Subject:INFO-RUSS:Seven in Red Square
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 93 04:22:18 EDT
From: email@example.com (Alexander E. Kaplan)
"Kakaya vas nelyogkaya
na ploschad' pognala,
kakaya dal' dalyokaya
na pomosch' pozvala..."
"Slovno sem' bogatyh lun
na puti moyom vstayot.
Eto ptitsa Gamayun
On August 22'68, 600,000 troops of Warsaw Pact, 500,000 of them --
Soviets, rolled into Czechoslovakia on tanks to crash the "Prague
Spring". The event was well expected by some; on the next day at every
factory in the USSR, kolkhoz, university, research labs, etc., there
were "workers' meetings" supposed to approve the action of sov-
government by open voting. They approved it, all right, as usual, by
99.999**% of votes...
"Skol'ko raz my molchali po raznomy,
no ne protiv, konechno, a za..."
Not all of them, though...
"Ty, chto, ne vidish', kapitan,
ty razve sam ne vidish',
V takyu buryu, kapitan,
ne vyplyt' nikomu.
Ved' ty zhe vraz poidesh' ko dnu,
kak tol'ko v more vyidesh'...
"Tam krik o pomoschi, milord,
ya slyshal, krik razdalsya,
Milord, ya slyshal etot krik --
moi dolg -otkliknut'ysa emu."
25 years ago, today, on the August 25'68, Sunday, seven people gathered
on the Red Square near the Execution Place (Lobnoye Mesto). Suddenly,
they reached under their shirts, or into their bags, pulled out towels
and pieces of linen, and raised them above their heads.
"Im ne znamya zhrebii vykinul --
nosovoi platok v krovi..."
For a few brief moments everyone could see what was written on
"Svobodu Chekhoslovakii", "Doloi okkupantov", "Za washu i nashu svobodu"...
Here are their names:
Konstantin Babitsky, math-linguist
Larisa Bogoraz, linguist
Vadim Delone, poet
Vladimir Dremlyuga, construction worker
Victor Fainberg, mathematician (?)
Natalia Gorbanevskaya, poet and writer,
Pavel Litvinov, math&physics teacher
Did I say -- seven? Sorry, wrong, there was a little bit more: Natalia
Gorbanevskaya came to the Red Square with her newly born baby-boy,
Iosya, about two month old... ("I holodno bylo mladentsu v vertepe na
The police and plainclothes got stunned and lost for a few minutes.
They frantically phoned their superiors; the order for action came in
soon. Suddenly, the crowd of gawkers split off and gave way to a gang
of "vozmuschennyh grazhdan" v shtatskom who torn down the linen posters
and started severely beating the participants of that little
demonstration. One of the politically correct ladies hit Pavel Litvinov
over his head with her heavy lady-bag; the bag opened up, and a
military handgun flew out of it. (Beware of politically correct
ladies...). Viktor Fainberg got all his teeth knocked out of his mouth.
The black cars pulled in, and the KGB people stuffed the demonstrators
into them. A KGB plainclothe pulled baby-Iosya out of his
baby-carriage, lifted him up and was about to throw the baby into the
car with all his force; only a horrified and deafening scream of many
women in the crowd stopped him from doing that.
Only five of them made it to the trial. KGB put Victor Fainberg into
psycho-ward, psihushka (with his teeth knocked out, how could a man be
sane?), and let Gorbanevskaya go (even for them it was not in a good taste
to put a mather&baby on trial especially considering her hungry strike;
but KGB made it up to her later, when they put her into the prison in
1970). The charge for the seven: violation of the chapter 190' of the
sov-criminal code ("rasprostranenie zavedomo lozhnoi i klevetnicheskoi
informatsii ili propagandy protiv sov-vlasti"), and 190''' ("narushenie
raboty obschestvennogo transporta na proezhey chasti..."; sure, the
nearest trolley was 500 meters away, behind the corner...). A fair
sov-judge sent three of them into exile for 1-3 years (they were sent
out into places like Chita, Tumen', and Narian Mar), and two (Delone
and Dremlyuga) -- to a jail. The toughest luck in the store was for
Vladimir Dremlyuga, who spent six years in prizon near Murmansk (they
added him an extra term while in prizon).
