... The KGB began to rapidly return to the political arena. The recent events in the USSR have shown that the struggle is not over at all, that, most likely, it is ahead. And I remembered the original purpose of the book: to share experience with those who might still be face to face with the State Security Committee [ed. now FSB]. He remembered and quickly, in a few days, finished the work that he had been dragging on for years.
Jerusalem, February 1991
... Eleven days ago, the fourth of March, one thousand nine hundred and seventy
Seventh year, the newspaper Izvestia published an article by Lipavsky and an editorial afterword to her, accusing me and several more activists of espionage against the USSR on the instructions of the CIA. Friends came to console, and in fact - and say goodbye; correspondents - to take the last interview. Deep down everyone understood that arrest was only a matter of time. They spoke to me in the same way that they must speak to the incurably ill, convincing both him and themselves that everything would be fine ...
Camera in Lefrtovo
At the turn of the car skidded. My right hand involuntarily twitched, and the KGB man instantly, with professional rigidity, squeezed her wrist and returned to his knee. I have long known this lean blonde with a simple Russian face: he had been following me for several years. Always smiling - such, by the way, are rarely found among the "tails" - this time he was gloomy and noticeably nervous. The one sitting in front asked for instructions on the radio: drive through the center or along Yauza. I said to myself: “Look carefully, maybe you see Moscow for the last time,” and tried to capture in memory the streets along which we passed. Nothing came of it; afterwards I still could not remember how we drove - through the center or along the river.
When the car stopped at the entrance to the courtyard of the Lefortovo Prison and the heavy iron gates — the first of the two that never opened at the same time — began to slowly move apart, I suddenly had a ridiculous thing, and for the situation I was in, simply idiotic fear: now make me breathe into the phone and find out I'm drunk. You would think that I was accused of breaking the rules of the movement, and not of treason against the motherland! An hour ago, I actually drank a glass of brandy - a considerable dose for myself: as a rule, I do not drink anything stronger than light, dry wine. The reason for this was truly exceptional.
In Lefortovo, they enter me into some office, and I see a kindly, smiling, elderly man with glasses rise up from the table.
“Lieutenant Colonel Galkin, deputy head of the investigative department of the KGB office in Moscow and the Moscow region,” he said, and then softly and even, it seems to me, speaks a little embarrassed while drawing out some kind of paper:
- Here, we will work with you together.
I read: the decision to arrest "on suspicion of committing a crime under article sixty-four - treason: assisting a foreign state in carrying out hostile activities against the USSR".
- How does it go with you? Eat Russian bread, get education at the expense of the Russian people, and then change your motherland? I am for you, for your entire nation, fought for four years at the front!
Well, thanks to citizen Petrenko. His last words finally brought me back to reality, once again reminded who I am dealing with. Now I have spoken completely calmly.
- My father also fought at the front for four years. Maybe he did it for your son and for your nation?
- I wonder where your father fought?
- In artillery.
- In artillery ?! - he seemed genuinely surprised. - I also served in artillery, but I did not see people like your father. And on what fronts did he fight on?
I almost laughed, suddenly remembering O'Henry’s story about a thief who had made friends on the basis of common diseases with the landlord in which he had climbed.
... The Colonel took off his mask: he was natural both in his anti-Semitism and in the veteran’s understandable desire to talk about the war. But I no longer wanted to talk to him. I preferred to restore the old distance between us and said:
- In my opinion, we have nothing to talk about.
- Oh, and do not want to talk! Very clever! Well, talk to your father when he comes to me. And you remember: just that - in the punishment cell!
“We will meet again at the interrogation,” he said goodbye in a tone that he comforted a friend with, promising him that the separation would be short.
On the eighteenth of March, systematic interrogations begin - two or three times a week. So, "informed the international community about ...", attracted the attention of "to" ... - in what ways?
After a brief reflection, complying with my “tree of ends and means,” I answer something like this:
- He organized press conferences, met with correspondents, political and public figures of the West, talked to them by phone, and also sent letters to the relevant Soviet authorities. All this was done openly, publicly. The materials transmitted by me were intended solely for open use - by its very meaning.
