An account of DINA BEILIN’s interrogations
by DINA BEILIN
During her years of “refusal” (1971-1978) Dina Beilin was an active fighter for Soviet Jews’ right to emigrate. She repatriated to Israel in 1978 and is residing in Jerusalem. In 1973 Dina gave evidence in the case of Gelikh, Myasoyedova and Galperina. Gelikh, an old man of 73, who had previously served an over ten-year-long sentence in prison camps, compiled, using available to general public sources of information – newspapers, magazines and industrial periodicals – a survey of the economical situation in the USSR which led to an inevitable conclusion that the USSR was deemed to collapse economically and suffer a breakdown in the aftermath. A part of this survey was smuggled to the West, and Dina Beilin, Tamara Galperin and Alla Myasoyedova were suspected of having had a hand in the smuggling. It should be noted that the KGB seemed to be trying to trump up a case against the aliya activists under the pretext of their participation in the dissident movement. It looks that they failed to come up with anything, for the summons for the interrogations stopped coming and the authorities seemed to have forgotten about the case altogether.
After every investigation Dina wrote down its contents from memory. The present account was printed in a samizdat collection “A Witness For His Own Case” (“Svidetel po sobstvennomu delu”), which was published by ”Posev” publishers in the series “Volnoye Slovo. Samizdat. Izbrannoye” (“Free Word. Samizdat. Selected Works”) in 1974.
Investigator – Galkin V.K.
First investigation on November 15, 1973.
He: Last name, name and patronymic?
I: Beilin Dina Kusielevna.
He: Does your husband work?
I: If my husband works – it is not pertinent to the case.
He: Are you going to answer according to Yesenin-Volpin (that’s your acquaintance in the matters of emigration?)?
I: Who’s this Yesenin-Volpin?
He: He has compiled a pamphlet.
I: Is it an official document? Let me see it.
He: No, it’s unofficial.
I: What case is this?
He: “The case of confiscated malicious anti-Soviet materials, their copying and circulating”.
I: The number of the dossier?
He: This is current information. Numbers change.
I want to tell you, to make you see it, that we know a lot and we don’t want to make it “a case”. Though we can already do it. People have been caught at acts and we treat them as witnesses. We want to know if the material has slipped abroad. If not, no jail sentences. If yes, there won’t be any getting away with it.
I: I know, I will sit behind bars in Lefortovo’s basements.
He: I didn’t say this, it’s a vicious distortion. I said that all those involved will sit behind bars.
I: You have just said “all those involved”. But what do I have to do with this?
He: You did not make or copy those materials, but it was through your hands that the materials crossed the border. If this is confirmed, await hard times. For example, if foreign media publish them or announce that they have them.
I: Got it. Stick to the point.
He: Do you have a good command of the Russian language and do you understand the exact meaning of my questions?
I: Enough to understand you and to answer you.
He: I will write it down. Do you know Myasoyedova?
I: Yes, I am acquainted with her.
He: Have you ever visited her at her home?
He: Where did you meet her? At the Galperins’, in their home? Under what circumstances?
I: I was at her place when Myasoyedova came to see her.
He: What for?
I: Ask them.
He: Where did you see Myasoyedova?
I: At home, in the street, at the Galperins’.
He: Do you know Gelikh?
I: What do you mean when you say “know”?
He: Are you acquainted with him? What are your relations with him?
He: Where did you see him?
I: At Galperina’s.
He: How do you know that he is Gelikh?
I: Somebody mentioned his name, I don’t remember who. They were talking of his trying to leave the country and having some difficulties with that.
He: Has he ever come to your home?
He: Where does Gelikh live?
I: I don’t know.
He: Do you know anything about this case? I thought you were smart enough to come to me on your own accord. You don’t see that we don’t want to start a lawsuit. But we know that you’ve drawn Myasoyedova into this business. She’s influenced by you.
I: Who are “we”?
He: It’s evident who you are.
I: Explain yourself.
He is silent.
I: I don’t know anything about this case. But I can’t believe that you don’t intend to blow it up.
I: I have experience. You have never met me before, you don’t know anything, but you impose your version on everyone. Your opinion is evidently biased.
He: You are mistaken. I do have some notion of the subject. I want to warn you that at present I am not the only person who is in the know. As a lawyer, I can only know the political and social aspects of Gelikh’s paper. But there are competent bodies that understand the economical and the technological aspects as well. The paper contains many tables. They may be secret ones. In that case, this falls under Article 64 and not Article 70.