Long ago and far away... After that, their trails split off and some
faded away... A few years after getting out of prizon, Vadik Delone
died in Paris, while in forced exile;
"Vsyo pozheg zakat.
tleyut kak obryad
He was only 35 year old... "Ah, kivera da mentiki, pora by vyiti v
znat', no etoi arifmetiki poetam ne uznat'...".
Two of them came to the US a long while ago (Pasha Litvinov teaches
physics in private school in the New York state, and Volodya Dremlyuga
survives as a home-repair contractor in New Jersey). Natasha Gorbanevskaya
("Rasti, koster. Gori, duga zaliva.
Siyai vpot'mah, bezumnyi motylyok.")
lives in Paris; she used to work in "Continent" (a former baby Iosya is
there too); Vitya Fainberg, "a wandering Jew", is somewhere between
England, France, and Israel...
"Gde teper' krikuny i pechal'niki?
Otshumeli i sginuli smolodu...
A molchal'niki vyshli v nachal'niki,
potomu chto molchanie -- zoloto."
Two of them are still in Russia : Lara Bogoraz and Kostya Babitsky...
"Otvechayu ya tsygankam --
mne to po serdtsu,
k vol'noi vole
no ne kinut'sya,
vidno krepko ya privyazan, ne uiti..."
"Slovno sem' zavetnyh strun
zazveneli v svoy cheryod,
Eto ptitsa Gamayun
[So few for the entire Russia... "Tak chto zhe ya smeyu? i chto ya
mogu?" There were others, but then again, too few. At least one event
was well known to me. On the next date after sov-intervention to
Czechoslovakia, i.e. on Aug. 23'68, one of those "sobranii
trudyashchihsya" was summoned by the administration of the Institut
Radiotehniki i Electroniki (in Fryazino, near Moscow) of the USSR
Academy of Sciences and was attended by about 200 people; it was
supposed to "approve the action by Sov. government". One of the
research staff memeber went to the podium and spoke about 15 minutes
(you think, they were quietly listening?). He called the invasion a
crime and sov-information a lie and a bluff; he told people that their
"yes" vote would be a vote for a noose on their own neck; he called on
them to vote "no". What followed, was a chaotic and noisy chain of
events (one of which was a vote whether they should vote at all; 60%
for, 40% against), with a culminating vote on approval of sov-action:
almost all "yes" and two - "no" (to the surprise and horror of the
"no"-speaker, one more staff memeber seconded him).]
The Red Square demonstration was the peak of dissident movement. Many
people actually were involved in that movement, and the seven were some
of the bravest. They also were responsible people and took a special
care that none of other people get involved; they wanted to put only
their own fate on the burner, not that of others.
The dissident movement brought together different, but bright and spirited
people. That spirit of liberty, "vashei i nashei svobody" above all, and
camaraderie of lonely fighters s otkrytym zabralom, kept burning in each
of them for many years to come. The movement as a whole was crushed by KGB
in the seventies and eighties. Many of those dissies got scattered all
over the world; what they felt and remembered?...
"Ya vsadnik. Ya voin. Ya v pole odin.
Poslednii dinastii vol'noy ordy."
Many paid dearly for a brief moment of freedom. Many died, some of them
in the prizon, like Anatoly Marchenko and Yuri Galanskov. None of them
did what he or she did, for glory or for the gratitude of future
generations. They did it for their own ... what? Call it conscience or
sovest' or soul or whatever... Yet, please remember them... They did
it for you too...
I started with the Yuly Kim's song. He was the bard of that movement.
