm (middle Russia) and grew up, as most of Soviet children, in usual soviet poverty. My mother worked as a janitress, father died in 1936 in Soviet-Japanese encounter by Hankin-Goal (Mongolia). We lived in a small room of wooden hut with all the “conveniences” in the yard (as it is often said today).

I was an A-student beginning with the 4th form; I got interested in avia modelling quite early and took part in many competitions, held a series of all-Union records and even exceeded a World Record once. I graduated from Kasan Aviation Institute with GPA = 5 (excellent) and was sent to work to Research and Development Bureau of O.K.Antonov (in Kiev), where I bettered to the leading engineer-designer of flying data quite soon and took part in engineering Soviet planes from АN-8 to АN-124.  Simultaneously I was studying on the mechanical-mathematical faculty of Kiev University, than I entered the postgraduate study of Moscow Aviation Institute.

After I defended a Doctor Thesis in 1964, I worked in Research and Development Bureau of ocket engines of academician V.P.Glushko, than I taught in Moscow Aviation Institute, in Moscow Aviation Technology University and in Moscow Technical University named Bauman. In 1971 I upheld a Post-Doctor Dissertation on Cybernetics.

               By the middle of the 1972 I published more then 40 scientific works and books.

                Being a scientist I saw a lot of troubles and senseless things in the Soviet System, but having no other information except the official propaganda I related them to the personal drawbacks of several people. I assumed that the aims of the socialism are honourable, the successes are great and in the length of time everything will be O.K., because the Communist Party had promised in 1962 to build Communism by 1980. My mother told me about the fear that people felt in the 30-s, when at nights prison-vans, so called “Black Maria or black crow” were taking people away. But I believed in communists’ statements that these were Stalin anomalies and they wouldn’t repeat again.

2.   Acceding to remedial activity

In 1970 I got acquainted with Jury Jukhnivets. He said to me that he was a student of Moscow University, but he was expelled from there for critical speeches and then he was working as a loader. He told me something about the movement for right in the Soviet and offered me some samizdat[1] materials, particularly the “Chronicle of Current Events” – a magazine with information about the clandestine repressions in the USSR published on typewriter.

                Truly speaking, I was filling up with horror reading that data. I was shocked by the cruelty which those “fighters for people’s happiness” (as the powers proclaimed themselves to be) were chasing people, showing other views or just interchanging some disagreeable information.

                Soon Jukhnivets asked me to keep samizdat and prohibited literature for some time. He couldn’t keep it at home, because he was registered in KGB. He brought a whole trunk and I was reading it for a month without a break. I learnt about the activity of the Party and its “most honorable” and “most prominent” leaders, about such things which my hair stood on end from and all the Nazi crimes paled beside them. Being grown by the Soviet school in the spirit of fighting for happiness of the working class I saw that the worst enemies of that class were the Communist Party and its leaders, that the greatest defraudation in the history of mankind was taking place.

                I decided to help that movement by everything I could. By that time Jukhnivets acquainted me with Valery Balakirev, a teacher at collage. And he in his turn acquainted me with his friend, engineer-electrician, Vladimir Shaklein. They were both registered in KGB for signing a row of protests against violating human rights in the USSR.

                Balakirev introduced me to a geologist from Leningrad, Georgy Davydov and his wife Lera Isakiva. Georgy was once arrested for keeping the forbidden literature and KGB gave his neighbours instructions to spy on him.

One of my acquaintances, who knew about my interest to the forbidden literature, sent to me a student, Sergey Zarya, who was interested in it too and, on his own showing, was expelled from the University for the attempt of creating illegal group.

                I was quite a good photographer and I quickly learnt reproduction. By that time some seditious works began to come to the intellectual Soviet would-be users from abroad. They cost extremely high. It became more profitable to the seamen of the foreign trade fleet, to tourists and people on assignment trips to bring the political literature rather than pantyhose and electronic watches. Of course, it was more dangerous than an ordinary contraband, but the gainings were higher.

                One to three books were enough for an intellectual to begin changing literature on the principle: you give me this; I give you that just for reading.  This process was greatly simplified for us. Usually one needs weeks for careful reading a thick book. But people reluctantly gave such books for long terms (that literature was in demand!), one could easily get samizdat book just for one or two evenings. This was a usual task of Valery Balakirev. But Jury Jukhnivets brought a lot literature too.

                Having got the book for several hours they rushed to me, I put the book under the self-made reproducing installation and re-photographed it for 1 or 2 hours. The reading of the contents began frequently after photo-printing and the book was returned to the author.

                Using that method we made photofilms and copies of many foreign books, periodicals, samizdat materials and abroad magazines. For example, the book of Conquest “The Great Terror”, Avtorkhanov’s “Technology of Power”, Djilas “The New Class”, Marchenko “My testimony”, Berdyaev “The Origin of the Russian Communism”, foreign magazines “Posev”, “Grani”, “Vestnik PSKHD”[2] and Soviet backstreet magazines such as the “Chronicle of Current Events”, “Svobodnaya Mysl” (Free thinking ), “Democrat”, “Luch svobodi” (The beam of freedom), “Veche”(“Meeting”) and so on.

                By that time Balakirev made acquaintance with the son of ideological worker of Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With his help he received Soviet illegal typographical translations of foreign political books. In particular, by that way we got photo-film and photo-copy of Willy Shikling “Khrushchev’s hand organ. Getting in mankind's hair”, translated from German, published by “Progress” Publishing House, 1964, 144 pages. (It was the book about Khrushchev’s methods of propaganda). We also got the full publication of Gaulle’s “Memoirs” (France President). The last book was later published in the USSR with big cutting out. 

                Soon we collected quite a wide library consisting of hundreds, if not thousands of illegal books.

                Photo-films were convenient because everybody could make the necessary number of printings himself.

                Certainly, everything read was not taken on trust. I aimed to check what possible by myself.  In one of samizdat compositions I came across a phrase that the first five-year plan was not fulfilled. Just on that time on my Department of Mathematics in the Moscow Technical University there were special celebrations devoted to the successful fulfillment of the regular five-year plan (1965-1970). I took a newspaper of 1965 with the directives for 1970 and a newspaper of 1971 with the information about the succeeded results. From 47 indices mentioned only 3 secondary were fulfilled. For example, the plan of selling of furniture (in rubles) was carried out (and even exceeded). But the compilers of the report “forgot” to write that the plan was exceeded by the rise in prices for furniture.

                Many important issues were done only for 15-20%, though in general concerning the quantity of production the plan was fulfilled for approximately 50%.

                I was shocked by the insolence of the authorities and surprised by the naivety of the people. At the official meetings Communist Functionaries were saying about the grand progress, about the successful fulfillment of the five-year plans and none of the educated people, not to mention ordinary working class, had a single thought to  compare the pre-arranged and the succeeded indices! In consequence I assured myself the same was about any other Soviet five-year plan. Neither of them was exceeded or just fulfilled by half.

            The terrible blow was checking of plan of “Building Communism” by 1980, taken on the 22d congress of the C.P.S.U. in 1961. There were given halfway indices which must have been reached in 1970. Neither of them was fulfilled. At best the fulfillment was 15-20%. Not only the students and the pupils but also all the working class were made to learn the program of “Building Communism” by heart. I don’t remember a case when somebody tried to check the statements about its successful fulfillment and tried to compare the planned and the reached points.

                Second thing, I tried to check a Soviet asseveration about the unprecedented growth of soviet welfare after the “socialistic revolution” and the awful poverty of working people in the countries of the “rotten capitalism”. In particular, I decided to test the communistic saying that from 1913 to 1970 the payment of soviet workman had become 180 times bigger. (All the data I give from memory). Even if Russian workers were poor in 1913, they were not dying of hunger and the increase of payment in 180 times would bring the upper wealth in the world. My common sense prompted me to compare the prices to the major products and to the articles of prime necessity.

I tried to find the information about prices and payments in the USA and in the West countries in Soviet literature. But all that was in vain. All the Soviet sources were full of statements about poverty, unemployment, lack of dwelling in the “countries of capital”, but there were no exact numbers. After reading such literature I wondered, how the people of the country hadn’t died out of starvation.

By that time I got to know that there was a special room № 13 in the Lenin Library (Central Federal Library in Moscow). There one could find forbidden literature just for “officials” to use. That room turned to be located at the upper store of the library in the service department. One had to go through very long passages to get there. It was explained to me that to use those literature I had to get a special application from my Institute with the name of the research. An access to the special fund was usually given for one year.

                I made such an application to the theme “The research of growing wealth of Soviet people” and became the reader of that special fund. There I had written out many secret statistic data about the state of health of the soviet people, about the cancer, tuberculosis, sickness rate, rate of venereal diseases, mental disorders, about alcoholism and drug addiction. I found the information about lack of medical staff, hospital wards, medicines, about the quantity of lunatic asylums, so-called “treatment-and-labour clinics for alcoholics” (i.e. concentration camps for alcoholics).

                There were the data about the prices at the kolkhoz markets of the country and secret reports of people sent on mission to other countries.

                Unfortunately the information about the wages and retail prices to articles of prime necessity was absent even there.

                Finally I managed to get foreign statistic compendiums and works of the UN that contained the required material.

In the upshot I wrote a profound research work “The Comparison of Living Standards of Working Class in Russia, the Soviet Union and the Capitalistic Countries”, articles “Public Health in the USSR and in foreign countries”, “About the Results of the 8th five-year plan of 1966-1970”, “Comparing the Results of the First Decade of «Building Communism» to the pre-arranged indices of the 22d Congress of C.P.S.U.” and other informational materials.

                Besides together with Balakirev we began publishing social and political magazine Svobodnaya Mysl (Free thinking) which was mimeographed in great quantities. One of the issues of that magazine came abroad and was published in the collection of works “Volnoe slovo” (“Free speech”) № 7, Posev, 1973.

                Some samizdat works, mostly magazines, were typed on typewriter. The copies were indistinct and hard to read. I realized that the movement against violating human rights was doomed to be an eternal amusement of the few intellectuals without proper copyprinters. But where could one find a copyprinting machine in the country, where all the copiers were affixed with seals at night and placed in the special rooms where only proved KGB members could work on it. There was the only decision – to make the machine ourselves. It had to be easy to make and quite efficient.

                For a long time I was sitting in the Lenin Library. In the Soviet times such literature was not published and it is clear that a prudent KGB tried to seize all the pre-revolutionary articles (before 1917) devoted to the theme. Still I found some information in the belles-lettres, old licences (patents). At the same time I learnt about the methods of enciphering, cryptography and conspiracy. All that was collected in the samizdat book of Sukhov “Simple Methods of Copying Technical Documentation” and in the series of samizdat articles devoted to the methods of copying, enciphering, cryptography and conspiracy.

                I invented the method of mimeography almost anew; I technically worked the method up, making it simple and effective.

                The text was typed on the fibrous paper sodden with paraffin with the help of typewriter. The obtained matrix was put on the bland print and was pressed by the roller with paint. There appeared a copy below. All the process took few seconds. The components were sold at stores. Anybody could make or buy a photoroller. Indeed the quality of the imprints was quite low.

                I ordered 7 or 8 rubber rollers to one of the skilled workmen of MHTU[3], gave them to Balakirev, Ukhnovez, Davydov, Zarya, Shaklein and taught them how to use the device. It was simple; actually it was made of the rubber roller only. Later KGB didn’t draw its attention to that roller when conducting a search of Georgy Davydov’s apartment in Leningrad.

                After the invention of that device the Chronicle of Current Events, underground magazines were published in hundred of copies in our group, not to mention other. We began publishing social and politic magazine Svobodnaya mysl (“Free Thinking”); I began issuing my book “The Comparison of Living Standards of Working Class in Tsar Russia, USSR and in Capitalistic Countries”; and Balakirev started printing in parts the book of Conquest “The Great Terror”.  Almost everything was distributed free of charge and I incurred all the main expenses as I was the most well-off person. Zarya even rented a flat, enlisted his friend Rybalko and organized a real printing-house. Unfortunately, he acted of selfish ends and he sold secretly the printed literature to outsiders on very high prices.  Till the arrestment our group had copied more than 150 000 pages of the forbidden political  literature and phototakes.

Soviet authorities became anxious when mimeographed prohibited magazines, books began running all over the country and searches seized not one single book but the whole editions. They understood quite well that one couldn’t be a great propagandist producing 4-5 copies. But when almost everyone could make hundreds and thousands of copies without difficulty, that underground freedom of press could undermine the existing regime. Every member of KGB was enlisted and All-Union hunting began.

By that time I was registered in KGB as a reader of forbidden literature. In Leningrad I showed some samizdat material to V.Senyukov - sister-in-law’s husband. He was very interested and asked me to give him to reprint some material. I gave him the literature under the stipulation that he wouldn’t show it to his wife, Valentina. He hadn’t kept his promise. She brought the article “The Daughter of the Tyrant” (about Stalin’s daughter) to work, to boast before her friend. Then she remembered that friend’s uncle works in KGB ran home and burnt everything in panic. When she was called to KGB, she told that her husband received that literature from me. Still she said nothing to him about the summons. When he was pulled about, as though to social insurance company, he gave me in his fright away, but he was courageous enough to ring me up to Moscow and to say about that.

3.  Propaganda leaflets

                In June 1, 1972 it was 10 years from the day of great rise in prices for foodstuff in 1962.  During that rise our Soviet officials swore that it was temporary and “two or three years would pass and the prices would be set even lower than they were”.

