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Project for the Study of Dissidence and Samizdat

By Ann Komaromi

The Electronic Archive “Project for the Study of Dissidence and Samizdat” (PSDS) includes the database of Soviet samizdat periodicals, electronic editions of selected samizdat journals, illustrated timelines of dissident movements, and interviews with activists. The Project aims to make rare materials more widely available and to provoke questions about the trajectories of groups and individuals within the varied field of Soviet dissidence and nonconformist culture.

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Oleg Okhapkin

Interview 1 with Oleg Aleksandrovich Okhapkin

Date: 5 October 2006, 4-5pm.

Place: St. Petersburg, at the home of A. I. Okhapkin.          

Interviewed by Ekaterina Smirnova (“Memorial”)

Transcribed: Alexander Eisman (“Memorial”)

Excerpts translated: Ann Komaromi


(1)       E.S.: Tell me please about your participation in samizdat activity. How did it begin?

            O.O.: I began publishing in Russian samizdat in Moscow, in the journal Popular Assembly (Veche).[1] This was the issue when they forced Solzhenitsyn out of the country and his final publication was there. The editor, Osipov, was arrested then and my first publication in samizdat, of June 20, 1969, was “Easter Time” (Vremia Paskhi) and “After Midnight” (Posle polunochi).  And then in Leningrad a more literary kind of samizdat began, one that was also essayistic. So, for example, the journal Community (Obshchina),[2] the journal of ours that they destroyed: it was a journal in Leningrad, the only journal they actually destroyed, that was Community and I was its copy editor. They didn’t imprison me by some miracle, because I had some international notoriety and they decided not to touch me. But Poresh and Ogorodnikov, my co-editors, were imprisoned, and there were also a lot of other people imprisoned who had some relationship to the journal Community and to the religious-philosophical seminar run by Ogorodnikov. That seminar was in Moscow beginning in 1974. So, well, Ogorodnikov read my poems in Osipov’s Popular Assembly, where I began publishing in samizdat and invited me to be a literary editor in his journal, for his seminar.

            Well, I was called as a witness at both trials, the trial of Poresh and that of Ogorodnikov, and I did my job correctly, according to the concepts of rights-activists, and I refused to give any forced evidence and instead I gave new information. Well, in general they got me for that effort at the trial of Ogorodnikov in Tver, which was Kalinin at the time. They said, “Next we will arrest Okhapkin.” But they didn’t arrest me, and Perestroika started…



[…] [I]t was published in the West, the transcript of Poresh’s trial[3]; but Ogorodnikov’s trial we did not manage to transcribe. They already began to take measures after the trial of Poresh. So, in 1976 – the journal Community came out in 1978 – and in 1976 the movement of nonconformist artists began and by analogy with them there began to appear literary samizdat in Leningrad. So there were quite a few journals: first the journal 37 (Tridtsat’ sem’)[4] came out, and I published there in the second issue…



(2)       […] and then the journal The Clock (Chasy)[5] appeared at that same time: 1976 or 1977, some time in those years. […] and that was the most regular journal, they didn’t touch it, the editors managed to come to some agreement with the “Big House” [6] that they would not cross the line, the line of what was allowed, and they really didn’t cross it; they had something like censorship. I published there, too – I don’t remember in which issues, but over many years.



[…] And in Leningrad there was this characteristic particularity: since people had been frightened by the trials – they had one every year, one after the other, they had them in Moscow, and here… and they shut down samizdat publishing… but here, by contrast, literary samizdat flared up, and they took measures of self-censorship, not to cross the line. The only journal that crossed the line was Community, where I was the copy editor: however much I edited it so they would not arrest us, it did not matter – they took issue with the religious essays.  

            E.S.: And when did these cases start?

            O.O.: They arrested… well, with respect to Community they arrested them in 1978 when the journal came out, the first issue, but it was actually the second, because the first they seized also, although there was no court case. But we doubled it with the second issue, and the second issue managed to be put out. They really had it in for this religious-philosophical seminar: as the Russian-language radio stations said, not other group was as persecuted as this one was.



(3)       E.S.: And so – just these two issues of Community came out and that was it?