Let me conclude with his song too:
"O, kak zhestoka,
temna i bezumna
k svetu dnevnomu.
s kazhdoi utratoi
vse blizhe zarya.
vo veki vekov..."
--Alex (Sasha) Kaplan
Subject:INFO-RUSS:dissidents of 1960th
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alexander E. Kaplan)
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 93 19:47:23 EDT
After my posting on the Red Square demonstration on August 25'68,
I've got quite a few msgs from the IR-subscribers with their thanks
and with great appreciation of the act of courage by those seven
dissies. My friends, my thanks to you for your warm words, especially
those addressed to the "seven".
Quite a few people also asked me for more names and details in
addition to those mentioned by me in the previous posting about the
dissident movement. The posting below was prepared by me very hastily,
and in no way is to be regarded as to any extend comprehensive document
or anything like that; it is just a brief and random burst of memory.
I apologize in advance for any factual errors that are more than
likely to appear in a text like that. And I am not going to bother you
with the subject anymore (at least in the near future:-).
As I've said, the Red Square demonstration was the peak of dissident
movement. 1968 was a hot year: the first issue of underground
"Khronika tekuschih sobytii" ("Chronicals of Current Events") was out
in April, Sakharov's essay was out in May, a lot of other things, and
all this on the background of sparks flying out of Czechoslovakia.
If defined as OPEN civil (and lawful!) protest against sov-government,
it started a while before that. I don't know where start to count.
Could start with that demonstration (was it at Pushkin Square?) in 1965
that demanded an OPEN trial for the fiction writers Daniel and Sinyavsky
(who passed their short stories to the West ander assumed names and were
arrested by KGB for that). The slogans were "Uvazhaite svoyu konstitutsiyu",
"Svobodu Danielyu and Sinyavskomu", etc; I believe Vladimir Bukovsky, Yura
Galanskov, and many others were there. The Daniel and Sinyavsky trial
became a good illustration of the revival of stalinism; the first open
protest letter signed by Petr Yakir, Ilya Gabai, and Yuli Kim, was
broadcasted by the "Voice of America" with their addresses and phone
numbers openly announced. This triggered a movement called first
"podpisanty", then "democrats", then "dissidents"...
[There were other, much earlier isolated incidents, e.g.
open protest by a physicist Yury Orlov in 1956 against too "soft"
description of Stalin's activity in the Khruschev's speech. He was
a fiztech alumnus of the very first graduation class, who much later,
in 1974, become famous as one of the organizers of Helsinky Watch Group
in Moscow, along, I believe, with Valentin Turchin (remember, "Fiziki
shut'yat"?; he is a veteran emigre in the States) and Anatoly Scharansky
(who in 1978 was thrown into the prison for 10 years for his zionism
activity with official charge of "izmena rodine"--high treason-- chapter
64 of sov-criminal code, and was later on exchanged for some real
sov-spy). Yury Orlov was thrown into the prison for 7 years in 1978,
a few months before Scharansky, on the charges of violation of chapter
70 (antisoviet agitation and propaganda), and "did his time" on all
of them, "ot zvonka do zvonka". In the same summer Alik Ginzburg was
put into prison for a long term, too. Orlov is in the States now,
Ginzburg - in Paris, and Scharansky -- in Israel.]
The people of that loosely defined movement came from all walks of life,
most of them were so brilliant, multi-talented, and spirited
individuals... There were no declared party or program or anything of
this sort, just write or sign any letter you want, come to the court
building where yet another political trial was held, and show your
support; or come to the "moment of silence" at the Pushkin Square in
the memory of that first demonstration; or write an article for
samizdat, or type samizdat, or distribute it, or bring a pair of winter
shoes for a polit-zeka, or help a guy just from the labor camp, find a
doctor for him; or find a defense lawer for your arrested friend, and
get money for his family, and try to find somebody in the establishment
or anybody else to somehow help him (and quite a few people although
not directly involved were helping them: friends, people compassionate
to the cause, doctors and lawers, sometimes even people in the
street...), and learn how not to get into a trap at a KGB interrogation,
and.... Or be a leader, and face a burning responsibility not only for
your own fate but for those who followed you even if they didn't ask
you about that... And as a reward of a kind, there were those great
fierce evenings with all those crazies at any of those notorious Moscow
dissy-kitchens (and most remarkably at that one, at Avtozavodskaya)
packed to the last square inch with people, talking, drinking, and arguing
about everything in the world, but most of all about that damned and crazy
country and "chto delat'" and "kak nachat'"... And listening to those
enchanted strings, seven as in any Russian guitar...