                Yuri Jukhnovets decided to print and to distribute propaganda leaflets devoted to that event. I tried to dissuade him from that idea but he was resolute. He asked me to help him to draw up the text (which he later rewrote replacing facts by emotions) and to print several copies. About 3500 leaflets were made then.

                On the night of the 1st June, 1972 Jukhnovets and his friends distributed those lists in the mailboxes of 6 regions of Moscow. Next day he gave the information and the samples of the leaflets to Petr Yakir, and he in his turn handed them over to foreign journalists. On the 19th of June, 1972 some foreign radio stations broadcasted the information about the leaflets, their contents and distribution.

                I suppose it was the biggest leaflet distribution in USSR since 1920. Central Committee gave instructions to KGB to find the guilty. All Moscow KGB was turned on its head.

                Handing over the leaflets to Petr Yakir (son of famous communist military chief marshal repressed by Stalin)  Jukhnovets said that he was connected to the group of intellectuals which disposed of duplicating machines and was able to provide others with this technique and to print underground magazines and issues in large quantities.

                In July, 1972 Yakir was arrested. Unfortunately, by that time he ruined himself by drinking and wasn’t able to live without alcohol. KGB promised him sea of vodka if he told everything. He told 120 volumes, including stories about our group. My phone was tapped and I began noticing spying.

4.  Arrest. Investigation

                In September, 1972 Georgiy Davydov was returning to Leningrad from Siberia geological expedition. He telegraphed us that he would visit Moscow in passing and we prepared a parcel for him.

                On 27th September he came to me, stuffed his knapsack with literature, photographic films and went to the airport. He had to wait several hours before the departure. Having decided to walk about the city, he left his things in the checkroom. That was a terrible blunder. It’s hard to say if he had been followed from Siberia (he was most surely spied on in the expedition) or he was followed (and didn’t notice it) from me.

                In any case, KBG decided to check his luggage, jumped from their luck and at the same moment arrested Davydof, in two hours – me, Balakirev, Zarya and Rybalko. Next day Yukhnovets was found and in two days Shaklein was taken from his official trip.

                The search at my apartment lasted 10 hours. About 10-12 KGB workers took part in it. Investigator Gorshkov S.N. headed the search. They seized prohibited literature,typewriter and radio set. It’s funny that neither of the hiding places was found, though the search was very thorough (they looked over every sheet of paper, tapped the walls, and disassembled all the household appliances). Furthermore, I managed to hide my notebooks (they were very important).

                About 2 hours at night I was brought out of my room, set in car between two husky KGB men who brought me to remand KGB prison in Lefortovo (district of Moscow). There I was stripped naked, my clothes were scanned in every fold, and they examined even my asshole. “Do you seek the prohibited literature there?” I lost my temper. “As it should be”, prison matron answered.

                After the examination, I was led to a dark one-man cell with iron bunk, table, cemented to floor and small barsed window, curtained outside by iron shutters. Gorshkov was soon followed by the team of investigators headed by Trofimov A.V. He resembled a rat that is ready to serve any regime for his own private profit, be it fascism, racism or communism.  Only once a thought burst out of him: “You are saying about innocent victims of Stalin, but do you know how many NKVD workers had Stalin killed?”

                “The dictators annihilate executers of dirty business first when covering their tracks,” I answered. He never recurred to that theme again.

                Sometimes Konkov N.I., the head of the Moscow investigation organization of KGB (Soviet Secret Police), came to the interrogation. He reminded me of a fatten pig by his dimensions and behavior.

                I hadn’t come across any intelligent person in KGB. Only Petrenko, the superior of the KGB Lefort prison, was trying to play that role. He liked to summon dissidents under investigation and talk about his taking part in the famous Rokotov case (underground clothes production), when communistic rulers used the retroactive force of the law and prosecuted the group of entrepreneurs.

                Funny, that the prison guard searched the prosecuted after the interrogation by Petrrenko. Apparently, mutual spying had eaten the whole system of KGB through. I heard the talk of two KGB men, when one was inviting the other to drink with him. The person answered: “I drink with you, and you will go and fink about me!”

                I was sitting in a 3-men cell together with whistlers. In general they were speculators, insolent bribe takers, people accused of robbing foreigners and parricide.  The most conspicuous of them was Anatoliy Gritsai, accused of acquiescence for detection to the spy and attempted illegal frontier traverse. Having given up one of the great west spies, who helped him in his escape to the West, he was in service of term in KGB prison, finking, working psychologically over people and cooking up charges against many people.

                Political prisoners were never put in one cell. The food was awful; there was none of medical care. People were fully isolated from the outer world (indeed sometimes there was central communist  (newspaper “Pravda” to read). Sleeping at bar iron of the bunk with thin mattress was a torture.

                The investigation was going on for 9 months. Trofimov was annoyed and he continually reproached me: “You begin remembering something only when you are driven into a corner by facts! So-and-so (he named one of the members of our group) snaps away the microphone and tells everything when I haven’t yet finish asking the question!”

                KGB was screening all my life, trying to cook up as many charges as possible. They tried 12 assets: beginning with statute-banned trade (giving private lessons) ending with parricide (Balakirev told them that in case of arrestment I allegedly was ready to tell foreign reporters soviet technical secrets (but how could I do it, being imprisoned?). Nevertheless in spite of all KGB’s efforts, they couldn’t catch on anything except Asset 70 of RSFSR Criminal Code (anti-Soviet propaganda). Practically, I was almost the only prisoner in Political Mordovia Concentration Camp who had purely one 70 Asset, without any criminal “makeweights”.

After 9-month investigation, I was served a verdict, cooked up by Trofimov. It was formed in one sentence of approximately 20 thousand words, where all the titles of “anti-Soviet” documents were written with small letter. None of the facts of slander was quoted. All of them were announced “anti-Soviet, slandering fabrications, defiling Soviet political and social system” not furnished with proof.

Even my quotations (with precise indication of sources) from the decisions of past C.P.S.U. (Communist Party of Soviet Union) conferences and CC[4] plenary sessions with promises of better living standards of people were called “anti-Soviet and slandering”.(All they were taken from official communist publications with issue, page, and published date). As all the terms, indicated in those documents had passed long before, they caused laughing. When I asked Trofimov, how he could name the decisions of C.P.S.U. conferences “anti-Soviet”, he answered frankly: “Bolonkin, you are a clever person! What had you been delving into the past C.P.S.U. meetings for? There are new meetings, new promises!”

5.  Trial

The trial took place on 19 - 23 November in 5 months after the end of investigation, what was the infraction of the law by itself. Balakirev and I were judged in the building of People's Court in Babushkin Region of Moscow; the chief justice was Lubentsova V.G. Other cases were singled out in separate legal procedures.

Entrance, stair cases and corridors were encircled by KGB. In the hall about 10 KGB workers were trying to make themselves out to be the “audience”. Even my wife was kept out of the hall of so-called “open court”. Academician Sakharov tried to get in the hall of court session thrice, but failed to do it.

                In 1973 communistic rulers were playing “defusing” with the West. They conducted a Congress of Peace –Loving Forces in Moscow and organized speeches of Yakir and Krasin about their repentance. That’s why they lingered with our trial.

                Court decision read: “Concerning the accused Bolonkin court commission takes into consideration his actions in commission of crime – production of copying machines for copying anti-Soviet documents in great quantities… and also large quantities of literature produced, copied and distributed by him in person and has found obligatory to choose punishment of 4 years of concentration camps of special regime and 2 years of exile”. “Radio-gramophone, radio set “Spidola”, photographic apparatus and typewriter must be turned to State income as the instruments of crime”.

                Concerning the accused Balakirev court commission takes into consideration that he made a frank confession both in course of investigation, and in court commission.  By his behaviour he COOPERATED in thorough and full revelation of the crime. The court commission had found possible to apply Asset 44 of RSFSR Criminal Code in his case and to choose punishment not concerned with deprivation of liberty”. He had a conditional sentence for 5 years.

                Balakirev held all the connections in his hands; KGB began 12 new cases according to his testimony and was very happy.

                Zarya and Rybalko were released in 4 months after the investigation as they made frank confessions and cooperated in revelation of the crimes. Vladimir Shaklein was granted pardon (before the trial) and released in Oktober, 1972. On the basis of his testimony KGB produced a new case against 3 members of his “Cultural and Educational Association”.

                Concerning Yukhnovets, KGB’s “psychiatrists” gave him their conclusion that he was irresponsible of his actions a year before (in spite of the fact that they didn’t observe him, when he distributed the propaganda leaflets) and that he was psychiatrically healthy in the time of court and could give testimonial evidences. He was released and was registered in psychiatric center (i.e. under the threat of placing in prison psychiatric clinic on any moment).

                Thus only I was sent to concentration camp out of a whole arrested Moscow group.

                Two people were arrested in Leningrad group: Georgy Davydov and Slava Petrov. Their criminal procedure was less known and they were treated more cruelly.  Though they had 4-5 times less items of prosecution than Balakirev and I, Davydov got 5 years; Petrov got 3 years of strict-security camp.

6.  Concentration camp JH-389/17а

                In February, 1974 I was sent from Lefortovo KGB prison to Mordovia political concentration camp (about 500 miles to East from Moscow). Before sending off, they searched me thoroughly, took away my notes. Late at night they brought me to the rear yard of Kursk Railway Station (Moscow) by the prison-van and in huge mass of prisoners they pushed me into the Stolypin (special prison) carriages. There carriage guards searched me over again and took everything that was valuable. They beat me when I tried to protest against the robbery, and put me in separate small compartment-cell as political prisoner.

                In Potma (Mordovia) train stopped at the high railway embankment and during our going out the guards amused themselves kicking the prisoners out of carriage and laughing till he moved down the embankment.

                First concentration camp, where I was brought, was situated in the village Ozerniy and was encrypted as a main defense objective under the mail box JH-385/17а. Later I made sure that encoding the information about the location under the mail boxes concerns all the concentration camps of the Soviet Union, including criminal ones.

Political prisoners received me well. They were Egorov (Russian), Mikitko Yaromir (Ukrainian), Misha Korenblit and Ilya Gleizer (Jewry), Rode Guner, Alex Pashilis, Vilchauskas Brotislav (Baltic countries), Graur Valeriy (Moldavian), Mikelyan Suren (Armenian) and others. There I met Slava Petrov. Lots of people were there: members of national liberation movements, religious people, imprisoned for the attempted escape from USSR and former Nazi collaborators.

                Political prisoners brought me up to date about all camp affairs, and I told them about the old (1.5 years) news from outside.

                We worked 6 days a week, sewed mittens. Rates of output were very high for elderly people and every year they were increased for 10%. The food was poor and unvaried (bad porridge and oats).  We felt the lack of animal protein, animal fat and vitamins. But most of all we felt lack of information. Our attempt to make a radio set failed because we had no necessary details.

                Besides continual sudden searches, sometimes, several times a day, made that undertaking very dangerous.

                We had to be content with an official political hour lead by semi-literate heads of the camp officers, who read lectures sent from the leaders stammering. We were prohibited to ask questions on public. To know something one had to stay and to speak with them privately. But they couldn’t even explain even the things they read. So there were no people wishing to be politically informed.

                Misha Korneblit was a participant of a famous airplane case, when the group of Jewry bought all tickets to the airplane and tried to fly to Israel with the help of their own pilot. Alex Pashilis and Rode Guner were advocating for separation of their occupied republics, and Candidate of Biological Science Ilya Gleizer was sent to concentration camp just for unwillingness of living in the USSR.

                I was especially shaken by the life of Old Believer priest Mikhail Ershov, who had died in that camp. I read his verdict and wondered how one can be sent to prison just for prayers and organizing a chapel.

                I was given the bunk near Vladimir Kuzykin, former officer of soviet troops in Germany, accused (us he told) of distributing anti-Soviet literature and who worked at the cushy lob as a sewing-machine maker.

                I entrusted my notes to him and they were rendered to KGB, though he assured me that he had burnt them. Later he was charged with finking and, it seemed to me, got an early discharge.

                I made friends with Slava Petrov. He was involved in similar case of Georgiy Davydov in Leningrad. He was just a plain worker, who helped Georgiy in distributing literature. He got the smallest stretch – 3 years. Davydov himself was sent to Perm concentration camp (Ural, middle part of the USSR) . Slava said that they applied to him psychotropic preparations causing talkativeness. However, judging by his verdict, they didn’t manage to know much. May be, he didn’t know more.

                In his verdict I found myself as a witness for the prosecution, though till that moment I hadn’t even known him. When I was asked at the trial (it was a common trial for him and Georgiy Davydov), I claimed that I saw Petrov for the first time in my life. I wrote a protest to the Supreme Court of RSFSR, where I accused them of fabrication and I demanded to strike me out of the list of the witnesses, as “I didn’t want to sit with the judges at the Nuremberg dock for fascist criminals”. I had received no answer.

                Slava cheered up in most difficult situations. I remember when he, in agreement with us, handed in an application to the head of the prisoner group Pyatachenko that he wanted to become a member of Section of Inner Order (grovellers’ organization, created by the administration for terror and spying). KGB and the supervisors of the concentration camp were confused. But it was impossible to let an evident anti-Soviet person listen the instructions to the supergrasses. He was politely rejected as one who hadn’t proved his reform.