            O.O.: Well, no, one issue came out, the second one. The first was seized, and the second was seized, but after its appearance we had made some copies that have been preserved to this day. […]

            So, people behaved not badly, they did well: they were inexperienced, there were mistakes, but they were not rights activists, actually, at the beginning they were not, it was the circumstances that made them into activists. Not simply the religious-philosophical seminar: in general, the youth, and not only the youth, were interested in how to replace the fading ideology of the Soviet Union… they worked in that sphere, to figure out what kind of new ideology Russia and the Soviet Union would inherit. At that time we did not think about the downfall of the Soviet Union, and in general, it was that kind of constructive, positive work that we were doing. It was prosecuted as a conflict with the government, this attempt at a new ideology; they alleged some kind of monarchism there…  They said at the trial of Poresh that we wanted to put Solzhenitsyn on the throne – well, generally speaking, there was a lot of curious stuff.



(4)       In general, I should say that the persecution continued after that: on the eve of Perestroika, under Andropov and under Chernenko, so that for me, for example, they initiated a psychiatric case. They got their revenge, and 22 years I did time in the loony bin, in psychiatric hospitals, although psychiatrists confessed that I had no schizophrenia and no paranoia. To my wife they said that he of course doesn’t have any of that, we don’t find anything, but since he is a religious poet, it is alleged that he has an obsessive religious mania. So that he doubtless has some kind of illness, a third type, unknown to science. In general, they let it be known that I was doing time for nothing.



(5)       Now things are more or less on an even keel. I was accepted into the Union of Writers in 1993, two books came out, and one book came out in Paris, in Goricheva’s publishing house “Beseda,” Tatiana Goricheva’s.[7] That is where Krivulin’s two-volume edition came out, and mine, selected works.  



[…] Many changes, of course, which we did not expect, no one expected: we just thought that everything would continue, we will perish and we need to save the children.

            And to do something constructive for the country, not only in the sphere of literature but in the sphere, as we thought, of a new ideology. We thought that a new ideology should replace the Soviet ideology. Precisely that is what they alleged to be opposition to the government on our part, according to article 70, an attempt to seize power.[8]



(6)       […] Khrushchev had the idea that rights activists, so-called dissidents, all these samizdat-types and tamizdat-types, they have precious ideas, and these precious ideas can be treated as schizophrenia, as paranoia.



[…] The most vibrant literary samizdat in Moscow was Popular Assembly. Everyting began with Syntax (Sintaksis)[9] in Brodsky’s time, but Syntax – that was Ginzburg, and they imprisoned him and they destroyed the edition, although it was entirely inoffensive samizdat, and the Chronicle of Current Events began in 1968.[10]



(7)       E.S.: And how did you become part of a dissident circle?

            O.O.: Well, samizdat, tamizdat, I am a writer, I am a poet. There is something specific about my case since I am a poet with a religious inclination. I participated in religious-philosophical seminars, that of Tatiana Goricheva and Krivulin,[11] and the one led by Ogorodnikov and Poresh – those are the two seminars. That is what is specific about me.



            […] It was not for nothing Andropov […] came up with a third wave of emigration. I remember his articles in the central press: he wrote these are renegades and we need to get rid of them. If they don’t like something in our country, let them leave. But not everyone wanted to leave. One person might go along with it, and another would resist. Like me, for example: I resisted until the end. It wasn’t that I liked living here, but I am a poet and I understood: I am a poet, who needs me in emigration? Ok, so there is tamizdat, but I would be deprived of the possibility to have an effect on my contemporaries in my country. Ok, so they have those same Russian-language radio stations, but that is not much. That is not much, and that is why Solzhenitsyn came back here, precisely for that reason. And even if they had kicked me out, I, generally speaking, would have returned, just like Solzhenitsyn, because a poet’s business, like the business of a doctor, is to be beside the bed of a sick person – that is his duty. Our country, as they themselves say, is sick, it needs to be treated. But they think that you need to treat it with psychiatry, and I think that you need to treat it with literature, philosophy, theology, the movement to defend rights. That is, human rights, observing the laws, legality and law and order.

            E.S.: And those imprisoned for Community – how long were their sentences?

(7-8)    O.O.: Well, the sentences were … Ogorodnikov got 7 years, if I am not mistaken, and Poresh got 6 years. As you know, they sent me to the psychiatric hospital under Chernenko, they got tired of me because I continued publishing samizdat. Community ended, there were others… and my poems stood out like a white raven.