A few other names out of many, on random: Valery Chalidze, ("Knyaz'",
i. e. "Count":-), phys-chemist, organizer of the "Human Rights
Committee" in Moscow in the beginning of the seventies, after coming to
the US a long while ago -- a publisher of "Chronicles". Andrey
Tverdokhlebov, the organizer of Moscow Amnesty International, (now in
the US); Shura Shuster (both fiztechs, 1962); Yulya Zaks (relative of
both of them), one of the veterans (now in the US, veteran emigre too);
Valery Sanderov ("Nitshe"), mathematician, fiztech (alumni of the
math-school #2 should know him as a math-instructor), the guy who in
the sixties greeted even unfamiliar persons with "Down with commies";
was thrown into prison in the beginning of eighties; he is now in Moscow.
Nad'ya Emel'kina, one of first typist of samizdat (ten copies v odnoi
zakladke na kuritel'noi bumage...), Anatoly Krasnov-Levitin, an orthodox
priest, jails and camps; Ira-"Yakirka", daughter of Petr and Valya Yakir
and wife of Yuly Kim, an acid-smart lady of dissident house; Ira
Belogorodskaya, two arrests and jail, Vadik Delone's widow, is now in
Paris as well as Olya Ioffe (see below about her mom, "Dissya").
Tata Baeva, a veteran-dissy; Yura Gastev, math-logician (he praised
"Chein-Stokes" in his old sov-math-monograph: when Stalin was dying, the
medics reported his symptomatic "Chein-Stokes breathing"); Sergey Genkin,
a mathematician; Vladimir Miloshevich ("Micha"), veteran-podpisant,
hydrologist (all now in the States). Ivan Rudakov (Moscow) and Zhenya
Kushev (Germany) -- my fellow carpenters on dyssy-shabashkah building
caw-barns a long while ago; Alik and Arina Ginzburg -- Alik being one
of the very first samiztat-compilers ("White Book" about the Daniel&
Sinyavsky trial; he also used to be in charge of the so called
Solzhenitsyn's fund designed to help polit-zeka), jails and exiles;
now both are editors of "Russkaya Mysl'" in Paris... Alexander
Podrobennik, who wrote a book describing in detail the KGB practice of
using psycho-wards as a tool of suppression of any political activity
against sov-government. Luda Alekseeva, a saint in a true Christian
sense, jail and exile; now in Moscow; Sergey Kovalyov, who was for a while
in charge of Solzhenitsyn's fund; many years in jail; he is now a People's
Deputy in Russian (?) parliament. And Vladimir Bukovsky, two prison
terms, exchanged by KGB to Chily commy, Korvalan ("Obmen'yaly huligana
na Luisa Korvalana..."), now in England.
There were many, many other names... Those whom I used to know and who
are not mentioned here, please forgive me; this is just a hastily
prepared posting; my memory is not quite helpful on such a short notice.