I: I would like to note that this has nothing to do with me as a witness.
He: Right. But I was primed about you and you were described to me as a clever and highly communicative person. I’d like to talk with you. I know that Myasoyedova is under your influence.
I: Under the influence of “the Zionists from whom she gets small hand-outs”.
He: I did not say that.
I: You did.
He: May be, but she is digging her heels in and going into hysterics, at your advice. Tell her that this will harm her.
I: You seem to take great care of us, but it’s only a fake concern.
I: You have driven her to such a state that she lies down for hours at my place completely exhausted, doesn’t eat or drink.
He: We will go on interrogating her, as well as you, and Gelikh, and Galperina, and Myasoyedov’s mother.
Let her know.
I: We’re digressing from the topic. Do you have more questions?
He: No, but Gelikh will be here now. He says something else. We’ll sort it out and tomorrow you will come back to us. There’s another question, though. When did you last see Myasoyedova?
I: In the subway.
He: What station?
He: And then?
I: I went on my own business and she walked me to Universitet subway station.
He: What did you talk about?
I: What do women talk about?
He: I see. Think of yourself. You have a family.
I: You are already taking care of us. Why do I have to think? You have done the thinking for me.
He: You think we are not treating you well?
I: Time alone will tell. If you really have a fair understanding of the case, you can’t do me any harm. If it’s all cooked up and you have orders to put me behind bars, you’ll do it. But you won’t convince me that I have done something illegal.
He: Times have changed. You know that nobody is imprisoned without any reason these days. Moreover, we release those who should be kept in jail.
I: I have no information on who was imprisoned and who was released, but I see from my own experience that I am being intimidated with an involvement in a case of which I don’t have the slightest notion. I have been ready to this from the day when I applied to leave.
He: Do you want to say that this case is linked to your desire to leave the country? This is wrong. You had access to classified information, as I have found out, and that is the only reason for not letting you go.
I: This is not true, either, like everything else, but this in not pertinent to the case.
He: Don’t think that this is because you want to emigrate.
I: I do think so, and I also think that you will make up something else if this plan fails.
He: No, no way.
Second interrogation, November 16, 14.30 – 16.30p.m.
Argument over the decree for starting a legal action (he showed it to me “as a favor” when I refused to cooperate with the interrogation) – “Writ of starting preliminary investigation on case 396 ‘Confiscated anti-Soviet materials, their copying and circulation’ (he covered the date and something else with a sheet of paper). Decreed : by Galkin, received for execution : by Galkin.”
He: Why are you insisting on seeing the writ?
I: Because coming to you isn’t a piece of cake, it’s a very unpleasant thing to do. But maybe there’s no lawsuit and you summon me here for no special reason?
He: You have new advisors?
I: Simple common sense is my advisor.
Argument over the investigation record – why it does not include the title of the case.
He: The title does not have to be there, it is not required by the Criminal Procedure Code.
I: Let me see it.
He: I’m not duty-bound to do it.
I: I refuse to give evidence.
He: I’ll show it to you as a favor.
(We study the Criminal Procedure Code and the commentary to it for thirty minutes, but find nothing).
I: OK, you don’t mind if I add the title to the record?
He: I do not allow it. Why are you so aggressive? And nervous?
I: You are just imagining it. I have analyzed the yesterday’s interrogation and realized that this is a serious business and a very unpleasant one. I am trying to make sense of it.
He: I see. Shall we get back to the investigation protocol?
He: Yesterday you seemed to me a very clever and communicative person, but today you are upsetting me.
I say nothing.
He (the first question on the protocol): Did you know that anti-Soviet materials were being made and kept at Gelikh’s apartment in Moscow?
I: I did not know it.
He: Note that all you say will be later proved and refuted by our information and the evidence given by your acquaintance Gelikh.
I: He isn’t my acquaintance.
He: You follow every word I say too closely, it’s impossible.
I look at my watch.
He: Are you pressed for time?
I: This is of no importance.
He: How is you mother, she didn’t get afraid?
I: What does it matter?
He: A lot of people came yesterday? I see you held council.
I: You know it better how many people there were there.
I: There are your people there.
He: It can’t be so.
I: This is also unimportant, let’s get back to the protocol.
He (question from the protocol): Did you know that Myasoyedov-father’s apartment, where Myasoyedova Alla Aleksandrovna lives, was used for keeping films?
He: Aha, you’ve started being cussed.
I: This is true and I will always say that.