(8)       And now they put out this encyclopedia of Leningrad Samizdat[12], and there I am given space and so are my friends and colleagues in samizdat. Things are told correctly in it.

            E.S.: And did you have some kind of role in the transmission, the distribution of the Chronicle?[13] […]

            O.O.: I did not have any role in that and our seminar with Ogorodnikov and Poresh did not have any relationship to it, but I am saying that there was something principally new, Ogorodnikov undertook it after the destruction of the Chronicle and the rights movement[14], the religious-philosophical seminars took on themselves that function. And they began to work on what would replace the ideology of the country, that is, some kind of constructive thought in the religious sphere. What can we do without religion in such a country, without the Russian idea they have simply nowhere to go because… for us that was obvious.



(9)       […] No one expected that there would be any kind of democratization, that there would be capitalism in the country, that the USSR would fall apart. No one expected that. People thought about how to preserve the government, a socialist system, but with a human face.



            E.S.: At the time you were participating in samizdat activity, where did you work? 

O.O.: I worked, well, like everyone worked – I worked seven years in gas boiler rooms without a break. I worked with no accidents for seven years until psychiatry deemed me unfit to work.

E.S.: And what years were those?

O.O.: In the gas boiler room?

E.S.: Yes.

O.O.: From 1979 until… until they forbade it, until 1986. Now I am sitting at home already for many years, publishing a lot of what I published then in samizdat and tamizdat without any censorship.



            […] strictly speaking, poets were not such rights activists, since we were literary people. But I did sign some documents. For example, Viktor Sosnora and I signed the following: Mustafa Dzhemilev came to ask for freedom for the whole nation of Crimean Tatars – their documents I signed. Those were clearly rights documents, [so in some sense I was a rights activist] because I somehow participated. The rights activists preserved us, the writers: why, so the logic goes, arrest them? The Brodsky case showed them: a poet is first of all a poet. The Gorbanevskaia case showed them: a poet is first of all a poet.



(10)     […] I was looking ahead. We took measures to protect ourselves: not writing articles so they would not arrest us, and writing letters, for example, to send abroad or within the country - letters. So you write an article that looks like a letter and exchange ideas. I wrote such letters to Goricheva, and she published the most striking of them: I wrote that there would be a post-Soviet period, but the most interesting would be what would come after the post-Soviet period. We to this day are still living through the post-Soviet period, after the so-called Soviet space. And the most interesting is yet to come, when Russia will begin to become Russia, an Orthodox power among other Christian powers, democratic, free, with its own hard currency, when Russia will stand firmly on its own legs. We thought about that and personally I thought about that, but we couldn’t… that was in the sphere of futurology, we couldn’t say when exactly. But we knew it would come. And it happened faster than we thought.



(11)     E.S.: Out of all the editions you worked with, which journal turned out to be the most long-lived?

            O.O.: The most long-lived turned out to be the journal The Clock. They took the most measures, in terms of internal censorship. They couldn’t get to them.

            E.S.: How long did it exist?

            O.O.: It was still coming out during Perestroika. Then they closed it: at that time they started to accept us into the Union of Writers in whole groups, to publish us, out books started to appear. However, we still know a lot, for a lot the day has not yet come.











Interview 2 with Oleg Aleksandrovich Okhapkin

Date: 3 March 2007, 2-3pm.

Place: St. Petersburg, at the home of O. A. Okhapkin.

Interviewed by: Ekaterina Smirnova (“Memorial”)

Transcribed: Aleksandr Eisman (“Memorial”)

Excerpts translated: Ann Komaromi


(10-11) E.S.: Tell me, please, what was the process of preparing an issue of a samizdat periodical like? How did that go?