Inyh uzh net, a te daleche... Yury Galanskov, one of those who compiled
samizdat magazine "Feniks-66", died in jail in 1972. Anatoly Marchenko:
a worker, a zeka (four terms, about 20 years in prison and exile; spent
some time in the same camp with Daniel), a fighter, a writer ("Moi
pokazaniya"); died in 1986 (!) in Chistopol prison. Ilya Gabai, high-
school history teacher and poet, two times in jail, burnt down with KGB
threats against him and his family, killed himself in 1973. Grisha
Pod'yapol'sky, a scientist, died in the end of seventies; everyone
among dissies new him and his wife, Masha. Tosha Yakobson, poetry
critic and historian; died of depression shortly after emigrating from
Moscow. "Dissya" Ioffe, who counted her "dissident" background starting
from Nazi labor camps; died in Paris. Petr Yakir, historian (ironically,
of sov-history) first arrested in the age of 14 by Stalin's chekists as
a son of his father, the Stalin's General Yakir; Petr remembered by heart
ALL the political trials and labor camps histories of their victims, he
was one of the pioneers and first dissident leaders; his tragic
miscalculation was used by KGB to deal a severe blow to the movement in
the earlier seventies; died in Moscow in 1982.
General Petr Grigorenko, a man with a sharp political vision,
went through the entire war of 1941-45 as a field officer, grew up to a
General after that, become a dissy sometime in the end of sixties,
was arrested many times and put into psihushka, and eventually pushed
out from the country, died in New York recently; was survived by his
wife, Zinaida, a well known dissident in her own rights. Andrey Amalrik,
author of the samizdat book "Will the USSR survive till 1984?" (written
in the beginning of seventies!); died in Spain in 1980. Ira Kaplun, one
of those who worked to expose the sov-practice of using psycho-wards as
worst kind of jail; died in 1980. Gera Kopylov, a high-energy theorist
(and a good poet) from Dubna, died in seventies. Yuli Daniel who got out
of prison at the same time as Sinyavsky (I believe, around 1973),
died in Moscow a few years ago (Sinyavsky lives now in Paris; the KGB
bustards delayed a entry visa for him, and he arrived only after
the Daniel's burial was over).
That era has passed; there is a new country out there. I hope that
somebody makes a good and really comprehensive book or something on the
history of dissident movement of 1965-1985. However, although I wish
the new Russia best, I frankly doubt they want to remember anything;
by now very few people give a damn (for possible exception of small number
of the same "intelligentsia")... The new masters of Russia are essentially
the old ones: the same commies and KGBs, thieves and looters, and their
"shesterki", under a very thin disguise of "democrats"; a tragic mockery
on those who sacrificed a lot in the name of real democracy. Who cares,
right? And for those who do, there is always that fading zvon
"Sredi sovsem chuzhih pirov
i slishkom nenadezhnyh istin,
ne dozhidayas' pohvaly,
my per'ya belye pochistim...
Kogda pridyot delezhki chas,
ne nas kalach rzhanoi pomanit,
i rai nastanet ne dlya nas,
zato Ofeliya vseh nas pomyanet..."
--Alex (Sasha) Kaplan
P.S. The poets whose lines were used in my "7 in Red Square" posting
are: Yulik Kim, Vadik Delone, Natasha Gorbanevskaya, Yuli Daniel',
Vladimir Vysotsky, Alexander Galich, Bulat Okudzhava, Boris
Pasternak, and Victor Sosnora. Out of these nine, five "were".
Subject: INFO-RUSS:to "poor Cinderellas": what info-russ is all about
From: email@example.com (Alexander Kaplan)
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 95 18:26:12 EST
This is an "editorial column". Within last few days, info-russ
has been under intensive hacker's attack. First, as you may have
noticed, about a week ago somebody hiding behind an anonymous address
, sent out a few unfriendly msgs distributed
to the most of IR-subscribers, masked as "info-russ" postings, with
the "reply-distributor". It was a fake "info-russ" mail-distributor.
Under expert and greatly helpful guidance from one of my subscribers,
to whom I am very grateful, I was able to fix the problem. Yesterday,
a very nasty line appeared in the header "Apparently-to:" for one of
the msgs. Anybody who knows about originators of these scums, are
encouraged to get the info to me; I promise full confidentiality.