                The concentration camp undermined his health greatly and he died in 1989 leaving alone his paralyzed mother.

                Graur Valera was a participant of the group which demanded to return Moldova to Rumania. They made contact with Rumania leaders, who waited 2 years and then delivered them up to the Soviet KGB.

7. Concentration camp hospital

                After several months due to drastic worsening state of health I was sent to concentration camp hospital in Barashevo (village in Mordovia) , where I stayed till November, 1974. That hospital was an important junction point where all ill political prisoners from Mordovia and Perm concentration camps were brought to. There I made close friends with such remarkable people as Edik Kuznetsov, an organizer of the famous airplane escape, Igor Ogurtsov, the leader of the “All-Russian Christian-Democratic Union”, Vasiliy Stus, Ukranian poet, and others.

                During my stay in hospital I carried out great coordinating work on organization synchronous hunger-strikes and protests all over the concentration camps, on information interchange, on teaching political prisoners cryptography, enciphering, connection and information transfer to the outside world. The most important action was the organization of first Day of Soviet Political Prisoner and synchronous hunger-strike in this connection all over the political concentration camps in the USSR.  Somewhere in September, 1974 Edik Kuznetsov was brought to the hospital from the special regime camp (in Sosnovka, Mordovia, JH-389/1-6). He was kept in a solitary cell and was allowed to walk only once a day. Though there were lots of spies around us, I met him and discussed that idea. He proposed 30th October as the Day of Political Prisoner in the USSR. I reported about that to all concentration camps. A report was sent to outside world too. That date was announced by academician Sakharov and all foreign radio stations. Hunger-strikes, discussions and demand of political prisoner status took part in all political concentration camps.

                In that hospital I got acquainted with many political prisoners: Matviuk Kuzma (Ukrainian), Popadnuk Zaryan, young fellow, former university student. Osadchiy Michail underwent his medical treatment there. He told us a lot about bloody stifle of a rebellion in Kolyma (East-North of Soviet Union near Alaska, USA) .

                It’s naturally that such an organization of the Day of Political Prisoner had its consequences, as well as stirring up prisoners and leak of information to outside word. In November I was caught, sent to concentration camp ЖХ-389/19 in settlement Lesnoy (Mordovia). From that moment all my wandering from penalty isolation wards to penalty cells began. The head of Mordovia concentration camps KGB officer Vladimir Drotenko used my refusal to carry corpses from mortuary to prove his order. I’ve read the report on that theme. It turned out that administration was constantly taking care of me, sent me to the hospital and at the same time made me work as a stoker in prison bath, carried great political-pedagogical work with me, explained the blessings of the communism and I, being so ungrateful, not only rejected the way to correction but also rejected to bring corpses to carts.

                I managed to do something for prisoners in hospital in relation to life conditions – I repaired and cleaned out bath heating system, which hadn’t been repaired and cleaned for several decades and there was awful cold in the bath.

                It was hard to see how people suffer in the hospital, where the “treatment” was formal. I felt especially uneasy for Ukrainian poet Vasiliy Stus, whom I made close friends with. He had developed gastric ulcer, and felt continual pain. He suffered a lot and needed medicines desperately. But they said there were no medicines and forbade to pass him medicines which his wife brought to him, even such sedative analgesic as Vikalin.

8.  Concentration camp JH-389/19

                Concentration camp JH-389/19 in settlement Lesnoy was several times bigger than JH-389/17а. In general they produced wooden cases for wag-on-the-wall clocks of past century pattern there. I hadn’t seen them long before even in the USSR and I wondered if someone needed those antiquities in our electronic century at all.

                There I got acquainted with many remarkable people who later became my friends. They were Paruir Airikyan, Sergey Soldatov, Vladimir Osipov and many others.

                We spent long days and months together with Paruir Airikyan in penalty isolation ward (so-called punishment cell) and penalty cells (officially - the room of prison-cell type and in reality –special  inner camp prison of high strong regime) and made close friends.  He amazed me by his resistance, fortitude and utter devotion and love to Armenia. All Armenian prisoners admitted his authority.  Neither tortures nor malicious insults of KGB workers could break him. All Armenia knew him; many outstanding Armenian cultural workers wrote to him, risking their careers.

                Sergey Soldatov was the founder of the Democratic movement in Estonia in Brezhnev (former Soviet leader) times. I think he was an author or a co-author of the “Program of Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union”. Our group was accused of distributing that document. Apparently, he was one of the publishers of underground magazine Luch Svobody (“Beam of Freedom”) and many fundamental documents such as “Memorandum of Democrats to the Supreme Soviet Congress of the USSR”, which was mentioned in our verdict too.  He was an erudite, who knew a lot in politics, history. He was and ideologist in his way of thinking.

                Volodya Osypov served his time for publishing magazine Veche” (“Meeting”), which was also mentioned in our verdict. He was a verily Russian highly religious person who stood upon the ideas of Slavophils, Russian self-consciousness. He was close to ideas of Russian writer Solzhenitsin in his beliefs and he was always speaking in his support in his own articles.

There was lots of Jewry demanding departure to Israel. For example, famous writer Mikhail Kheifits, Kaminskiy Lassal, a participant of Leningrad airplane case, the members of Democratic Movement (such as Kronid Lyubarskiy who had been brought to another concentration camp not long before my arrival), members of liberation movement of Ukraine, Baltic countries and nationalists of all the USSR republics. Almost all types of underground trends, ferments and movements in the USSR from monarchists to “true” communists and “Communists - Leninists” (Lenin was the first Soviet communist leader died in 1924) were there.

                Unfortunately, little size of the brochure doesn’t let me dwell on them or even list the names of all outstanding people, I met with. Most of them were ardent enemies of the present regime. In hard conditions of concentration camps and KGB terror many of us were friends and helped one another in different ways, made common protest actions, spoke in support of persecuted, went on hunger-strikes when someone was tortured particularly mercilessly.

                I remember the warm feeling I felt to my friends when I returned from 15-days’ hungry stay in cold punishment cell to the barrack and found food and cards with sympathetic words my friends had left for me.

                There were a lot of defectors, cooperating with Germans during WWII, people accused of parricide (for example, Yuriy Khramets), diplomat – deserter (Sorokin, Petrov) who returned under the “firm” promise of Soviet government, that he would be safe and sound, religious people (Evgeniy Pashnin) and criminals, who believed in tale about wonderful life conditions in political concentration camps, who became “political” abusing Soviet Authority and transferred from criminal camps.

                Many of then soon became KGB’s “third ears”.  Neither of political prisoners communicated with them and the only thing they could fink was what person did and whom he met with.

                When I went to the toilet at night (all the conveniences were located outside the barracks) someone of the spies got up and went with me.

                Criminals who became political soon understood that the conditions in political prison were even worse that in the criminal one, as it was fully isolated from outside world and administration was so terrified by KGB that it refused to intrigue with prisoners.

                Even the head of my group talking to me in his office mentioned: “I hope there’s no KGB’s microphone in my room”.

                My letters to relatives and friends were confiscated as slandering. Sometimes I couldn’t send one letter half a year. Then I made such an experiment. In our scanty library I found a complete set of Lenin’s works. KGB thought it might help political prisoners to understand how great communism was and how wrong they (prisoners) were. I took the volume with Lenin’s correspondence and began rewriting his letters to Gorkiy (well-known Russian writer), Krupskaya (Lenin wife), Armand (Lenin mistress and communist revolutionist) and others and gave them to censor as MY OWN. I didn’t change a word in those letters. Some really long ones were abridged, some names were omitted. Neither of Lenin’s letters passed the censorship. All of them were confiscated as “anti-Soviet”, “slandering”, and “cynical”. As a result I was brought to a psychiatrist, because only a psyche could write such letters, said KGB. I avoided diagnosis “mentally incompetent” only when I said that those letters had been copies of unforgettable Ilyich’s letters.

                Sometimes pedagogic delegations were sent from the Soviet republics. They narrated about the wonderful life of soviet peoples.  Ajrikjan dissuaded his delegation so much that they stopped coming to him at all. Once an agitator from Moscow Municipal Committee of the CPSU was sent to me.  He came with refreshments to create heart-to-heart talk. I knew that agitators are usually given 3 rubles for refreshments of one political prisoner. When I had counted the cost of everything brought, I asked, where 2 more rubles were. The communist was confused. I didn’t manage to support heart-to-heart talk with the person who tried to profit by hungry prisoner.

                My verdict was the biggest of all Mordovia political prisoners’ verdicts in size (it contained about 20 pages of compact text). It was even bigger than verdicts of 10 other political prisoners. It contained more than 40 items of accusation, 5 names of written, copied or kept documents and hundreds of distributed copies in each item.  I managed to take it out of Lefortovo KGB prison and show it to many people. I succeeded in taking this unique document with me after my discharge. Now it is handed over to one of American libraries.

There were a lot of interesting dissidents and wonderful people in that Mordovia political camp. They were Fedor Korovin, Artem Yushkevich, Herman Ushakov, Azat Arshakjan, Ukrainian Vasil Ovsienko, Vasil Lisovoj, young persistent man Ravinsh Majgonis and others. There were interesting people among fugitives, “parricides”, members of liberation movements, deserters (“vlasovtsy[5]), and religious people.

Unfortunately there is no opportunity to dwell upon the sorrowful destiny of those people, who suffered a lot for their dissidence, unwillingness of living in the communistic heaven, their religion or fighting for liberation of their republics.

9. Penalty isolation ward and penalty cell

                Political actions, protests, hunger-strikes followed one another. Not only free dissidents, but also foreign radio stations got to know about many of them the same day. KGB got it on the nose from Central Committee of Communist Party and began rushing about in search of intelligencers, isolating the suspected. In total I was kept (only in Mordovia concentration camps)  in penalty isolation ward 110 days and 9 months in penalty cell (special internal camp prison).

                Punishment cell represented a torture cell, where a prisoner suffered not only from hunger (though it came down to starvation and hunger hallucinations) but mostly from cold. One was placed there in thin cotton prisoner’s wretched clothes. There was no bunk and the temperature was low. Wooden plank bed was unfastened from the wall only for 8 night hours. Chill tormented prisoner’s exhausted organism. It was especially difficult to survive nights. One had to jump out of bed 5-10 times, do exercises to warm up a little. It was hard to fall asleep even in warmth on those rough snaggy plank beds with iron screw-bolts. The food was scanty – 450 grams (one pound) of raw brown bread. Huge iron close-stool was producing such “odours” which made breathing hard. 

It was a bit better in a penalty cell. One got bedding for 8 night hours and a tureen of watery skilly to dinner.

We had to polish wooden case for wag-on-the-wall clocks by hand. That gave cause for administration to punish us any time for failure to carry out “rates of output”. Some cases were not counted as improperly polished.

                One of the reasons to next dispatch to punishment cell was a refusal to give the “necessary” testimonies against Andrey Tverdohlebov. Moreover I behaved defiantly with that case investigator: after long wrangles I insisted on writing the testimonies myself. I wrote that Andrey was a remarkable person, that his case was fabricated by KGB; that we, political prisoners, resumed our gratitude for his remedial activity; that Human Rights were being violated in the USSR and so on.

                After such testimonies I was dragged to penalty isolation ward. As I knew later, my testimonies were not included in Tverdohlebov’s case and the case investigator noted as though I refused to testify.

                I was the single Doctor of Science in Mordovia political camps in those times and all the coming directors were brought to penalty isolation ward as to the Zoo to see me as some exotic animal. I remember one general from the Ministry of Internal Affairs who couldn’t understand what I lacked under the Soviet regime; I grappled with him (by words, of course). I remember MIA[6] colonel, specialist in locks. After his visit my cell was enriches with one more (the sixth) lock.

 

                Time and again public prosecutor came, once he had a claim: “Last year about 650 complaints came from Mordovia Penal Colonies. 440 of them were written by you, 168 – by Ajrikjan and 42 by other prisoners. What’s the matter? I don’t have so many workers to answer you”.

                Of course all those complaints about administration outrage were useless, as well as the requirements to observe at least scanty soviet law. Only once we succeeded a little in that. In penalty cell guardhouse I saw “Nutrition norms for prisoners”, there was written that we eat 30 grams of meet every day. That table was hanged for different committees. I began writing to chain of command asking where that meat was. What idiotic answers I received: that meat is full of bones, that it is being boiled up to 60%. Finally, the heads gave up and began giving small bit of meat as large as a finger-tip (they contended that it weighed 16 grams – after boiling away) to prisoners in prison camps. That bit was not enough even for a mouse. But if you were utterly exhausted and hadn’t seen meet for years then even such small bit could bring you a minute of delight. All following generations of prisoners in penalty cells were grateful to us for that small victory.

                Of course, there were a lot of political prisoners, who considered that it was better to be humbler than the dust, not to irritate KGB, not to get to penalty isolation wards and penalty cells and thus not to suffer and try to preserve their health. Most of all they were people who acquired the status of “political” by accident for incautious criticizing the regime, reading “spicy” literature or even for disagreement with bosses. KGB machine was vindicating its existence and taking a run it crushed sometimes innocent people. But I don’t think there was any sense in fighting. Finally concentration camp outrages and tortures were made known and disturbed world (and Soviet - through foreign radio stations) public opinion. Not without reason everything in the camp was spinning around one question. KGB tried to isolate us, and we tried to bring the information to the outside world.