            O.O.: Well, usually the editor of a journal had a typist or he himself typed it on a typewriter. It usually was done in one’s apartment. The first journal to see the light of day in January 1976 was the journal 37. That was in apartment 37 on Lifliandskaia Street,[15] the journal of Krivulin and Goricheva, a religious-philosophical and literary journal. It came out first, and I published in the second issue.[16] I helped, I helped them collect material. Then the journal started to come out regularly, it was a regular journal. Even more regular, from month to month was The Clock, the journal – it came out for a very long time. They had a typist there. They had everything worked out well in terms of finances: they collected funds. They sold the journal for some price in order to cover the costs of publication. That was The Clock – in the second half of 1976 it came out. The editor there was Boris Ivanovich Ivanov and Ostanin, two editors. Everyone read their journal. Samizdat ignited public interest and everyone asked for the issues and passed them on from hand to hand, made more copies. Other journals began to appear slowly, as needed. There was the journal Summa,[17] which surveyed all the samizdat journals. I think that Evdokimov did that, Summa, with Dolinin.[18] The journal Obvodnyi Canal (Obvodnyi kanal)[19] came out in 1978, it seems, or in 1979. In 1979, it was a very good journal, one of the best journals. There were two editors – Sergei Stratanovskii, a poet, and Kirill Butyrin, who worked with the Academy of Sciences.  

(11)     These journals appeared regularly; there was no press, no newspapers, only journals. They usually had a section of criticism, a section for essays and philosophy, religious philosophy, prose, poetry, translations, publications. And then there was this art book, From Falling to Flight [20] – the journal Archive (Arkhiv)[21] is described in it. That was Vadim Nechaev with his wife Mariia Nedrobova who put out Archive. They were kicked out of the country later for Archive. Archive made possible the appearance of this book – The Movement of Independent Art in Saint-Petersburg – Leningrad in the Second Half of the XXth Century.[22] Everyone was together, everyone helped each other. And then these journals started to spring up like mushrooms, there were lots of them, because people saw that there would be no special repression for it.  

            Only one fateful journal, Community, they destroyed. But it had a strong essay section, and that is why they destroyed it. Not for its status as samizdat as such, but because there was a strong reaction to this single journal on the so-called “enemy voices,” on Russian émigré radio. They had constant reports; well, and also because this was Solzhenitsyn’s gourp: they were wiping up all traces of Solzhenitsyn, and here we were propagandizing the ideas of Solzhenitsyn. They did not like that.

            Insofar as people produced journals, samizdat, they didn’t destroy it, they just shut it down, kicked the editors out of the country: some stayed and went on to other journals. They shut down the journal 37 – it turned into the journal The Northern Mail.[23] That journal had two editors: Sergei Dediulin and Viktor Krivulin. Sergei Dediulin left, he lives in Paris. He put out a publication describing the history of The Northern Mail with the most important publications from it and mailed it to me. In 1981 they created “Club-81,”[24] which all the representatives of all the samizdat enterprises joined. A curator from the KGB was assigned – Korshunov, who was in charge of everything, who wanted to legalize it all. They, it must be said, didn’t want to destroy it, they wanted to legalize it: not in order to put it into print, but just to skim off the foam.



(12)     And so Perestroika began around that time, in 1985, and people went in various directions. In general, it turned out they were like deep-water fish thrown up to the surface who exploded. It was like everything is possible, everything is open, there is openness, you can publish. But the problem was a lack of talent: if they did not publish you, people used that to their advantage. But an era began that we called the era of necrophilia: they published Nabokov, Bunin, someone else, Berdiaev, that is, all dead people, and the dead people drowned out the rest: so to say, these are classics, and who are you?

            But they undertook to produce these “cassettes,” several poetic series, that is, thin collections put together under one banner. So Krivulin and I ended up in one such “cassette,” which went forward with practically no editing. They made an effort to accommodate us, the Union of Writers, saying, “Fine, you edit it yourself, we will not impose an editor, so that you can’t say you are being repressed, and so forth.” That was already the time of Glasnost and Perestroika.

            And they started to accept us into the Union of Writers after the appearance of these “cassettes”: Elena Shvarts, Viktor Krivulin, Olga Beshenkovskaia, Dmitrii Bobyshev, Oleg Okhapkin, Viktor Toropov – the translator… In general, they started accepting those who had been historically held back, squeezed out into samizdat.



(12)     Generally speaking, a boom of samizdat authors began, a boom, with the understanding that these authors were held back by Soviet power, and in fact they are talented – they are saying a new word. And so first of all they published an author and offered that author up everywhere: on TV and on the radio, and books came out. And it was a very good time, because they payed for these books: that was still Soviet power, Perestroika, Gorbachev. So I, for example, on the basis of this thin little book, this “cassette,” maintained my family for a whole year: they paid well and the print run was high.  

