• Email
  • Print

A Failure of Glasnost?

To the Editors:

On November 8, 1987, the editor of the information bulletin Glasnost, Sergei Grigoryants, and the editorial board of another unofficial human rights publication, Ekspress-Khronika, released a joint statement on the recent harassment of Soviet human rights activists by the KGB. The statement follows.

During the past weeks a complicated situation has arisen in our country. On the one hand, Soviet means of mass information and high-level Soviet administrators tirelessly and repeatedly talk about glasnost, perestroika and democratization, and about the observance of Socialist law. On the other hand, we are certain, based on personal experience, that these processes do not concern those government institutions which we, alas, are required to deal with most often.

The absence this year of political trials has inspired some hope in us for an improvement in the political climate of the country. In the past weeks we have had the chance to become convinced that the climate remains as before. Everything has returned to its place and the attitude of the KGB and the police towards us has not changed.

Here is an example: in Moscow on October 30, the KGB and the police took into illegal preventive detention about forty people who had intended to take part in a peaceful demonstration in defense of political prisoners. Crude physical force was used against Sergei Grigoryants, Andrei Shilkov and Kirill Podrabinek. The State security agencies put a permanent tail on Andrei Krivov, Vsevolod Kaplan, Alexander Podrabinek, Sergei Grigoryants, Nikolai Khramov, and the staff of Glasnost and Ekspress-Khronika.

On November 1, State security agents attacked the Editor of Glasnost, Sergei Grigoryants, and Dmitri Eisner. Their appeal to the police for help produced only one effect: afterwards Eisner was badly beaten once again. On November 7, near the apartment of the journalist Vladimir Pimonov, State security agents attacked the Editor of Ekspress-Khronika, Alexander Podrabinek. The attack was accompanied by anti-Semitic insults and threats to cripple him.

The telephones of Valeria Novodvorskaya, Asya Lashchiver and Igor Tsarkov have been disconnected, and the telephones of the staff members of Glasnost and Ekspress-Khronika are periodically turned off. In Yerevan (Armenia) members of a peaceful ecology demonstration which took place in October have been subjected to persecution, along with members of a culture club in Kiev, members of the Lvov Trust Group, Crimean Tatars from Krasnodar, Uzbekistan and the Crimea, and those who participated in the August demonstrations in the Baltic countries.

Numerous appeals to agencies that protect rights have achieved no results. The methods used by the authors against these people are not only not based on law—they are criminal. Those who commit these crimes should bear legal responsibility for them.

Signed: Editor-in-Chief of Glasnost

Editorial Board of Ekspress-Khronika

Glasnost and Ekspress-Khronika are published by dissidents who previously served prison sentences for publicizing human rights abuse in the Soviet Union. Sergei Grigoryants spent a total of eight years in confinement and the Editor of Ekspress-Khronika, Alexander Podrabinek, almost six years. Petr Starchik and Vladimir Ryabokon, other editors of Ekspress-Khronika, have been incarcerated into mental institutions. Both publications were begun this year in response to the new policy of democratization declared by the Soviet authorities.

Philip Siegelman

Center for Democracy

New York City

  • Email
  • Print