                There were lots of ordinary people in concentration camps. For a long time I was sitting in the penalty cell with Petr Sartakov, a worker. He described his staying at Stalin concentration camps and tried to pass this description to American, and was imprisoned for that. He strived to competent people, tried to liberalize, to become educated.

10. Concentration camp in Barashevo

In the end of 1975 when I was in a camp zone, patrol caught me at writing a list of gerrymander, theft and stealing of concentration camp administration.  The heads alarmed for real. They saved their skin. Doctor Sjaksjasov whom I met that evening with two cans of paint exclaimed: “That really is too much if you put me in that list!” Next day I was given 5 minutes to make ready in guards’ presence, I was searched and sent to concentration camp in Barashevo (Mordovia). There were kept especially dangerous political prisoners.

Most imposing of all those political prisoners was Vyacheslav Chernovol from Ukraine. We conversed with him about our condition, discussed different undertakings, took part in joint actions, and shared a crust of bread. He was a former journalist and knew Ukraine life, history and culture well. He loved Ukraine, and was a born politician with broad outlook and deep understanding of historical processes. I can’t even count how many hours we spent in conversation with him, walking round the perimeter of the barbed wire. I had never heard of a single escape affair and I was amazed by that huge complex and expensive system of guarding soviet concentration camps.   First there came two rows of barbed wire, provided with signalling. Then there was ploughed land, then high dense fence with barbed wire at the top, then one more such fence. Between those fences killing system of high tension and watch-towers with gunners was located. Then barbed wire was put again so that nobody could get into the territory of concentration camp from outside.

                Slava said to me the case when KGB tried to bug his conversation with Stus, who was imprisoned in that camp before. They summoned Stus and announced that he got ready to deportation the next day. They took away his quilted jacket as if for searching and gave him another in return. It was naturally that on that day they began discussing their own and common plans, talking about communication lines, agreeing upon methods of connection. Slava expressed his surprise at the change of his quilted jacket, began feeling it and found micro transmitters as large as a pea. They tore them out and dug them at once. In several minutes KGB workers ran and took the quilted jacket away. He showed me microphones’ burial place. 

                In that concentration camp we managed to hear the trial on former KGB workers Braverman and Pachulija. Bravernan was the head of KGB investigating department in Leningrad and Leningrad region. Pachulija was the head of Abkhazian KGB. Both of them were closest Berija associates (former head of the USSR central KGB). And Bravernam was put forward for rank of a general. When in Hrushchev’s exposing “cult of personality” Berija was proclaimed to be an “imperialistic spy” and public enemy, they were convicted for torturing and killing people under investigation.

                They both became “third ears” and got a snug little job. Pachulija became a librarian, Bravernan – an office worker.

                Even defectors disdained them, not to mention political prisoners; they had to communicate only with one another and scribbled denunciation saying that the other understands a new Central Committee resolution in a wrong way.

                There came a trial to reconsider the cases, generally, KGB cases. Slava and I sat in first line. But the heads drove us out however hard we had tried to protest saying that everyone who wishes could visit the “open” court.

                Fortunately, room for boiled water, joined to barrack was divided from the courtroom by thin plywood partition. We got there and heard everything.

                Our hair stood on end when we knew what those “guardsman of law” did. Pachulija even hit upon an idea of throwing people to holes putting them at the mercy of rats. They were judged not for fabricating cases and tortures, but for killing people under investigation. Pachulija tried to prove his innocence telling that he built a road to Stalin’s cottage, which he hadn’t visited even once.

The court reduced Bravernan’s time of confinement because of his “reform” and “good behaviour”. The court refused to reduce Pachulija’s stretch only by personal request of Georgadze (Supreme Soviet Secretary) as Pachulija had tormented his close relatives to death.

11. Road to exile

                Half a year before my discharge according to KGB’s procedure I was sent to the inner camp prison JH-385/19.  That procedure was invented with the purpose that the concentration camp latest news couldn’t come outside and was applied to especially dangerous criminals only.

                On the day of my discharge many political prisoners gathered by the fence dividing isolation cell from production area. Each of them tried to shout good wishes, requests and news at parting. I knew Sergey Soldatov, Volodja Osipov, Artem Yushkevich and others by their voices.

                But I didn’t go to outside free world after concentration camp. A whole month of exile in Siberia and wandering over the prisons of almost all Soviet Union was ahead. The place of my exile was kept secret. I was said that I was transported to Irkutsk and I knew that I was in Buryatiya (Siberia) only after arrival there.

                That deportation was continuous nightmare. They transferred me from one transit prison to another: Potma, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, and Ulan-Ude. We were transported by Stolypin carriages at low speed, stopping for 2-4 days on every span. About 20-25 people sat in a compartment without windows; it was isolated from the corridor by iron fender. Normally that compartment was supposed for 4 passengers. There was no food for 2 -4 days in a road. We received a slice of bread, a herring and a tea-spoon with sugar before the next stage. The guard brought water and took out to the toilet at best once a day, not asking when we want, but doing it according to their schedule.  I slept sitting as all the lying places were occupied by criminals.

                Abusing, stench, searches, criminal’s and guard’s robbery accompanied every span.

                Indeed life wasn’t sweet in transit prisons as well. Prison-vans were stuffed with prisoners to the eyeballs: 20-30 people in one car. Taking into consideration that about 2/3 of inner body was partitioned off for gunner and 2 solitary cells one might amaze how could so many people get in the iron box as large as 4 square meters with all their stuff. That box had no chinks but the exhaust managed to penetrate in it. Moreover some young criminals began smoking makhorka[7]. Usually in a minute I began suffocating and throwing up. I lost consciousness frequently. That humiliation lasted several hours, not to mention hours of transmittance the prisoners from the carriage guard to the prison-van guard and from the prison-van guard to the prison guard.

Every person was called, asked name, patronymic, asset, stretch, compared photo at sealed papers and searched over.

                In one of transit prisons I was put in small standing cell, which walls were upholstered by the sheet iron, resembling the grater. After the long and hard stage I was groggy. But I had to stand strictly vertically because at the least movement sharp thorns gat stick into my body. It was impossible even to knock at the door, as it was covered with such sheet iron too. Whole night I was unwillingly listening to wild cries, sound of beating the glass coming from the neighboring cell, where the guards were beating the prisoner. He went mad at dawn.

                The guards let me out of there only in the morning. I was hardly conscious.  Jailers laughed (“You are like Lenin”) and brought me to the cell. When I asked the chief warder why they hadn’t done it yesterday, he answered: “We forgot”.

                Next time I was put in a penalty isolation ward with incuse windows. Wind blew the snow in the cell and I had nearly frozen to death.

                In one mass cell a toilet was made as a high pipe. One had to climb up there by the ladder. During the process the others could not only “take pleasure in smelling” but also in looking the whole procedure from below.

                I don’t even mention such trivial details as striping to the skin before women working in prison who searched for newly made caps (tattoo).

12.   First exile

In 1976 after 4 years imprisonment in political concentration camps of high security I was brought to exile in Siberia, in village Bagdarin of Buryat ASSR[8] and handed over to the local police station. There I spent a night in the lockup. Then they kicked me out to the street without giving any place of living. I had no money and was dressed in prison shabby clothes. It was very cold, as always in October in Siberia. They graciously permitted me to sleep and eat with scourges, bums and hooligans arrested for 15 days.

                That little wooden house had probably been a village bath before. It was located in the closed police station yard and was converted to a cell with bars on windows closed for night. Usually it was overcrowded and prisoners slept side by side on the attic, on the dirty floor, covering by their worn-out ramshackle clothes.

                All people imprisoned for 15 days already knew that a new political prisoner came to Bagdarin. They were very friendly, tried to pour more skilly, abused soviet authorities and the most embittered (those who were beaten black and blue by police) threatened to burn down that house.

                First day I was out I telegrammed to Irina Korsunskaya and in a day I received little money order. That allowed me to change my lodgings to local squalid wooden hotel.

                Rumors peddled fast in such small settlements as Bagdarin. The maintenance staff of the hotel treated me well. Lubov Govenko, hotel’s administrator, felt great pity for me. She helped me to settle down and to subsist at the start, though she was summoned to KGB and tried to browbeat many times. I was met with kindness and pity by many people, in spite of all stories and rumors peddled by KGB. But people were afraid to show their attitude to me in public. When once a supergrass saw a person talking to me tête-à-tête, that person was dragged to KGB and they began finding out what we had spoken about, made a person write explanations, browbeat him and solicit the necessary testimonies about picking on the Soviet authority and appeals to blow it up. After that a person began avoiding meeting me and talking to me.

                Regional town Bagdarin represented a small village of little wooden houses with population of about 3 thousand people. The house of a district committee was the only two-storied building. There were 2 shops, small canteen, service centre, school, KGB regional department (highly essential to soviet people) and none industry at all. Small village Malovskiy which included about a thousand homesteads was situated near it. Taiga lied thousands kilometers around.

                According to the law local authorities had to find a work for me and give me lodgings. Somewhere in two weeks police official Vaganov set me up in geological survey group (GSG) in village Malovskiy and settled me in GSG dormitory.

                I was attached to general worker Vinnikov E.K. – secretary of party organization in GSG. My duties were to carry a measuring rod after him and to keep it strictly vertical in indicated places. Of course, they couldn’t find the work better for a doctor of science in the USSR. Later it became known that Vinnikov was obliged to spy, ask provocative questions and write denunciations. It means he had to do it according to the soviet decree of 1918, as all the members of the Communist Party (in contrast to ordinary soviet people) for free.

                Vinnikov turned out to be a very eager supergrass not only in my relation. He wrote reports about workers, complaining of life and work conditions. However other members of the party were no different from Vinnikov. For example, Palienko G.S. or deputy party chief Turgenko’s L.A. wife. In the reports they didn’t write things which happened in real life, but the things KGB told them to fabricate a new case.

                The dormitory I was settled in was a wooden building with a long corridor and two rows of rooms on both sides.  Builders, gold-miners, visitors and scourge lived there. Almost every day they were engaged in hooliganism, drinking and scuffles. They boozed and made an uproar on holidays, every half a month (in the day of prepayment) and in the day of receiving salary.

                The rumor about my technical education peddled fast and many people began bringing household appliances (radio sets, refrigerators, and washing machines) for repair. I hadn’t practiced that before. But I was an aviation engineer and knew physics well, so I examined them and repaired them in many cases. People thanked me and gave either food or money. Soon many heads of local offices came to me asking to repair their typewriters and other stationery.  Glukhov Petr Fedorovich helped me greatly. He was an economic executive of the mine, exiled of Stalin times. Tearfully he told me the sad story of his life, that he was exiled to Siberia after the war, his family was destroyed. He found a new wife, created a new family, but he couldn’t leave Siberia.

                I put to rights all the mine printing machines and was using one of them for some time. I was printing letters and complaints with its help till KGB gave the instructions to take it from me. After that Petr Fedorovich gave me an old broken printing machine (typewriter). I toiled very hard, finally put it to rights and used it till the next arrest.

                At first it was hard to exist, I needed money to buy food and clothes. My wife didn’t send me a ruble, an old shirt of the thousands rubles I saved.  And I was very gratified to Moscowers Lisovskaya Nina Petrovna, Romanova Avgusta Yakovlevna, Salova Galina Ilyinichna and other dissidents whom I hadn’t known before for their help and moral support they provided for me.  Many people wrote to me, about 2-5 letters a day and I had to be in large correspondence. Soon even foreign letters began reaching me.

                Once a young fellow in traveling clothes and with a big knapsack came to the room where I worked (fortunately Vinnikov was out of the room at that moment). It turned to be Sasha Podrabinek – a messenger of Moscow dissidents. He decided to travel over Siberia and to visit some exiled people in his vacation. I hadn’t met him before.  I was aware of a provocation, so I rang up to Galya Salova and asked Sasha to speak with her on abstract theme not naming himself. She knew him by voice and said that he was a remarkable person.

                Sasha brought to me Japan shortwave radio –a present of Moscow friends. I had asked them to send me that radio long before so that I knew the truth about the world events. Unfortunately, Siberia is situated far from Europe and I could listen only to the special Far Eastern 3-hour programs “Voices of America” (probably from Japan) which were distorted by Ulan-Ude radio suppressors.

                Sasha stayed for 2 days. He was in a hurry to visit many people more, and his vacation was going to an end. He brought me up to date about the latest events and enlightened me in some medical questions. That knowledge proved useful to me later. We photographed for a keepsake. His visit remained a secret. When I saw him off, there were none KGB worker on the small local airdrome and he flied safely away without a “tail”.

                I had to go tens of kilometers in taiga on my job, make measures in gold-miner regions, and spend nights in little wooden houses. It was especially hard in winter. All the day I was frozen by the frost, cold wind, from creeping over the snowdrifts in shabby clothes with the measuring rod and equipment which seemed extremely heavy by the end of the day. Al these things resulted in my continual illnesses and diseases. I was 40 years and was ill by bronchitis from cold punishment cells. There I knew all the goods of Soviet law. It turned out that a discharged prisoner had no right to paid medical certificate during 6 months after his discharge. That was when they got ill most often, they did not have any state support.

                Head of the GSG Parshin A.P. and, most probably, KGB, where all my observations of Siberia frosts were brought as abusing the soviet country, carried me to loaders. Together with my workmate I had to load and unload 5-7 meter logs by hand to and from automobiles in winter. I came to the doctors, who were forced to give me a certificate about contra-indication to hard physical labour. After that I asked for another job.  Somewhere in March 1977 I was set in service centre of Bagdarin as a mender of electric household appliances (electric stoves, irons).  As I knew later that was done on purpose.