            And now, when we live in a new era, they have made it so that to put out a book, it will be a limited run and you have to pay for the publication instead of making money on it. There is some kind of violation of social justice there. This labor, it means, is some kind of ungrateful labor. It was always the case in Russia that the labor of the poet, of the writer, was prestigious; and I in fact managed to make a whole living on it. […] [I]n classic capitalism in Russia they paid honorariums, and they were high. Chekhov was able to build himself a dacha in Melikhovo, in Yalta he could build himself a whole house and travel the whole world, and, naturally, honorariums – one could get married, have a family, and so forth, dress well, eat well. And now we are like pariahs, you need a sponsor, so my sponsor is Shevchuk – my fourth book came out, and he provided 1000 dollars for it, that’s 500 copies. They recognized this book as the best in January of 2005, in a Moscow newspaper that describes what is happening in the book market.

            E.S.: What newspaper?

            O.O.: The newspaper… what is it called… Literary Survey (Literaturnoe obozrenie).


            E.S.: And what was the book?

            O.O.: A Prayer for the Cup – these are poems from 1970. That is, we are publishing after the fact what was in samizdat, what we passed from hand to hand. We prepared the collections for the future.



(14)     So that’s how it was, and those of us involved in samizdat in Leningrad stood out (and this is why it had such a flowering) for our high level of discipline, our elevated consciousness, we differed from Moscow in this. In Moscow they destroyed practically all the samizdat – they had almost none. The Moscow samizdat was serious: take Popular Assembly, for example, Solzhenitsyn published in it and I am proud that my first samizdat publication was there. That was 1974 and my debut in Young Leningrad (Molodoi Leningrad)[25] – that was 1970. And in 1972, the editor Kachurin kicked me out for the use of the word soul (dusha). “Soul” was not allowed; but, how does that work? That means poetry is soulless? I don’t understand.  

            E.S.: And “soul” was considered…

            O.O.: … a religious word. I had a reputation as a religious poet, and Kachurin heard about it somewhere… and so draconian measures were applied to me. Others could use the word “soul.” Soviet authors could use the word “soul,” there was a kind of division among us. Generally speaking, they needed to pick on something, as I understand it, and the word “soul” they did not like. “Every one of Okhapkin’s poems is full of ‘soul’,” he yelled. But they got rid of Kachurin later for such excesses: not only with me, apparently, but also with others. They went against the desire of the Soviet authorities to somehow legalize it, so there would be none, so it would not get bigger. But they assigned such people, either the KGB did, I don’t know, or the Union of Writers, or the Oblast Committee, the Department of Culture, assigned people like Kachurin and they ruined it for themselves. Generally speaking, that was the situation.

            So, in fact, we looked at all of this and decided to depart in a friendly way for samizdat: to just wave off the possibility of legal publication. That possibility was never entirely closed off for us, but we left because as we said, we have a second culture, a “second literary reality.” Dovlatov came up with that term. So we [made] this “second literary reality,” a second culture, with the artists… that is the independent art, the independent art of the second half of the twentieth century. It cost us a big struggle but nevertheless it became part of life, and in general, the urgent tasks gave rise to the forms of samizdat, apartment exhibitions; in general, life itself called forth these. Really, it is no secret, Soviet power forbade everything and it ruined itself with all that it forbade. If it had not forbidden, for example, Dubcek in Prague (the “Prague Spring”), not removed Dubcek, it would not have been necessary to have this belated Perestroika, to have a crisis. It would have had everything: they would have won in terms of foreign affairs and domestically, and in international politics. And everyone understood this, and Sakharov understook and for that reason he struggled not for democracy and capitalism, there was none of that – he struggled for “socialism with a human face”. We all struggled for “socialism with a human face,” that is to get rid of the beastly face of socialism, which is ruining everything. Socialism itself is not so bad. We all understood that you don’t need to reform it; you need to “edit” it.