Veterans of info-russ may remember that this was not the first
hacker's attack on info-russ. Beats me why people do that; but I
want them to understand that since I use my computers mostly for
my sponsored research, I'll have, if push come to shove, to request
a help from the appropriate Federal agencies.
Another thing (might be related): after that unsubscription swan-song
of one of our russ-patriotic subscribers I have received a few msgs
from the people who demanded me to broaden the coverage of Real Russ-
Patriotic views of whatever is happening in Russia (and, of course, to
reduce the coverage of anything else). In addition to hate, this kind of
msgs are full of cries for the freedom of the speech and opinions for
their authors. Assuming there still are sufferers from the same syndrome
out there, I want to offer them a little explanation about what this
list is all about ( gosh, how many times have I to do that?!), and
point out a direction for them to pursue their freedom.
(i)This particular group can (technically speaking) be described as
a mailing list. Meaning that this coordinator is under no obligation
to include or not to include anybody in his list, as well as to
to cover or not to cover any subject. And if he does run this list
-- it is his courtesy, charity, donation, compassion, hobby, whatever.
But not an obligation. And he doesn't owe anything to anybody.
(ii) Now, poor Cinderellas of Russ-Patriotism (ANY kind of it), this
coordinator owes you even less. Nobody owes you, for this matter. (Note,
please, that the same is true of any OTHER kinds of Cinderellas.)
And this coordinator doesn't care about your views or opinions about
how the interests of Great Russia can or should be advanced. In fact,
he doesn't care about Great Russia at all. He is a patriot of that
geo-entity no more than of Great (Third) Reich. And the people whom
he cares about in that place, are exactly the kind of people whom you
would gladly put behind barbed wire.
(iii) Yet your freedom of speech in no way is hampered by this coordinator.
This is a free country after all. How do you exercise your freedom? Simple.
Go to another news-group or mailing list. There are zillions of them around
these days. Or even better off: start your own. All these cries of yours
are not about your freedom, it is about your trying to cash "your" freedom
on somebody else's account. Open your own.
(iv) And what this, info-russ list is about? Many things, of course.
But then again, it is not a supermarket, cannot be everything for
everybody. The major objective of this coordinator was and is to help
emigrants and refugees with their needs. Or more precisely -- to give
them a vehicle to help themselves. Any other good people may join
info-russ, they are welcome, as long as the major objectives of IR-list
are OK with them, and if they feel that IR-list can be helpful to them
-- and vice versa. All other subjects and interests came as secondary to
this coordinator (and as his courtesy rather than a commitment). Besides,
he wanted to pay dues to his own dissy-past and that of his friends, and
their memory, and to reflect (not that often, mind you:-) on his own
views of whatever happens in Russia and in the world. And if it is done
by other people, whose style and work he likes, -- he is only happy to
give them his bandwidth. (Even if they are off-the-wall fellas, like
Nalpak, who however disappeared lately; who knows, probably in Chechnya:-).
Recent example -- a brilliant, hardworking and selfless "korr" Alik Suhanov.
And if there is a crisis in Russia -- this coordinator wants to have
all the channels open -- as it happened during both coups in Moscow (and
as is happening now with Chechnya). Why? Because that is where we all
came from, and where most of us still have their families and friends.
The same about Israel -- because Israel is one of the major (along with
the US) countries that absorbed the immigrants from ex-USSR. And because,
yes, Israel is a special place for many of us on this list. If this is an
unusual list (as some point out in their msgs to me), well, the more credit
to it:-). And if somebody doesn't like it -- well, take it or leave it.