                They settled me in a deserted decayed house near the service centre. It was divided in three sections. Two of them belonged to the center; I was settled in the middle one (of approximately 2.5x2.5 meters). In another (a bit larger) section lived a service centre charwoman Turkova with her husband and a child, and in the third section lived old man and old woman with a wicked dog.

                That house hadn’t been repaired beginning with pre-revolutionary times, its roof resembled prison bars and torrents of water were pouring all over the ceiling during rain and melting of snow.

At first I bought ruberoid and made the roof and small inner porch, than I removed the heaps of dirt and wine and vodka bottles, which the former mender Erdineev A.B. had left there.

                There were two houses of Armenians near to my house. They organized a gainful building group on repair and building houses. They earned a lot – about 500 rubles a month and they spend that money in there free time, drinking hard and having fun with girls, deflowering a number of local school girls. One of native KGB workers took part in their boozes too. Later one of Armenian confessed that he instructed them to spy on me, on my visitors and came to him regularly to receive the “information”. My other neighbour Turkov was also instructed to spy on me. In consequence they made Turkov sign the “necessary” to KGB testimonies.

Armenian were “caught on the hook” by KGB being got on some machination with gold. Two of them (Akopyan G.B. and Oganesyan G.A.) signed those “necessary” testimonies. Oganesyan did his best. I spoke to him once or twice, but I had never discussed any politics with him and with anybody in Bagdarin.

                Later the leaders of their group were accused of writing up and put to prison. I must do justice to one of them, Robert, who hadn’t signed the slander in spite of his difficult position and KGB’s pressure.

                However, the shadowing was rendered not by my neighbours only. Coming to work, I founded at my place clumsy notes of center workers, where they wrote to me that KGB required them to spy and to make reports on me. The head of the service center Golovanov N.V. who had built himself a huge house of stolen center material hastily hid the sheet of paper when I came to him. I knew then that he was writing the regularly denunciation.

                What could one write about a person, who didn’t speak about the present power at all? Afterwards when I read the testimonies of so-called “witnesses” produced as accusatory, I understood that KGB had special samples of phrases like: “was slandering heavily about the home and foreign USSR policy”, “propagate slandering ideas, denigrating state and social system”, “committed inimical-provocative ideas”, “misrepresented the truth”, “praised foreign way of life”, “was slandering about life in the USSR” and so on which didn’t mean anything in particular. But one wasn’t allowed to rummage in all those things.

                In concentration camp in Barashevo of Mordovia ASSR I was surprised how semi-literate supervisors knowing nothing except abusing language could write such a thorough report. It was when I refused to carry corpses and they wrote (in general words) that they tried to educate me in true soviet spirit, rendered  pedagogical work with me, tried all humanistic methods but I, being a hard case, didn’t listen to their exhortations and sink into rejection of labour.  And poor they had to demand punishment for me. I understood that they had patterns of reports which they just had to insert the surname and sometimes the misdeed itself.

                However not only former criminals such as Ardyneev, semi-literate neighbours, Armenians, CPSU members and the heads wrote those reports, but a local “journalist” some Gilbuch earning his living by illegal photography in Bauntovsk region too. I always wondered what set them in motion: naivety, belief that they serve the leading regime in the world or just the desire to have some profit in service, some fringe benefits or security of KGB. How could they look in their victims’ eyes? Why were they the main support and hope of the “leading” power in the world? How many of them appeared, came to the surface and flooded the whole country. And their quantity increased from one generation to another!

                Somewhere in 1969-1970 I had given my book “New methods of optimization and their usage” devoted to mathematic method of optimal regulation worked out by me to the publishing house of Bauman MHTU. In 1972 it was edited and published. Then thundered my arrest and accusation on the most seditious soviet asset “anti-soviet agitation and propaganda”, related to especially dangerous state criminals. One might think that mathematical book has nothing to do with it. But the authority wanted to sponge out the memory even of the names of disagreeable people. Almost the whole edition was obliterated. My works were prohibited to quote and to refer to. When I was in exile I asked the publishing house to return me my manuscript. But only the remains of my rough copy were returned. Than I brought an action against them requiring to give me my manuscript back, to pay me author's emoluments or to repair the damages caused by the breach of contract.  After long wranglings and complaints I received a subpoena. I rushed along to police to get an exit permit according to the law. But there was no law in that country. They promised to find everything out and in a day they showed me the telegram from judge Sorina of Bauman region of Moscow, where it was written in black and white that the subpoena was sent for the sake of appearances. I began requiring the investigation of the case in my presence according to the code of civil procedure. But the court didn’t care a damn for a law and for the code. In spite of my protesting telegram they held a court session in my absence. I was refused in all items of my list at the ground that my manuscript had never been published. I couldn’t find my book neither in any soviet library, nor in a book chamber. Twenty years later approximately in 1983 I managed to get my book out of KGB archive. In Moscow Lenin library only book’s microfilm encoded as item number F-801-83/809-6 remained.

                Many dissidents, convicts’ relatives and just strangers wrote to me in exile. They expressed their pity, offered their help. I received about 2-5 letters a day and answered them. Sometimes letters from abroad reached me. It was clear from their contents that only small part of these letters came to me. My letters, especially foreign reached their destination even more rarely. In concentration camp the post paid me 50 kopeck for every lost letter after check-up on my writ. I based my requirements on such fundamental postal documents as “the USSR Communication Statute”, the “Postal Rules”, the “Rules of Compensation Payment for Lost International Postal Mail” and made an interesting revelation that the Post must pay 11 rubles 76 kopeck for every lost international registered letter, while the price of sending it off was 16 kopeck. I ascertained that only 30% of my international letters reached their destination. By the way even my most innocent letters which included only one soviet post card failed to achieve their address.

I read in the “USSR Communication Statute” that if a person doesn’t receive an answer to the writ for international letters during half a year he has a right to bring an action against the Post enclosing the application and a copy of a writ (or a receipt of mailing such an application).

                As the Post didn’t answer my writs during the required term at all I brought an action against the Post to the regional Court of village Bagdarin according to paragraphs 99, 103-105 of the “USSR Communication Statute”.

                Judge Vinogradov requested all the Postal rules and documents and assured that I was completely right. The head of Bagdarin Post Tudypov couldn’t say anything clear except the thing that the Central Post Office didn’t answer their inquiries. But Soviet International Moscow Post Office situated in Komsomolskaya square, rather Central Reclamation Bureau of this Post Office considered answering the inquires of subordinate office beneath its dignity.

                Evidently it was the first time when in that state of slave psychology appeared a man who took it into his head to raise a claim against the post for the lost international letters. It is clear to the meanest intelligence WHO “lost” those letters and the name of that organization inspired fear to the soviet people.

                The post couldn’t produce any receipt of handing over my letters to the foreign postal department. Vinogradov temporized but was compelled to call court examination.  In court Tudypov declared that the post lost my letters. Vinogradov had nothing to do but to adjudge me 50 rubles for the lost 5 letters.

                Second time I declared for 150 rubles and the court had to find it correct. Third time I got 300 rubles. After that I decided that it would be fair if I received my Doctor’s wage - 500 rubles every month. So I began sending 48 similar registered international letters every month. Many of them had nothing except the soviet post card; others sent, for example, to the Academy of Sciences in Socialistic countries, contained just one phrase: “In accordance with Helsinki agreements I ask to render me assistance in departing the USSR”. Other letters sent to the Embassies of Western countries included postcards with the following text: “I congratulate the Women of the Embassy on the 8th of March”. I usually sent such letters as insured and valued them at 30-50 rubles. Just imagine what an insane person could congratulate the Women of the American Embassy on the 8th of March? Soviet propaganda alleged them to be cruel materialists, warmongers! KGB just threw them away. I decided to take that occasion.

                But when the sum I required for increased the budget of the local Post office bawled out murder, KGB tried to wangle. Post lingered about a year with my next claim for payment about 2 thousand rubles. By that time I was arrested again. Finally after numerous complaints I was adjudged that money but I was not informed about that. Court decision came into force but was reversed in two months. Apparently, the court received an instruction to reject similar claims.  The repeated Court of Oktyabrskiy region in Ulan-Ude (judge Belyak) rejected all my claims saying “Bolonkin didn’t prove that his letters were lost!?” I tried to appeal to their logics, to the common sense. I told that it was not me who had to prove that my letters were lost, but the post had to prove that it handed over the mail and produce recipient’s receipts or at least foreign Post Offices’ receipts.  But all was in vain. I even showed the letters of the recipients where they wrote that they hadn’t received the given mail!  It seemed to me I was in a deaf-mute society. A communistic court could trample on any logics if needed.

                All the following claims were rejected on the same basis. And appellate organizations didn’t answer at all.

                During my exile to Bagdarin I began writing my memoirs about the investigation, the court, about staying in Brezhnev concentration camps, about the things I experienced and saw from the moment of my arrest, about the acts and literature over which I was arrested. After half a year I had written out in small hand 10 pupil copybooks. I titled my manuscript as “Ordinary Communism”. I showed it to nobody and kept it in the yard heap of garbage under the wash-basin. I understood that I couldn’t publish it in the USSR terror. I wanted to keep it till the better time or at least to hand it over to the posterity when those times came.

                The main task of any dictatorship, especially the bloody regime, was to conceal its own evil deeds and to slander its victims. Stalin was extremely well in doing that. He brought to the grave tens millions people. The major weapon and defense of those victims was publicity, informing the community about the murderous acts of the powers.

In 60-70 the bloody repressions hadn’t reached Stalin’s scale due to one reason. There were people who collected the information about the persecutions and arrests of dissidence and brought it to publicity. They were caught, arrested, accused of anti-Soviet thinking, slandering and put to prison. But other people took their places. Just remember the illegal bulletin “The Chronicle of the Current Events” that made known the political cases and repressions. Hundreds of people suffered from publishing that bulletin, many times KGB arrested its publishers, but every time there appeared new people who continued the deed of their associates. The bulletin existed about 15 years in spite of numerous KGB’s promises to put an end to that in half a year.

                And all the leaders’ efforts to show the USSR as some socialistic heaven where the workers enjoy their happy lives in the pauses between the heroic labours and glory their communistic benefactors went to the dogs.

                Many trading organizations of the settlement had stored up great quantity of out-of-order appliances for several previous years: they were refrigerators, radio sets, watches, and so on. All these things were the dead-weight to the balance.

                Some part of those appliances arrived defective, other part (for example, refrigerators) was crushed and scattered on the journey. Some details were just stolen. Once I saw a radio-gramophone which pasteboard back cover was pierced and all valuable details were taken out.  One had to pay a pretty penny for sending it back to repair. Besides there was no guarantee that the equipment would come back in a good state after a long traveling by awful Siberia roads. I was a real treasure to such organizations. They began importuning me with requests of repair.

                To make assurance doubly sure I went for consultation to the local lawyers, in particular, to regional judge Vinogradov A.N. I was assured that everything was legal and I had to reach understanding in writing. I signed several contracts with the organizations where it was clearly stated that those organizations are responsible for the accuracy of payment and that they “are obliged to pay for my work in accordance with the present prices”.

                The repair was difficulty because of lack in details. I had to write to the plants, to “Posyltorg”, buy up fallen out household appliances to get the required component. Usually in transportation refrigerators’ doors got deformed and nobody wanted to buy such units. Some deformed doors I replaced by the doors from the bought old refrigerators or by the doors my fellow driver brought me from Ulan-Ude menders. In November 1977 I left the service in the service centre and went on the contract work. At the very least I saved considerable sums of money to our state by that repair although my income was paltry. In total for 2 years I was in exile I earned about 1000 rubles, 600-700 of them was spent for buying repair parts. Thus I was paid for my work about 300 rubles or 15 rubles a month.

13.  Second arrest

                In the beginning of June 1978 my period of staying in Siberia came to an end. It was so because they were driving me to the exile destination more than a month and set me free only in the end October 1976 instead of 21st of September. And every day of imprisonment was equal to 3 days of exile.

                From other exiled political prisoners’ experience I knew that at the end of the term KGB usually made provocation and fabricated new case. I behaved warily, without getting involved in any conflicts. In general I stayed at home. Moreover a month before the end of the exile term I planned to disappear, to settle secretly at my friend’s and to depart from Siberia after the end of the exile so that they couldn’t impute me an escape. If so the most they could accuse me off was that I didn’t register myself in police for have a year. And that was an administrative delinquency.

                But as it turned to be, someone had already guessed about that. Anyway, the authorities took the lead over me. On the 15th of April, 1978 a women from the accounts department of the service center came to me and asked to go with her there to clear up the vagueness in some book-keeping document.  I went there suspecting nothing. There was a police investigator Kornev Anatoliy. He showed to me the certificate of audit. It was said there that the repairs I made for the organizations were illegal as there were no contracts in the accounts department. I saw KGB’s idea. All the contracts were taken from the accounts departments and destroyed. Now they could accuse me of anything they wanted. I said to Kornev that I had the second copies of the contracts at home. It was bolt from the blue to him. He cursed that they loaded him with that case and ordered that I had to go with him to the police station to clarify everything.  In police they searched me, took my documents and set in a single lockup.