(15)     There were three sections in Community: there was an essay section, which was the section for the religious-philosophical seminar led by Aleksandr Ogorodnikov. They arrested him first, they began with him. And he had practically no relationship to the journal Community. The KGB mixed it all up: Poresh had a realtionship, he practically speaking made the journal, and I did, too – we did it together, and we did it in Leningrad and that is why it came out unexpectedly. Because Lubianka, the Big House, they were looking for it in Moscow. Ogorodnikov is a Muscovite and Moscow was connected with the journal Popular Assembly – this was like the successor to Popular Assembly. Popular Assembly was destroyed, they destroyed it. Why was our issue considered the second? The first got caught in Moscow. Ogorodnikov was lying in the hospital, keeping this journal under his pillow; well, and they took him and they were warned that this journal would come out if they weren’t careful.



            E.S.: Did the editors of samizdat journals do some kind of selection of materials?

(14-15) O.O.: They did, there was a selection. The journals had their directions. Obvodnyi Canal – that was generally poetry, culture, the Russian idea. The journal 37 was oriented to the avant-garde… and there was that direction. The journal The Clock was oriented to being a survey type of periodical, surveying generally everything going on in samizdat. The journal Community was a religious-philosophical journal, but it was not required, not required that the materials would be only of a religious tendency if we saw that a person was talented. The function of samizdat was wider, it did not have such specificity to mean that if you have a religious journal like Community, then it publishes only the religious. Basically – yes, but not only that. If we saw that a person was talented, it meant we would promote that person. The spirit of freedom decided everything. It was that freedom that society was breathing. Why was this a public event? Because everyone felt it. I stepped forth there as a religious author – well, I write not only religious works; in general I am a poet. Every journal had its own face, its own literary politics, its own, I would even say a “cult of taste” (vkusovshchina). It was not a good phenomenon: everything depended on the taste of the editor, like on the taste of Soviet editors – someone they would publish, another person – not publish. I don’t like that author, and that’s it… A journal had its own face, its own politics, its own circle of authors – it was not as if all that was not published officially, send it over here, and we will publish it.

(15)     No, there was a selection, a selection, the journal’s own face. They made offers: Boris Ivanovich Ivanov at the journal The Clock made me an offer after the destruction of Community – since they destroyed it, well, Oleg, if you want, come over to us. Not as an editor, but as an author. And I crossed over, in fact, immediately to several journals: Obvodnyi Canal, The Clock, The Northern Mail. So I was not without opportunities to publish. And, what’s more, everyone understood: today that got this one – tomorrow it’s us. We needed to stand together for a united front. And if someone was in trouble, there was support.



(16)     […] I already had a public profile. Why did Popular Assembly invite me immediately with this idea: there are such specific poems there – “Easter Time.” Who wrote that way? Almost no one was writing on that theme, and I was religious from childhood: that is my path; I had such poems. It was, as they say, in demand. Everything led to the situation where people like me were needed. And other people began to appear with that kind of orientation. If I influenced Brodsky, influenced his religious consciousness with my poems… and that’s a fact: the poem “Nunc Dimitis” (Sreten’e) he wrote in general based on my words. He said, “For that question go to Oleg, because he is religious from childhood, he knows all of that.”

            E.S.: How did you acquire faith?

            O.O.: I am religious from childhood: that is my family. The adults – they did not participate in any social movement – my parents, my teachers, those who taught me… but I already participated because by that time, when I was grown, the era demanded it and my religiosity turned out to be socially significant; and until then, while I was in school, it was not socially significant. At school people knew that we had a religious family and they pretended not to notice: just don’t wear a cross for physical education – and that was it, that was the extent of it. Faith was considered a historically atavistic phenomenon.



(16-17) Well, generally speaking, samizdat had its own literary politics – to promote authors. That’s how they promoted a whole pleiade of brilliant poets, who were among the best poets of Leningrad. Muscovites also published with us, it became prestigious for Muscovites to publish in Leningrad. And that’s how it went, gradually, Leningrad, the future Saint Petersburg, became a cultural capital where the question was decided what made an author. Is that author worth something, does that author have any substance or not: the author’s rating, estehtic value, social value.



(17)     In general it did not matter whom they destroyed, because another sprang up in his wake. They destroyed the dissident movement – there appeared a religious-philosophical movement. And in fact, it was the same as the dissident movement, but they said a new word. Everything led to the point where we do not depart into the religious sphere, we inform society that the most important problems and tasks to which we have come are after all religiously social problems: that’s how it was at the beginning of the century when religious society, the philosophy of Berdiaev, Bulgakov and Florensky existed.