(v) Many of you, folks, send this coordinator msgs, which, although not
necessarily unfriendly, have a lot of suggestions as to what YOU want
HIM to do (introduce this new kind of service or that, make sublists,
etc.). For people who try to help him -- gosh, how grateful he is! For
those of you who seek better service for their specific needs: my friends,
with my blessing -- do it YOURSELF. This coordinator is a bit busy the way
it is. Some of you demand his reply -- or else you get angry and demand
a satisfaction. Look, folks, suppose only 5% of you want to suddenly share
with this coordinator your idea as to how you want to arrange his time
and effort; with about 1100 subscribers, it makes 55 msgs for him to
reply to at once. Be reasonable, please. The same if you want to get into
lengthy discussion on ANY subject. Boy, some people try to talk this
coordinator to death, with scholarly postures and infinite followups.
Folks, as anyone of you, he has only 24 hours/day.
That is why, in order to address these situations, there is (for a long
while by now, sigh) this little rule among other 10 Commandments:
(vi) ... If you feel too strongly about something - unsubscribe
and go to another list or START YOUR OWN. Don't lecture this
coordinator how to run this list.
If anyone of you is unhappy for whatever reason, feel free to exercise
your freedom of choice within this rule. On his part, this coordinator
will only be happy to have fewer, but more dedicated subscribers; this
list has a bit outgrew his resources. Who are those subscribers?
All the good people on this list. 230+ of you who got a msg from this
coordinator about "mednyi kolokol", are some of them. In reality, he
doubts that his load will go down substantially. Although it is
getting harder and harder, this coordinator suspects that he got
stuck with you, guys, sigh:-).
My very best.
--Alex Kaplan, INFO-RUSS owner/coordinator
Subject:INFO-RUSS: Yuri Orlov
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alexander Kaplan)
Date: Tue, 21 May 96 20:13:24 EDT
Subject: INFO-RUSS: Yuri Orlov
This is INFO-RUSS broadcast (1200+ subscribers). Home page, information,
and archives: http://psi.ece.jhu.edu/~kaplan/IRUSS/inforuss.html
To post, or to subscribe/unsubscribe, mail to email@example.com
Dr. Yury Orlov
He was a young boy who fought Nazis as one of Russian solders,
millions of whom were thrown into inferno of World War II;
lucky to come back alive
He is a physicist whose contribution into physics of
particle accelerators is recognized internationally
He is a legend among people used to be involved
in dissident movement in the ex-USSR
He was a political prisoner thrown by sov-authorities into a prison
for seven years for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda"
Chapter 70 of sov-criminal code. (Who cared about his
blood being spilled for "mother Russia" in the war...)
His name is well remembered by those in the world who
fought for freeing him from soviet polit-prison
He did his time in prison, 7 years, in full.
Why? Why all 7 years? Not entirely stupid question.
To me, Yury Orlov is a heroic figure somewhat under-recognized
and under-praised in the world and in Russia. Of course, a lot of
people heard about him founding the first Helsinki Watch group in
Russia, about his time in prison, and signed the letters of
protest sent to sov-government; and citation you'll read below
gives one of the reason for his award as "for his outspoken support
of Andrei Sakharov". Here lies a twisted irony of the history
of unsang hero. He was one of the very first people in Russia who
have openly risen their voice against "liberal" approach toward
Stalin's legacy; the year was 1956, and future Peace Nobel Laureat
was busy developing Sov-nukes. Orlov was thrown out from his job
and was lucky to get a job in Yerevan, in the Alikhanyan's Inst. of
Physics (that is where I first met him in 1961, when I was fresh out
of FizTech, of which he was one of the very first alumni in 1953).
Alikhanyan gave a shelter to quite a few good people, let his
soul rest in peace, but of course Yerevan was not in the center
of sov-physics, and who knows, had Orlov been quiet in 1956 and
continuing to work in Moscow, he might've been becoming an
Academician, and in 1968 the world would be overhelmingly amazed
by a sudden transformation of yet another ivory-tower nuke-design
academician into a champion for human rights.
But he had not; he spoke out in 1956.