He: We are through with the protocol questions. Now you can write down your special supplement.
I: I am writing it. It’s the title.
He: I‘d like to talk to you off the record. About ten minutes, with your permission? I want to explain this case to you, because you are mistaken.
1. We don’t want a trial, for the Soviet state will not feel happy about putting an old man and a woman – Myasoyedova – behind bars. We can do it even now. But we are not doing it. We are a humane country.
2. Our goal is to stop spreading these materials abroad. Let the old man write whatever he wants to, he is an anti-Soviet dissident and doesn’t bother to hide it. And yes, we are sure that you know very well where the films are. We failed to intercept the whole lot from Myasoyedova when it was still possible: two thirds have slipped away through you (this is off record, so don’t protest). I am just telling you that we know everything.
3. As soon as we get the rest I will close the case, I can do it as the investigator and I promise. Word of honor. But may be the films do not exist? This is also good. You have destroyed them – that’s fine. Tell me.
4. Otherwise: if we find them here or abroad – too bad. If we prove their existence – too bad. We have got everything to do it. This will mean – I am not trying to frighten you – a hard time for you.
5. If you confess – you will be allowed to emigrate and I will let Myasoyedova off the hook.
6. Come on Monday. I think that you are the smartest one there and that your influence will be beneficial.
If not – we will have to torture them again.
He: No, it’s a slip of the tongue.
Besides, we can play it like this: Gelikh has appealed to the newspapers to help dismiss the case. We will publish excerpts from his paper and the whole world will know that we are right. Besides, experts are now ascertaining the secrecy of the materials, so put an end to it while this is still possible.
Third interrogation, Monday, November 19.
He: How was your day off? Do you feel rested and in high spirits?
I: I’m fine.
He: We are pressed for time and we only have two questions for you. You‘ve brought Criminal Procedure Code with you? Are you studying it? Good. A question from the protocol: Where and when did you meet Galperina T.G. and in what relations are you with her?
I: I would like to ask you how this question is related to the case of “Confiscating anti-Soviet…”?
At this point Galkin said:
You see, Galperina is related to the case for one reason at least: on Thursday she had a mishap. Do you know this?
I: I have some general notion.
He: The police confiscated a certain material from her.
I: And added it to the file?
He: We are examining this material. It could be a secret one, God forbid.
I: But you can easily make it one, since it hasn’t been described yet?
He: Yes, it has. How many pages and the title.
I: And you will thrust Gelikh’s papers inside?
He: Oh no, when everything is clarified you will see that we can be trusted.
I: I wish I could see it, but for the time being I can’t believe in your impartiality. Your words are at odds with your deeds.
He: Why do you think so?
I: Now I know why you are having me shadowed. Tomorrow you will seize me in the street, take away the Criminal Procedure Code and thrust the films into my hand.
He: Oh, come off it, did we thrust it on her? She was carrying it herself.
I: I don’t know and I won’t believe you till you return it to her, with an apology.
He: I am not obliged to tell you how a question is related to the case; I am in charge of the questions.
I: I find it strange that I am to give evidence about a witness. I have not found it in the Criminal Procedure Code.
He: Are you intending to argue and dawdle? Will you give evidence?
I: Yes I will. My answer is: ”In my opinion, no questions should be asked regarding witnesses in a case. I find this question not pertinent to the case”.
He: OK. Next question: In what relations to each other are Gelikh, Galperina and Myasoyedova?
I: I can tell you in what relations Gelikh and Myasoyedova are with me, but with Galperina? It’s neither pertinent to the case nor is it within my knowledge. And I am not obliged to give evidence about a witness.
He: This is wrong, you are being uncooperative. I will write down your answer. The answer is: “In my opinion, this question about the witnesses’ private lives is not pertinent to the case”. Notice that you are, in fact, refusing to give evidence.
I: I think that I can not add anything new to what I have already told at the previous interrogations.
He: Ah, so you do know something concerning this case?
I: I know nothing concerning the case. I answered your questions about the witnesses – Myasoyedova and Gelikh. It looks like I am doing the right thing when I am not answering your questions about Galperina, for you may say that I know something else concerning the case.
He: OK. Sign the examination record.
I: I want to add why I am answering like that, otherwise you may bring an action against me for refusal to give evidence.
He: You can do it, but first tell me what you want to add.
I: Do I have to?
He: Yes, because the examination record is not a place for writing all sorts of rubbish and things that have nothing to do with the case.