                Next day after sleeping on the plain wooden plank bed I was brought to a public prosecutor Bargeev A.A. who signed the search warrant at once and they brought me to my house for a search. The lock on the door was all twisted, someone tried to get into the house.

                I found the second copies of the contract and demanded from Kornev to include them in the search protocol. We wrangle with him for about half an hour. But all was in vain. My copies of the contracts bossed up the whole show and he didn’t agree to include them. Many other documents were not inserted. The only thing I managed to press was to write the numbers of the receipt copies for the fulfilled work. But that fact didn’t prevent the disagreeable receipts from disappearing. The court was deaf to my requests about finding out where they went or just to compare the search protocol with the present receipts. Many shop and sending receipts for the components disappeared or was left without any attention, because if the court took them into account the sum of earnings (“theft of socialistic property” in their words) would be too scanty.

                The only thing I managed to defend – they didn’t do away with the second copies of the contracts and they were included into the papers of the case. I achieved that by writing tens of claims and applications to all the organizations and threatening with the total hunger-strike. Obviously, KGB didn’t dare to eliminate them and fabricated the accusation that I repaired fewer appliances than I was paid for.  An investigator from Ulan-Ude sent to help Korneev after my notice: “If I was paid more than I had to get, you must put to prison those who “overpaid” me and deduct the excess from me” boldly answered: “We need to can you, not them!”

14.  Ulan-Ude remand prison

                Approximately on the 20 of April, 1978 I was brought from Bagdarin to Ulan-Ude remand prison. There I was delivered to the guards and locked up in a preliminary box of the guard department. Soon two people Gavrilov and Oleichik as drunk as David's sow were brought to the prison. They were bawling and behaved outrageously, Oleichik especially. But the warders treated them quite well. If an ordinary prisoner could be beaten for the slightest objection, for wry glance or just for fun, so handling with Gavrilov and Oleichik was extremely surprising. As I knew afterwards they were “third years” used by the criminal investigation department in prison and in lockups to terror the prisoners and to give false evidence if needed. They were paid by tea, vodka, drugs and judging from their state, the inspectors didn’t grudge vodka for them. Those people were brought because of my arrival and put to my cell.

                I was interested in where officers of the criminal investigation department took the drugs and money to “thank” “third ears” for their activity. Alexandr Gavrilov, who shared the cell with me for several months (longer than anybody else), finally stopped pretending. He explained me that the officers were taking the potion from the drug addicts, finding in parcels or just getting for handing over to prisoners from their friends.

                As for vodka and tea, they were bought on those 15 rubles of the salary which was set for “third ears” “work”. Officially that fund was called “The encouragement fund of the best” or “reformed”. If supergrass’s salary were transmitted on his banking account and they could buy the things in the stall as the others, but in that case officers could take that money from the cashier as if to supply the “best”.  Alexander Gavrilov and many other supergrasses told me that they are swindled by the officers who give them one bar of tea cost 1.5 rubles and making them sign that they received the products cost 15 rubles. The rest they put in their pocket. If the “reformed” began arguing, he received nothing at all, as there were lots of people willing to take his place.

                But sometimes officers of the criminal investigation department behaved even more mean. The supergrass got the bar of tea, signed, and then a supervisor searched him, took the bar and returned back to the officer. He rewarded the next supergrass with it who was later searched and taken that bar too. Sometimes the same thing was done with the drugs, with the only difference that a disagreeable supergrass or a person who made a slip could be accused of taking or distributing drugs.

                However officers “thanked” the supergrasses not only buy tea, vodka and drugs. It was not the only and the main way to express their “gratitude”. Supervisors and officers got a substantial profit from robberies of people on trial by supergrasses’ or prisoners’ hands. A person was arrested in ordinary clothes, which was expensive. It could be mink cap, sheepskin coat, expensive coat or jacket, import suit, pullover, cardigan, running shoes or foreign shoes.  When the arrested person was brought to the prison, he was taken all money, valuable things, made to leave watches in the check-room. It was proper to leave valuable civilian clothes in the check-room in return for prisoner’s clothes. But usually it wasn’t done. And the storekeeper was the same prisoner who could steal and sell to officers good clothes dirt-cheap.  As the keepers constantly changed it was impossible to prove anything or to find the tracks.

                Thus the majority of people under trial came to the cells in their civil clothes. If they had anything valuable, supervisors set them for some time “by mistake” to the cell with supergrasses or prisoners who skinned him. I often saw and experienced the same thing myself when I was sent warm socks and mittens.

                Supergrasses passed all those things to the supervisors for a bottle of vodka or for a bar of tea. Even officers were disposed for profit from that sinecure. After such robbery a person under investigation was returned back to the common cell if there was no need to pump some information out of him.

                Other way of “feeding up” supergrasses was to robber the parcels. Those who brought parcels to people in prison know what harassments, humiliations and insults it was connected with.

                Sometimes mother or family shocked by arrest of the relative and got in a tight scraped up some money for a monthly parcel (if the investigator deigned not to forbid). It was hard not only to procure a bit of sausage or 500 grams of butter for them. They had to rise early, spend whole nights in prison queues, listen to wardress’s insults; beg her not to throw away these or those foodstuffs which suddenly become “forbidden”. Cut up foodstuff, opened factory-made cans, which were usually searched in hope of finding something prohibited finally got to the prisoners. On her way the prison matron could take or change some food. The supervisors wouldn’t mind to profit by that – anyway a prisoner couldn’t check what was missing.

                The officers fed the supergrasses in the following way. Before giving the parcel they transferred the prisoner to supergrasses’ cell and then they brought a parcel there. The “third ears” pounced on the parcel together with its owner (they said everything in the cell was common), after that the person was brought into his cell back. Good if they permitted him to take something with him from his own parcel (they said it wasn’t right to take the parcel with you).

                But the most awful rumors were about so-called press-huts, special cells with informers were people were thrown to admit the accusations. They were subject to mockeries, beating and terror, and sometimes even to murder. Officers just called it a “self-defense”. Subsequently in hospital I faced one of such cases when the person beaten within an inch of his life in a “press-hut” had died.

                  On some occasions officers went on direct infringement of the law, throwing informers to objectionable juvenile offenders, i.e. arrested children. It appeared that we in the Soviet Union could arrest children beginning with 14-years of age. But they had to be contained separately till 18 years according to the law. They broke that law and set children in cells to “third ears”  who had only one desire - to rape, satisfy the lewdness, to learn them smoke, to transform them into informers, criminals, to become their  "heroes", serve as an example for them.

Many informers tried to hide their surnames and used nicknames, which they had invented themselves. In particular, Oleichik had a nickname "Dark blue". He used it in dialogue with other arrested people and in talking through the broken windows with other cells. He never used his surname and was terribly dissatisfied, when one of the supervisors declassified him, having named him by his surnames in my presence.

In general the mania to nicknames drew in all criminals. Once I heard when a young guy got in prison for the first time and could not think up a nickname and shouted in a window: “Prison, prison - give me a nickname?” What only an obscenity was heard in the answer from the cheered up criminals. They frequently supplied with nicknames others, even political prisoners, placed in their environment. They knew that I was a Doctor of Cybernetics, but they confused that title to the doctor and frequently addressed me for medical advice. When I tried to explain to them, that I was the expert on cybernetics they hardly understood it and a word “senior lecturer” was a deep dark secret to them. However, in a concentration camp (on official terminology in correctional labour colony) they addressed to me “San Sanych” though behind my back they named me “professor”.

In Ulan-Ude prison I faced with direct false evidence. Once some Suponin and three informers Alexander Gavrilov, Ilya Isanjurin and Oleichik were placed in the cell with me. He told us that he was accused of a murder, but he wasn’t related to that crime. The conversation took part in my presence. Several months later I learned that Suponkin was convicted on the basis of Oleichik’s, Isanjurin’s and Gavrilov’s testimonies. As though Suponkin had told them that the murder was made by him. It was a usual reception for the cases when a person was arrested, but nothing could be proved. Not admit to the mistake, not set him free and not to spoil the reporting on disclosing crimes they acted in that way. And when such serious crime as murder took place the "guilty" should be necessarily punished. I know, that sometimes tens innocent people suffered, those who were not connected to the given crimes and were arrested simply on suspicion. By finally investigators cooked up charges against all of them. The accusation frequently had no relation to the reason of arrest as it was in a well-known case of Peshehonova (atrocious murder) in which about 30 of her passing acquaintances suffered. The chief of Ulan-Ude criminal investigation department Ivanov was especially impudent and put thousand people out.

15. Second trial. Concentration camp ОV-94/2

The court headed by the judge Zhanchipov E.B. took place in the beginning of August, 1978. I made a statement that it was ridiculous to judge the person for paying him more, than it was necessary, I spoke about criminal methods of investigation, destruction of disagreeable receipts, forging of documents, false examination, political underlying reason of that "case". I was roughly interrupted and that very day they took all my extracts from the case; notes to legal process, copies of complaints, all paper and pens. My oral protests in court were interrupted by public prosecutor Bajborodin who started to shout that I was the anti-soviet criminal, the slanderer and wasn’t going to correct. In short they condemned me to 3 years of concentration camps. I hadn’t admitted myself guilty.

They sent me from Ulan-Ude to a tree felling at concentration camp in Irkutsk area. About 2 hours they carried us in North direction from station Resheta of Siberia highways by the branch line which hadn’t been marked on any map. That entire time along the railroad way stretched concentration camps. The official address of the camp:

665061, Irkutsk region, Tajshetsky area, Novobirjusinsk settlement, Institution N-235/12.

In that concentration camp I stayed for about one month and due to the sympathy of the head of first-aid post, almost all this time I was in hospital. Then the camp authorities and Correctional Labour Colony Management of Irkutsk area decided that they didn’t need one more political and sent me back to Buryatiya (both places are located in Siberia).

There they brought me in concentration camp mail box ОV-94/2 in settlement Southern near Ulan-Ude. The chief of this "exemplary" concentration camp Leonid Druj distinguished oneself by awful cruelty. Once I had counted up, that for several years of taking his position he had written out the prisoners about 150 thousand man-days of stay in a cold punishment cell, not counting hundreds thousand man-days in intracamp prison of special regime.

He gave only one kind of punishment – 15 days in a punishment cell – being the reason of it a ridiculous official report of supervisors or simple toadies-prisoners (“arm-band wearers”, “red”). Any attempt to explain something, was answered by the growl: “And you... are dissatisfied! 15 days more!!”

As a result about 90 % of prisoners suffered gastric diseases, about 20 % - tuberculosis, about - 10 % venereal illnesses. The cases of suicide were quite frequent, especially in isolation wards and penalty cells. For example, prisoner Bogdanov couldn’t endure tortures and hung oneself in the punishment cell.

                The tyranny of the “red” reigned in a concentration camp. They beat “muzhiks[9] and those who did not want to enter in SIO (section of the internal order) i.e. to become "red".

Druj didn’t disdain every possible fraud. In particular, using work of prisoners, he produced under the orders of the nomenclature (communist and soviet commanders) for a symbolical payment wonderful furniture sets, repaired motor vehicles, sold “written off” materials and thus held in dependence the Heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of Public Prosecutor and top management Buryat ASSR, including a regional committee. And as a matter of fact all management of the Buryat republic was connected by cover-up and represented a united mafia.

                  Finally (already after my discharge) Druj was caught on bribes, but got off an easy fright and was sent on pension with honour. Nowadays he lives in a 3-room apartment in Ulan-Ude, 670000, Borsoev street, 29-37 (Phone: 2-93-12).

But even being a pensioner he keeps those habits and he treats people as cattle. Once I saw when he ignoring huge queue in the shop gave the check to the seller. When I asked: “Why haven’t you stood in a queue?” He answered with a children’s naivety: “I have not noticed it!”

Convicts told, that Druj ordered to collect all cats in correctional institution in a bag, threw a bag in a fire-chamber of boiler-house and observed as they shout and rush on fire. Other event took part in my presence. Someone found prisoners’ bowls in a hole of isolation wards toilets (excrement pit). Druj ordered to put the food in them.

However his deputy Kruglov N.J. living now in Ulan-Ude in avenue of 50 years of October 22-19, phone: 9-46-07, and also the chief of criminal investigation department Bykov B.А. (Ulan-Ude, 670033, Krasnoflotskaya street, 26-15) didn’t differ from him much. Cruelty was inhering especially to ACC (the on duty assistant to the chief of a colony) Polyakov (settlement Southern, Bagdata street, 15, 30083, 248), who studied at Ulan-Ude Technology Institute where I worked during the second exile. He wanted to put me in a punishment cell because I had picked up the scraps of “Rules of behaviour of prisoners” in dust.

It was surprising, that all these people when casually meeting me after the discharge did not feel any confusion even in the period of perestroika. They didn’t even think that their actions towards political prisoners could be estimated as criminal.

From all the maintenance staff of the concentration camp only doctor Baklanov Nikolay Artemjevich was kind to me. But his possibilities were rather limited.

Druj, being a Jew, tried especially hard to gain favour of KGB. He headed for my direct destruction. About 9 months (285 days) he kept me lightly dressed in a cold punishment cell on a pound of brown bread and water; and the rest of the time, almost 2 years, I spent in an intracamp prison.

It is impossible to describe those tortures and mockeries I endured.  I was held in cells with ice-covered walls in shabby prison clothes, placed in not heated box which external door was covered with ice and was opened for 2-hour “airing” when the temperature outside was 400C degrees below zero. They placed me in the dark damp cell with wood louses, cockroaches, smelly close-stool. The 6 sq. meters cell was filled with 6-8 people so we had to sit and sleep on a dirty floor.