He came back to Moscow in 1972, when the dissident movement was
winding down under terrible blows from KGB, after a political trial
in which Yakir and Krasin, some of the most outspoken dissident
leaders, under deadly pressure of the experts from Lubyanka,
publicly, on TV, pronounced all the movement anti-soviet, inspired by
"the enemies of the people". He came in when everything smelled of
return of 1937; and he was the one who started the first Helsinki
Of course, he knew what to expect. And of course, KGB did not "upset"
him in these expectations. He was arrested and tried, and a mockery
trial was conducted in May of 1978. As usual, in this "open
to public" trial the only "public" allowed to be in the courtroom
happen to be plainclothes from KGB; and as usual, only a small thinning
crowd of dissidents get together in front of the "people court" in
Lublino in the Moscow outskirts, to cheer him in the split moment
when he was able to see them when he was pulled by KGB people out
of police van.
"Na tyschu akademikov,
na ves' na obrazovannyi,
nashlas' lish eta gorstochka
vsluh vyskazat' chto dumaet
(And of course, today the Unated States are full of
Sov akademikov i chlen-korrespondentov who scream at every corner
off the top of their lungs that they were at the core of new
Russian democracy... "Chem dal'she ot granitsy, tem bol'she
dissidentov", as an old dissy-saying goes.
Strangely enough, also "tem bol'she patriotov".)
Some precursors of new time to come have appeared at this trial:
a big crowd of "workers" from nearby factories that was brought
in by bus-loads, was screaming "Bey zhidov i dissidentov"...;
it was "Pamyat'" in making, long before 1985...
This is the last time I saw him; a year later I left Russia,
as I thought then to never see it again.
1978, when his trial was held, was a brake-their-neck year,
a year of "final solution" by KGB for the dissident movement.
Four political super-trials against people chosen by KGB
as a show-case were held within just three months:
against Orlov (in May in Moscow), Alik Ginzburg (in Tula),
Pyatkus (in Pribaltica), and Scharansky (in July in Moscow).
First three on this list were accused (and convicted, of course)
in crimes described by the Chapter 70 of Sov. criminal code
("Agitation and propaganda against Soviet authority"), whereas
Scharansky was the first dissident (from the Stalin's time) to be
accused in "High Trizon" (Chapter 64, "Izmena Rodine"; the core
of Stalin's infamous Chapter 52). In the past, to keep the dissidents
at bay, this kind of trials were held about once a year, or even
less often... The prison terms were incremental too, to make the
message clear: 7 years -- for Orlov, and 10 -- for Scharansky.
Unfortunately, I don't remember now what happened to Pyatkus
after he was imprisoned; but both Ginzburg and Scharansky were
exchanged for soviet spies in the West in a swap to the extend
similar to the previous swap Vladimir Bukovski -- Louis Karvalan
(remember "Obmenyaly huligana na Louisa Karvalana"?:-), such that
fortunately, they did not do their time in full...
No such luck for Yuri Orlov, who spent seven full years in
sov. prisons... It is not quite easy to point out any specific
reason as to why his fate was different compared to others
(and then again, there were people at the time whose fate was
much worse; Yury Galanskov and Anatoly Marchenko died in sov.
prison...). But still, a possible part of the reason for that was
that there was not enough support generated in the West for him,
even among his fellow physicists and scientists in general.
A lot of them signed letters in support of him, and did a lot of
efforts on individual basis. But I don't remember any major action
undertaken, by the establishment as a whole, for example by National
Academy of Sciences of the USA, to put a pressure on soviet
government, or on the soviet scientific establishment.
There were no mutually beneficial visits stopped, no official
moratorium on cultural and scientific exchange declared, no
fists slammed on the table, and most importantly -- no much
of effort to use the influence of scientific establishment
on the US government...
But anyway, he is remembered and greatly respected. A part of this
growing recognition is the most recent Dwight Nicholson Medal awarded
to him by the American Physical Society.
-- Alex Kaplan, INFO-RUSS owner/coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
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