[…]     Personally I always said, “If you become part of a social movement, you should keep yourself from things others may allow themselves – drunkenness, degeneracy, so that they have nothing to pin to you, so that there will be morality, self-censorship, discipline, self-discipline. You should be a hero of your time, and if you don’t have that in you, you are only going to do harm to everyone, because you are a homosexual, for example, well – that’s a person it is easy for them to get.



(18)     In general, there already existed a religious society: basically in Moscow, they called “Slavophile” (Slavianofil’skaia); well, in fact, it was not Slavophile, simply religious. But it needed a new word, which Community pronounced. That is why it was destroyed. The social face of Community was destroyed because they understood that this was a dissident journal. In general the dissident movement was practically destroyed by the time of the flowering of samizdat in Leningrad.




[1] Veche, No. 1-10, 1971-74, ed. V. N. Osipov, Aleksandrov, samizdat.

[2] Obshchina, the only surviving issue – No. 2, 1978, Moscow-Leningrad, samizdat. Editors – Aleksandr Ogorodnikov, Vladimir Poresh, Oleg Okhapkin.

[3] See “From the Transcript of the Trial of Vladimir Poresh,” Religion in Communist Lands 10 no. 3 (1982): 344-50.

[4] 37, No. 1-21, 1976-81, Leningrad, samizdat.

[5] The Clock, No. 1-80, 1976-1990, Leningrad, samizdat.

[6] KGB or the KGB Regional Office for Leningrad and the Leningrad district.

[7] O. Okhapkin, Stikhi, Leningrad, Paris: Beseda, 1989.

[8] Article 70 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was introduced in 1961, replacing the old article 58-10 for “anti-Soviet agitation.”  

[9] Sintaksis, No. 1-3, 1959-60, ed. Aleksandr Ginzburg, samizdat.

[10] The Human rights bulletin Khronika tekushchikh sobytii, No. 1-65, 1968-83, Moscow, samizdat.

[11] Apart from the seminar of Poresh and Ogorodnikov, there was a religious-philosophical seminar let by Tatiana Goricheva with the participation of Viktor Krivulin and others from 1974 to 1980. See information in the book by V. E. Dolinin, B. I. Ivanon, B. V. Ostanin, D. Ia. Severiukhin, Samizdat Leningrada. 1950-e – 1980-e. Literaturnaia entsiklopediia, ed. D. Ia. Severiukhin, Moscow: NLO, 2003, 445-46.

[12] Samizdat Leningrada, op. cit.

[13] Khronika tekushchikh sobytii, op. cit.

[14] The KGB’s Case no. 24 against the Chronicle resulted in the cessation of the Moscow bulletin for about a year and a half between 1972 and 1974. After that, however, the bulletin again began to appear regularly and the movement of rights activists continued to develop and grow until 1980 and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, after which a new level of repression began.

[15] The actual address was Kurliandskaia Street, No. 20, Apt. 37.

[16] O. Okhapkin, “Sem’ stikhotvorenii iz sbornika Molenie o chashe,” 37, No. 2, 1976.

[17] Summa, No. 1-7/8, 1979-82, ed. Sergei Maslov, Leningrad, samizdat.

[18] Rostislav Evdokimov and Viacheslav Dolinin edited a different samizdat edition, the Information Bulletin of SMOT (samizdat) in 1980-81. Samizdat Leningrada, op. cit., 187.

[19] Obvodnyi kanal: Literaturno-kriticheskii zhurnal, No. 1-19, 1981-93, Leningrad, samizdat.

[20] The book is: Iz padeniia v polet. Nezavisimoe iskusstvo Sankt-Peterburga. Vtoraia polovina XX veka . SPb: Muzei nonkonformistskogo iskusstva, 2006.

[21] Arkhiv, No. 1-5, 1976-78, Leningrad-Moscow, samizdat.

[22] Iz padeniia v polet, op. cit.

[23] Severnaia pochta, No. 1-8, 1979-81, Leningrad, samizdat.

[24] Club-81 (1981-88) was the first and the only independent association in Leningrad to receive official recognition. See “Club-81,” Samizdat Leningrada, op. cit., 415-16.

[25] An officially published collection.