Criminals, especially “red” ones were encouraged to beat and terrorize me. My requirements of the single maintenance got the answer: “it is not supposed”. And my complaints were simply thrown out. 

I recollect my stay at Druj concentration camp as a continuous nightmare. The matter wasn’t only in the constant famine which led up to hungry faints. The main torture was cold causing a fever and spasms of the exhausted organism. It was allowed to wear only pants, a T-shirt, thin cotton prisoners’ trousers and a jacket. And it was all. The walls were covered with ice, the door to the corridor was opened for “airing” and the batteries were cold. The temperature in the cells could keep only due to bodies of prisoners. And what heat the hungry person and his spoiled stomach could evolve?

It was especially cruel at night. One had to lie curled up, having pulled jacket on head and trying to breathe under it so that the heat was kept. One needed to wake up in 1.5-2 hours of a wild fever, to jump on, skip and wave hands to warm up a little and to stop the shakes.

By all these tortures KGB and Druj tried to achieve only one goal: Do repent, speak on television.

All my complaints in the Office of Public Prosecutor, other institutes and personally to the public prosecutor on supervision for Correctional Institution Grishinu I.A. (Ulan-Ude, 670015, Pavlova street, 65-30, ph. 2-11-32) were thrown out or remained without the answer.

16. Third arrest and fabricating “a new case” 

Ten days before the end of the second term they brought me all ill hardly keeping on legs from penalty isolation cell and presented new accusations. They said I agitated criminals in concentration camp against the Soviet authority. But how could I agitate being constantly in a one-man punishment cell, and why did I have to agitate those who were put to terrorize me and how could multiply convicted people, spending all life in concentration camps undermine poor Soviet authority? However these reasons were ignored.

About 40 “active” criminals signed the testimonies necessary to KGB. They received their parcels, sendings, and appointments to relatives at once. Among them there were such especially trusted, appointed to cushy lobs prisoners as robber Smirnov S.V., gangster Nizhmakov J.L., murderer Rabzhuev V.D., bribe taker Mironov V.E., the homosexual (“cock”) Tolstonogov S.M., etc.

Many of them, for example, Smirnov S.V., Rabzhuev V.D., Nazarov V.P., Rybikov V.D., scribbled the false denunciations even earlier. I didn’t speak a word to many who signed the testimonies against me. Moreover I didn’t have any idea of agitating them against the Soviet authority (which majority of them hated anyway), of undermining it or of killing communists. Democratic movement would have discredited itself forever if began to involve criminal elements like Bolsheviks (communists).

But the logics was not necessary to the KGB inspector Kozhevin V.A. He was not ashamed to charge me even corresponding with Ginzburg A.I., Korsunskaya M.V., Shihanovich J.A., Ljubarskiy K.A., Podrabinek A.P., Romanova A.J., etc. when I was in a concentration camp and in exile, denunciations of KGB agents Vannikov E.K., Polienko G.S., Tugarina L.A., Erdyneev A.B., Gilbuh, and others during my stay in settlement Bagdarin. It was typical, that they had not charged those denunciations when fabricated the second case in 1978, and kept them for the following one.

However my neighbours in settlement Bagdarin Armenians Akopjan G.B. and Oganesyan G.A., who were caught on hook by KGB for frauds with gold, had signed false indications too.

The manuscript of memoirs “Common communism” about my stay at Mordovian concentration camps and the photo where I held a poster “I Demand departure from a communist heaven to a capitalist hell”, found by Najdanova T.B lodged in my room after my arrest caused special hatred.  

For the sake of justice it is necessary to note, that not all criminals agreed to become perjurers. Prisoners Avramenko I.V., Kurenkov V.R., Vlasov M.P. refused to sign the “necessary” evidences and had suffered cruel torments and tortures in penalty isolation wards and penalty cells.

In investigatory prison of Ulan-Ude I was kept in full isolation only with informers, subjected to continuous terror and tortures. I recollect all my stay there as a continuous nightmare. I had seen enough and had heard such things that even Nazi prisons and concentration camps would seem a toy in comparison to those mean and hypocritical methods used by communists Ivanov, Kodenev and others.

Being sick and completely exhausted I denied all accusations and solicitations of KGB about the repentance and appearing on TV during eight months of investigation. On 9-th month Kozhevin has brought thick volumes of the “testimonies” of “witnesses” collected against me and said: “Here is your case. Confess or you will receive 15 years, and we shall create conditions that you won’t live more than one year, or do appear with repent and become free!”

I was condemned on case alone, my “repentance” could damage only my own reputation, all intellectual dissidents knew what methods it was usually achieved by. After several days of thinking I decided to agree. Taking into account, that it was 1982 and the period of “publicity” and discharge of political prisoners was still very far, I can absolutely truly tell, that if I had not agreed, I would not be alive now.

Certainly, then I met people who blamed me for that, but usually they were those who weren’t imprisoned, or the people repenting and betraying others on investigation, but whose repentance was not given to publicity. Usually publicity was given to the repentance of the dissidents who were widely known abroad and in the USSR. I can accept condemnation of those who spent the same years in prison, were subject to tortures, torments and pressure as I was. But I do not know such people. The repentance of the overwhelming majority was not brought to publicity not to make an impression, that there were a lot of political prisoners in the USSR, and for the proof of sincerity of these people they were forced to spy on their friends.

They treated and fattened me in prison hospital more than a month so that I looked decently. Then they brought me to KGB, and forced to dress a clean shirt, a tie, a jacket, made me sit down to table so that prison trousers and tarpaulin boots were invisible and gave me the text 5 minutes before the record. Having fluently run it I asked to exclude mentioning dissidents, but I was strictly answered, that the text is given from Moscow authorities and it had to be read precisely in that way. During record I tried to omit, to change something but Kozhevin followed on a copy and forced me to read the text again.

I do not know what they arranged from those two records for I was in prison during the broadcast. Having discharged I ascertained that communistic scribblers quoted in their articles ostensibly my statements which I never said, and by virtue of the belief could have never said. Nobody informed about those articles and I learned about some of them only after my arrival to the USA.

I have brought an action against authors of the articles known to me being in Ulan-Ude, but all my applications were not taken into consideration at all.

Nevertheless despite of my repentance and promises of KGB I was judged for the third time and convicted a year in correctional labour colony (the period of investigation and court procedure) and 5 years of the exile.

17.  Second exile.

They placed me in the second exile to Ulan-Ude and employed me as a senior scientific employee in East-Siberian Technology Institute (ESTI) on the faculty of computer engineering, which was headed by the senior lecturer Muhopad Jury Fedorovich.

At that time I was the only Doctor of Science in Buryatiya. Basically I cooperated with factory "”Teplopribor”, ( Heat Devices) rather with its engineering department (under the management of Gluhoedov J.N.) and a department of new techniques in development of new devices and appliances. There were contacts with huge Ulan-Ude aviation factory, ship-building and locomotive-carload factories, with the Buryat office of the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences. They were compelled to send me on scientific affairs in business trips to an academician city in Novosibirsk and even sometimes to Moscow.

For the period of the exile from the moment of the discharge (the end of April 1982) and up to the end of 1987 I had made 13 inventions in the field of astronautics, engines, heating engineering. Some of them had been made secret at once.

Certainly I was exposed to continuous spying of KGB. The employees of faculty had been ordered to watch me. Any my statement, even like “the weather is bad today”, was interpreted as running down the conditions of life in the USSR with the purpose of undermining the Soviet authority. The informer of KGB senior lecturer Zubritskij E.V. tried especially hard. Some heads of institute and even KGB curator in ESTI Leskov A.S. (Ulan-Ude, Geologicheskaya street 16-15, ph. 3-68-32) told me about his denunciations to me and other employees.

As soon as so-called “perestroika” in 1985 began I wrote the application for refusal from television performance, said in what methods it had been received, and declared, that there was none my word in the text composed by KGB. That application was sent to many central newspapers, but none of them published it.

In 1986-87 that application was handed over to Sergey Grigorjanets, the editor of the newspaper “Glasnost” (Publicity) and to Peter Starchek, the associate editor of “Express-Khroniki” (Express chronicles). The brief message on it appeared in the annual “Messages from the USSR”, 7-19, 1987.

As it was already said, I tried to prosecute communistic newspapers and authors of the pasquinades covering my case and quoting ostensibly “my” statements, but my applications were not accepted.

After all that and after handing in an application to departure from the USSR the management of the institute, regional committee of the CPSU had worsened their attitude to me. I was refused in departure and KGB began to fabricate a new case. On behalf of criminals of the concentration camp Druj organized the collective letter with the requirement to bring to me to court as not going to reform and continuing to slander the Soviet authority. Soon he was caught bribing and was transferred as an instructor to a juvenile colony, and then he was with honour sent on the personal pension. He even kept all his militia ranks. However by that time perestroika gained sufficient force, the authorities began discharging political prisoners and chairman of Buryat KGB department Vereshchagin G.I. hadn’t dared to make a new political case. Probably he was prohibited to do it from Moscow.

In the determined 6 months after the refusal in departure I wrote the new application in a very sharp form. I remember there were such phrases as: “Why do you seize me as dogs. Anyway I was and I would be an enemy to your fascist-communist regime and I would always struggle against it”.

In some months the departure clearance came, I left to Moscow and in the beginning of June 1988 I left the USSR.

Already after my departure Anatoly Golovkov's article “Time for reflection” appeared in “Ogonyok” #4, 1989, page 6. For the first time in official Soviet press was put a question about the illegal condemnation of dissidents of Brezhnev period and labeling them as “apostates”, “slanderers”, “and agents of world imperialism” and “enemies of the people”. My “case” was described and the question from rehabilitation of all victims of Brezhnev’s arbitrariness was put.

After my arrival to the USA I published a number of articles in the Soviet and foreign press in defense of political prisoners. These were the articles “About rehabilitation of victims of communistic arbitrariness” (the newspaper “The Soviet Youth” from August, 7 1990), interview “While the Communist Party is in power there cannot be a true democracy in the USSR” (“The Soviet youth” from October, 19 1990), article “Memorial Day of victims of the Bolshevism" (the newspaper “The New Russian Word” from September, 7 1991), etc. There were organized demonstrations near the Soviet representative office at the United Nations and letters in protection of people, whose cases were concocted on political causes. Certainly it is difficult to expect something from former communists who “recoloured” themselves to “democrats” with the purpose of retaining the power and began to wreck national economy, to worsen conditions of life of the population, to cause revolts and to come to totalitarianism again.

We cannot but hope that they won’t manage to do that and the republics entering the former Soviet Union will become democratic, civilized and prospering states closely cooperating among themselves and observing human rights; cannot but hope that the victims were not vain.     

Alexander Bolonkin

Ph. /Fax 718-339-4563 USA. E-mail: aBolonkin@juno.com , http://Bolonkin.narod.ru  or  http://geocities.com/Bolonkin1

Address: A. Bolonkin, 1310 Avenue R, #6-F, Brooklyn, NY 11229 USA.

Appendix

(On the materials of radio station “Svoboda”)

1. “AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL” STATEMENT

13.3.75 LONDON In connection with forthcoming visit of chairman of All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions SHELEPIN to Great Britain English branch of the International public organization “International Amnesty” has placed a letter in the London newspaper “Times”.

In the letter, signed by the chairman of branch POLE ESRTREIHER and director DAVID SIMPSON placed information that when SHELEPIN arrives to the Great Britain, it is necessary to tell him politely but firm what Englishmen think of imprisonments in camps and prisons of heterodoxies in the Soviet Union.

In 1973 the senior lecturer of the Moscow Aviation Technology Institute, Doctor of Science ALEXANDER BOLONKIN had been sentenced to four years of the imprisonment for he ostensibly called workers for strike as a token of the protest against economic system in the USSR.

In the end of the letter it is pointed that when SHELEPIN arrives to Great Britain, members of the English branch of the organization “Amnesty” should make attempt to meet him and to express their concern about similar cases of violating human rights in the Soviet Union.

Radio “Svoboda”

2. THE LEAFLET OF CIVIL COMMITTEE

The three leaflets of Civil committee published further were distributed in Moscow in the beginning of June, 1972. On June, 19 messages on these leaflets were transmitted to the West by the foreign correspondents accredited in Moscow.

The editors of “The Free word”

On the night of June, 1 1972 more than 3.5 thousand similar leaflets were spread in letter boxes in 8 areas of Moscow

CITIZENS!

We hardly make both ends meet!

June, 1 1972 is 10 years from the date of increase in prices. They have been raised right after the XXII congress of the CPSU on which “the Program of construction of communism” was accepted. Talkers promised: “within first ten years all strata of Soviet people will be prosperous, will be financially secure… we’ll do away with lack of dwellings by that time”.

And suddenly in 62— rise in prices! They began to whine:

“This is an interim measure... There is no doubt, that in the near future it will be possible to reduce retail prices”.

And we had a hard fight to make the two ends meet!

Ten years passed. The prices still grow. We are being robbed everywhere! The Soviet and party top devours huge means. Closed sanatoria, cars “Chaika”, special food ration, dachas, and special hospitals— here are their privileges!

And we hardly make both ends meet!

To "Friends" abroad — grain, oil, meat, sugar, fabrics, guns, tanks, rockets.