I: OK. I want to write down “In my opinion, I am being asked questions about witnesses which I do not have to answer” – I have written this in the record.
He: Write it.
I: That’s not all.
He: What else?
I: “Investigator Galkin calls me a witness, but in fact he is telling me at two interrogations that he suspects me of committing a crime of smuggling anti-Soviet materials out of the country”.
He: I will not allow to you to write this. It is not pertinent to the case.
I: But you want to bring an action against me for refusing to give evidence, so I want to explain why I am not giving this kind of evidence.
He: You’re just trying to fall out with me. I told it to you in a private conversation, but you want to write it down. So don’t sign the record. Just know that I will summon you many times. And if I prove that you did smuggle it out, it will be fine. If not – you will be lucky. But I think I’ll prove it.
I: I see, good bye.
(Galkin did not allow me to write that I was suspected; he said I could file a complaint to the Prosecutor).
Fourth interrogation, December 6. (They came to fetch me on December 4, but I was ill). From 11a.m. to 16p.m.
An argument as to whether I have to sign the title-page of the examination record at the start or at the end.
I: If I find out that I don’t have to, I won’t trust you anymore.
He: Yes, I know you have lawyers. I know everything.
I: So do I have to or do I not?
He: Yes, this page is to be signed separately.
I: If this is not so I won’t sign next time.
An argument about surveillance. I stated that I had noticed that I was being shadowed since October 2-3 and that I saw it as a means of pressurizing me. Besides, surveillance could lead to any kind of provocations.
I warned him that I was going to complain.
He: You are mistaken, you are not being shadowed, you are a punctual witness, you always appear.
I: I will file a complaint, and then let them figure it out. I have witnesses.
An argument over the complaint to the Prosecutor.
He: An unjust complaint.
I: I will discuss it with the Prosecutor.
My remark: I don’t like it when the investigator embarks on long monologues during interrogations and does not let me interrupt him when what he is saying is an obvious lie or a statement of “as you know” kind.
He: So what, it won’t be recorded.
I: And then you will say that I agreed with you on everything?
He: But it’s not written down anywhere.
I: And the tape recorder?
He (laughing): Where is the tape recorder?
I: You have it.
He: There is no tape recorder here.
Argument concerning a young man in an army uniform who was sitting in the room.
I: I don’t want to give evidence in his presence.
He: This is his work place.
I: I don’t know. What if he will afterwards witness against me? Enter his name into the record.
He: You’re killing me with your hair-splitting. Tolya, go away.
Demonstration of Gelikh’s materials. A lot of thick notebooks, old and yellow.
He: We only found about sixty such notebooks at his place. They deal with issues concerning economy, politics, economical development, sociology, philosophy.
He: What’s so funny about it?
I: What is Gelikh’s specialty?
He: Oil chemistry.
I: But he writes on all fields of knowledge? Does he write on medicine?
I: Thank God, one field less. Do you seriously think that a 73-year-old retired man, a specialist in this narrow field, can comprehend such wide scope of knowledge?
He: Gelikh claims that only academicians (highest rank scientists) will be able to understand him.
I: Here you are, you are making fun of him. It plays into your hands to make a mountain out of a mole-hill.
He: But this is anti-Soviet trash.
I: You know better.
He: Shall I show you the films?
I: What for?
He: Look at the quality. This is what you handed on to somebody and it crossed the border with your help.
I: Again “You handed on”? I am once more declaring that I did not hand on anything and know nothing of the matter.
He: You handed it on, I think, to some foreigners who are after any kind of anti-Soviet stuff. Maybe you did not do it by yourself, you might have asked somebody from your surroundings to do it.
I: You don’t understand anything about the lives of those who are trying to emigrate.
He: I’ve already heard from the democrats that Zionists stay away from anti-Soviet doings. They have a grudge against you.
I: Those who want to leave are up to their ears in their own business, it’s only by chance that we are here.
He: But maybe you volunteered to help without realizing what it really involved?
I: Are you coming back to the same old rubbish? Enough of it. Prove your case or stop groundless allegations.
He: In due time. But we will go on working with you for a long time. And you won’t go to Israel.
I: That’s your business.
He: I won’t send for you, you will telephone me.
I: I will, if you have my phone connected.
He: We didn’t disconnect your phone.
I: But why did it have to be on the second?
(2 October 1973 was the day of searches at A.I. Gelikh’s and A.A. Myasoyedova’s flats – editor’s note)
He: A coincidence. Shall I send a car for you?
I: Doesn’t matter.