And we hardly make both ends meet!

Citizens! Struggle! Let the struggle of workers of capitalistic countries be an example to you! Let Poland of December, 1970 be an example to us! Let strikes and statements of workers of Moscow, Leningrad, Novocherkassk, Temirtau, Chirchik and Kaunas be an example to us!

STRIKE! GO TO THE STREET! FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!

 

3. А.BOLONKIN’S APPEAL TO N.PODGORNYJ

The most bloody, false and hypocritical regime!

To chairman of Presidium of a Supreme Soviet of the USSR Podgorny N.V. Copies:

To the governments of the countries which have signed the Helsinki agreements

 from the former political prisoner, Doctor of Technical Sciences Bolonkin A.A.  

Address: 671510, settlement Bagdarin of Bauntovskiy area Buryat ASSR, poste restante, to Bolonkin A.A.

Mister Podgornyj!

As I know, the instruction to fabricate against me any (most desirably criminal) “case” is given to the local KGB office.

Not having satisfied with a fabrication of political “case” against me in 1972, beatings, tortures, mockeries and hard labour in your prisons and camps, you do not want to leave me alone even after my 4-year stay in the confinement, to enable me to leave your “socialist heaven” for “a capitalist hell”. This is the roughest violation of the Helsinki agreements, the General Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, the International Pact on the Civil and Political Rights, the Soviet Constitution.

Once and again I confirm my refusal of the Soviet citizenship, I continue to demand departure from your “heaven” and I still think your totalitarian regime to be the most bloody, false and hypocritical one from all which had existed in a history of mankind.

Damn it forever!

May, 1977                                                                                                                                                          A. Bolonkin

 

4. Appeal of academician Sakharov in A. BOLONKIN’s defense

АS №4319. Andrei Sakharov. “Appeal in A. BOLONKIN’s defense”, Gorky, 3.5.81.

Appeal in Alexander BOLONKIN’s defense

Alexander BOLONKIN is arrested in a concentration camp in ten days before the end of the second term. He is accused on second part of Asset 70, of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR /slanderous lies with the purpose of undermining or weakening Soviet public and a political system/, that threatens him ten years of the confinement and five years of exile more above those nine years of the most severe tortures and unfair reprisals through which he has already passed. Mathematician - cybernetician BOLONKIN was arrested for the first time soon after he defended his thesis for a doctor's degree on the theory of control. He was accused of distribution samizdat magazine “Chronicle of the current events” and then, in 1973, he was condemned for four years of camps and two years of exile. That verdict was completely illegal, as the “Chronicle” is just an informational magazine and it does not have purposes of undermining or weakening the system. BOLONKIN’S thesis for a doctor's degree wasn’t approved by the Certifying commission, and the manuscript of his monograph was stolen. On way to camp he was beaten, his arm was fractured. After 4-year stay in camp and almost full term of the exile, one month to the end of it, he is arrested and condemned on falsified accusation for three years of camps. And again he will be judged, this time in a camp court - with usual in such cases false evidence of other prisoners, caused by threats, beatings or promises of inspectors.

I address to mathematicians – Alexander BOLONKIN’S colleagues in the USSR and in all countries, to all scientists, to all honest people. I address to the Heads of all governments which have signed the Helsinki Act, to all state and public figures, art and business workers who can influence the Soviet heads, I address to Amnesty International. Speak in support of Alexander BOLONKIN.

May, 3 1981                                                                                                                                       Andrei SAKHAROV

                                                                                            Nobel Prize winner

5. Appeal of Elena Bonner and other members of Moscow group “Helsinki” in A. BOLONKIN’s defense

АS №4333.- 4 members of   Moscow Group (Е.Bonner and others). Document

№166. “Alexander BOLONKIN’s Imprisonment become termless”

(Moscow), 30.4.81.

Moscow group of assistance to execution Helsinki Agreements in the USSR

April, 30 1981                                                             Document №166

Alexander BOLONKIN’s Imprisonment become termless

Alexander BOLONKIN is arrested on April, 10 1981, ten days before the end of the second term of holding in custody verdict in concentration camp near to Ulan-Ude. The chief of KGB investigatory department PROZOROV informed BOLONKIN’s wife, that legal proceedings against him on the second part of Asset 70 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR is instituted and investigation is conducted.

Alexander BOLONKIN /1933/, the mathematician - cybernetician, Doctor of Technical Sciences /his brilliant dissertation wasn’t approved by Certifying commission in connection with his arrest; in 1973. Certifying commission deprived him a rank of the candidate of sciences /.

In September 1972 BOLONKIN was arrested and condemned to four years of confinement and two years of exile on the basis of the second part of Asset 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code /anti-soviet agitation and propaganda / for possession and distribution samizdat literatures and documents.

After the discharge from concentration camp BOLONKIN was in exile in settlement Bagdarin of Buryat ASSR where he worked in a workshop of a service centre.

On April, 20 1978, 26 ten days before the end of the exile term, BOLONKIN was repeatedly arrested and condemned on artificially created accusation in private business activity and theft to three years of the confinement and 26 days of exile. During stay in concentration camp Alexander BOLONKIN /on the first, and on the second verdict / was repeatedly exposed to persecutions of administration: placed in penalty isolation wards and penalty cells, deprived of appointments, etc.

BOLONKIN declared hunger-strikes of the protest time and again.

On April, 20 1981 the wife (1) and the 14-years son (2) waited for Alexander BOLONKIN’s discharge. Instead of the news about his liberation they received the message on his new arrest, for the third time already.

As none active propaganda including “anti-soviet” one is possible in the conditions of concentration camp, the accusation on Asset 70 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR is simply absurd.

Second part of the Asset 70 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR stipulates imprisonment for the term up to 10 years with the subsequent exile up to five years.

As Alexander BOLONKIN had already served time on that Asset he will inevitably be declared a dangerous recidivist that will cause serving punishment in inhuman conditions of a camp of special regime.

After 9-years stay in camps and exile BOLONKIN’s health is fully undermined /chronic gastritis, a cholecystitis, rectal inflammation /, and a new long term can become a lifelong term for him.

We draw attention of the heads of the governments which have signed the Helsinki Act, scientists of all countries and world community to Alexander BOLONKIN’s tragic destiny to make all possible for his discharge.\

Members of Moscow group "Helsinki":

Elena BONNER

Sofia KALISTRATOVA

Ivan KOVALEV

Naum MEIMAN .

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

   1. Margarita (Chronicle 40:20, 46:109).

2. Vladimir; 1965, according to the verdict to A.Bolonkin and V. Balakirev of Moscow City Court from 22.11.73 (АS №2631:1); 1968 ("The list of USSR political prisoners... News from the USSR").

Reprint of the original photocopy from AS.

 

6.From radio broadcast of radio station “Svoboda”(RFE-RL)

RADIO SVOBODA: ANCILLARY MATERIALS OF RESEARCH DEPARTMENT РС 86/81                                                May, 8          1981

ALEXANDER BOLONKIN IS THREATENED THE THIRD TERM

Vishnevskaya

                The Nobel prize winner academician Andrei Sakharov has addressed to the scientists and to the governments of the countries of free world with an appeal to support Alexander Bolonkin who is threatened with a new term - up to 10 years of imprisonment with five years of the subsequent exile - on accusation in “anti-soviet agitation and propaganda” /Asset 70 part 2 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR /. That new (already third) accusation had been presented to him 10 days before the end of the term on his second verdict, on April, 10 1981 /I/.

                Alexander Aleksandrovich Bolonkin was born on March, 14, 1933. Before the first arrest he had been the senior lecturer of the Moscow high technical school of Bauman, Doctor of Technical Sciences., the author of about 40 scientific works. Bolonkin was first arrested on September, 21, 1972 and since then he wasn’t free for a day, but was in confinement with almost 2-years break to the exile in Transbaikalia in Eastern Siberia.

The first court procedure on Bolonkin’s case took place in Moscow on November, 22, 1973. Bolonkin and his sidekick Valery Balakirev were accused on Asset 70 part 2, the Civil Code of the RSFSR. Particularly Bolonkin was incriminated: listening to and distribution of transfers of foreign radio stations in Russian; producing of the multiplying device mimeograph and copying “the Chronicle of the current events”, magazine “Democrat”, a leaflet signed by “Civil committee”, “My Testimony” by Anatoly Marchenko, “Will Soviet Union exist till 1984?” by Andrey Amalrika, translation of the book of Robert Konkvista “The Great Terror” and other materials.

Besides in 1971-72 Bolonkin distributed approximately 15 his own samizdat works signed by various pseudonyms with criticism of social regime and standards of living of workers in the USSR. In particular, under A.Vasiljev pseudonym Bolonkin wrote the great work under the name “Comparison of standard of life of workers in Tsar Russia, in the USSR and in the capitalist countries. Statistic data” /2/.

Together with the accomplice Balakirev Bolonkin issued samizdat magazine “Svobodnaya mysl” (Free Thinking). On November, 22, 1973 the judicial board on criminal cases of the Moscow city court sentenced him to 4 years of concentration camps of a strict regime and 2 years of exile/З/.

At the end of September, 1976 Bolonkin was banished to settlement Bagdarin in Buryat ASSR. Before the end of the exile he was arrested for two months on accusation of “theft of his own salary”. During investigation Bolonkin was beaten “and threatened to be killed by the hands of criminals” if he didn’t confess to a crime. The court took place on August, 4, 1978 in settlement Bagdarin. In court he was deprived of texts of the law, extracts from the case, and wasn’t allowed to speak. According to Bolonkin’s words many of the documents presented by him had disappeared from the case, and a number of other documents were forged by the inspectors. That time Bolonkin was sentenced on the basis of Asset 93, part 2 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR “the theft of the state or public property accomplished by swindle” to the maximal term of punishment according to that Asset - to 3 years of camps of strict regime and 26 days of exile/4/.

The punishment on the second verdict Bolonkin spent in “institution” ОV-94/2-B in a settlement Southern of Buryat ASSR. In this camp Bolonkin was several times placed in penalty isolation ward /penal isolator where it is possible to put a person for the term up to 15 day / and twice for 6 months in penalty cell / a room of cell type6 / . As a result of cruel treatment Bolonkin caught dysentery, was ill by chronic bronchitis, radiculitis, gastritis and other diseases. On May, 6, 1980, almost one year before the third “arrest”, Bolonkin sent a letter to the General public prosecutor of the USSR and Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR where he warned:

The administration without ceremony says that for the remaining year of my confinement they will bring me to my grave, undermine my health, or fabricate a new case/5/.

- - - - - - - --

2.       AS №1670.

3. Verdict on Balakiriev and Bolonkin’s case see АS №2631; about the court see “Chronicle” # 30, page 5.

4. АS1*3624; РС 125/78 “Second trial of Alexander Bolonkin”; “Chronicle” # 51, page 31-32.

5. “Chronicle” # 53, page 95, “Chronicle” # 55,page 28; “Chronicle”  # 56.page 112-113; “Chronicle” # 57,page 87-88; “News from the USSR”, editor Kronid Ljubarski, 1980, ##18-41 and 20-30.

6. In total Bolonkin was 1 year in penalty sell (SHIZO) and 2 years in penalty ward (PKT – special camp prison)

7. To Alexander Bolonkin

Valeriy Rubin

Перед пропастью страшной

обмирает душа...

Я Болонкина Сашу

обнимаю, спеша.

То ли передо мною

он на миг постарел,

то ли перед страною,

где он столько сидел.

 

Вот он — в сером костюме,

поприбавил морщин...

Я его после тюрем

провожаю один.

 

Объявляется вылет

и не выдержать мук,

сколько в карцерах вынес

этот доктор наук.

 

Не подумаешь, встретя,

что колючкой крещен...

Это в наше-то время?!

А в какое ж еще?!

 

Вот уже он с вещами,

переходит черту...

Невиновных — прощают,

никогда — правоту.

 

Вот его у оконца

человек обыскал...

На энергии солнца

он поднимает корабль.

 

Вот он встал вдруг и замер,

поднимает кулак...

Мол, уходит не насмерть!

Но для нас это так.

 

Вот он издали машет,

как на том берегу

и помочь тебе, Саша,

я уже не могу.

1988г.

 

Valeriy RUBIN (1938-1991) is a famous soviet poet and writer. He published his works in the leading Soviet literature magazines “Noviy mir” (“New world”), “Znamya” (“The Banner”), “Unost” (“The Youth”). In 1981 he published series of the critical poems in the western magazine “Continent”. Then they were read on radio “Voice of America”.  He was persecuted for that in the USSR. He died in 1991. In 1994 his book “Obysk” (“Search”) was issued.

 

 



[1] Some documentation published at home and distributed in a  closed society

[2] RSKHD – Russian Student Christian Movement

[3] MHTU = Moscow High Technical University named Bauman

[4] CC – Central Committee (of CPSU).

[5] Vlasovets – a traitor of the Soviet Union, a participant of anti-Soviet military formations fighting on the side of fascist Germany during World War II. They received that name after the general - lieutenant A.A.Vlasov, former commander of the 2-nd Shock Troops of Volkhov front, who gave up in July 1942 and began fighting for fascists.

[6] MIA - the Ministry of Internal Affairs

[7] makhorka – a bad sort of tobacco

[8] ASSR - Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

[9] Muzhik – “a small criminal man”. The word is used in this meaning only in Russian prisons and concentration camps.

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