He: How is your mother?
I: She’s got used to it. But let your man come without the films, for we don’t keep track of what he’s doing. He may slip them into my daughter’s felt boot.
He: Who are you taking us for?
I: For who you are.
He: What grounds do you have?
I: My own case, for example. Or Feldman’s case in Kiev. (Discussion).
(Alexander Dmitrievich Feldman was condemned to a three-year imprisonment term in a strict-regime prison camp on November 23, 1973. Editor’s note)
He: Don’t be scared, we are conducting a decent investigation.
I: I have nothing to fear. It’s you who have to be scared.
He: What do I have to be afraid of?
I: The whole world will get another proof of your organization’s real face. You are fighting with a demented old man and trying to make a spy out of him.
He: He isn’t a spy. I thought so at the beginning because there were a lot of tables there. Shall I show it to you?
I: No need, I don’t understand these things.
He: Aren’t you a chemist?
I: No, my field is applied mathematics.
He: You are criticizing us, but Gelikh said that in 1937 he would have been shot at once.
I: Are you proud of that? That you don’t shoot a 74-year old man?
He: You have misunderstood me.
I: At one of the interrogations you said:”If I prove your guilt – it will be fine, if not – you will be lucky.” This is the motto of your investigation. You are happy to put somebody behind the bars.
He: I didn’t say that. You are catching me in a word.
I: Play back your tapes.
He: I’ve run myself into the ground with you and by mistake arranged a confrontation for you.
I: With whom?
He: With Gelikh.
I: I didn’t see anybody here.
He: Not here, in the waiting room, while you were waiting.
I: I didn’t wait there. Neither did I see anybody.
He: He was sitting next to you.
I: Once you don’t believe me that I’m being shadowed and tell me I’m imagining those people, next time you tell me that Gelikh was sitting next to me. I don’t know him. Maybe you are right. So what? Let’s stick to the protocol.
First question from the protocol:
He: Do you know Gelikh’s relatives?
I: No, I don’t.
Second question from the protocol:
He: Do you know Gelikh’s nephew – Nudelman Vladimir Sergeyevich?
I: I don’t know him.
Third question from the protocol:
He: Has [Gelikh’s] nephew Nudelman visited you?
I: No, he hasn’t.
Question: Do you know Gelikh’s son?
He: But he said…
He: Yes, he is in Israel.
Fourth question from the protocol:
He: Do you know that anti-Soviet materials were confiscated in the course of a search of Nudelman’s apartment in Sverdlovsk on November 29?
I: No, I don’t.
Our lawsuit was closed in the same strange way as it had started. They just stopped summoning us for interrogations – and that’s all. A friend from overseas said that Senator Javetz had interfered. We are grateful to him. Later, after several years, I have understood the essence of this case much better than at that time, in 1973. Because in the Gelih’s case a shadow of Sanya Lipavsky flickered – the same Sanya Lipavsky who almost five years later played a sinister role at Sharansky’s trial.
It seems that KGB was preparing a case of transferring of classified information abroad through refuseniks. This case was being prepared against approval of the Jackson’s amendment by the US Congress. However, it is impossible to frame such a case several times, and because Soviets saw that the amendment was going to be easily approved in spite of all efforts of the Soviet diplomats abroad, and of other methods of influence upon the West public opinion, they decided to save up a “case of refuseniks spying” (coupled with Lipavsky) for another opportunity, and the Sharansky’s case became such an opportunity.
Gelih was sitting whole days and nights in the Lenin library, reviewing an economic situation of the USSR on base of “open” sources of information. Results of his studies showed unequivocally imminence of the country's economy collapse and subsequent disintegration of the USSR. His son Victor decided to emigrate to Israel but at the beginning was refused of exit visa. He started, through his acquaintances, including refuseniks, to find a way to transfer results of his father’s labor to the West. Among persons he applied to, turned out Sanya Lipavsky, good natured and smiling, neatly dressed, polite young man. The same Sanya which will be a main witness for prosecution at the Sharansky’s trial. However, at that time he was a friend of Tamara Galperin who met her, according to him, to get information about possibilities to emigrate from the USSR. He was telling later that he got refused of exit visa as all of us. It was he who made photographs of the Gelih’s manuscript. Gelih’s son Victor had managed eventually to get an exit visa and left for Israel, but his wife Alla Myasoyedova had to stay because of her old parents. Lipavsky, who met Alla through Tamara Galperina, offered to Alla his service to photograph Gelih’s papers.