- Who together with you participated in this activity?
- I refuse to answer, because I don’t want to help the KGB in preparing a criminal case against other Jewish activists and other dissidents who, like me, have not committed any crimes!
Calls for the release of Anatoly Sharansky
On February 10, Solonchenko in the presence of Volodin, Ilyukhin and Cherny charged me in final form. If the first one I was introduced to at the beginning of the investigation consisted of several lines, then the current text was sixteen typewritten pages. It has also changed qualitatively: I was now twice a traitor to the Motherland - “in the form of helping foreign states in conducting hostile activities against the USSR” and “in the form of espionage” —and once — an anti-Soviet, “engaged in campaigning and propaganda, authorities".
A few more weeks passed, and one morning Volodin, Ilyukhin and a large, brightly made-up brunette, about forty, entered the office of Solonchenko, smiling festively.
“And here is your lawyer to help you, Anatoly Borisovich,” said Volodin, “Now it will be much easier for you to understand all these talmudas.
“Dubrovskaya Silva Abramovna,” the lady introduced herself.
Jewish defender! That they came up with great!
Much later, my family learned from mutual friends, by what criteria the KGB in the Moscow Bar Association of Advocates selected for me: possession of admission; party membership; woman; jewish That's when the inferiority of the fifth point in the questionnaire was not a hindrance, but an advantage! The authorities believed that I would rather establish a relationship of trust with a Jewish woman.
Meanwhile, Silva Abramovna, accepting the tone of the young coquette, began to tell me something courtly. I interrupted her:
- Excuse me, have you met my relatives?
- But I entrusted the selection of the defender! It is difficult for me here, being in complete isolation, to learn anything about this or that lawyer. Why don't you meet them? If they approve your candidacy, then I agree.
“Yes, but ...” she paused, turning her gaze to Volodin, and he intervened:
- Your relatives do not want to meet with anyone.
- It is not true! But in any case, we should not waste time on bickering: I will only agree to a lawyer, whose candidacy will be approved by my proxies - my mother or my wife.
“Anatoly Borisovich, you are the first man who refuses me,” Silva Abramovna exclaimed playfully.
“I myself find this very unpleasant,” I replied graciously, “especially considering that by this I increase the number of Jews who refuse to do so in Moscow.”
Everyone laughed, except for Dubrovskaya, whom the mention of her nationality did not seem to bring much pleasure. She looked expectantly at Volodin: which, they say, is on. He handed me a statement prepared in advance about the refusal of a lawyer, which I signed, adding one addition to it: "... the KGB that was selected for me."
At this, our first meeting with Dubrovskaya ended, and a few days later I was given a decision that she was appointed by my lawyer.
“According to your article, the death penalty is envisaged, and we cannot leave you unprotected,” Volodin explained.
The floor is given to the prosecutor. Here are excerpts from our dialogue, which I remember.
- You say that emigration is prohibited - why about one hundred and fifty thousand Jews left?
- This did not happen at the request of the authorities, but contrary to him.- Why do many of those who have left suffer in Israel, pester the thresholds of the Soviet embassies, ask for it back?
- This is not true. Want to return the unit. But it is significant that with regard to these people who are not allowed back, the declaration of human rights is violated twice: after all, it clearly states that everyone has the right to freely leave the country in which he lives and return to it.
- Why did you not criticize the order that exists in the West?
- As can be seen even from the Soviet press, in the West every citizen can openly criticize his government. There is no reason to worry that the world will not learn about human rights violations in capitalist countries. In the USSR, such speeches are considered criminal, and punishment is provided for them. If there are no people willing to risk their freedom and, possibly, life, the world will never know the truth about the human rights situation in the USSR.
- In a telegram to the bicentennial of the United States, you glorify America - the leading capitalist power of the West, but do not say anything about unemployment, poverty and prostitution - these plagues of the Western world. Is this not hypocrisy?
- Yes, I really thanked the people of the USA for their dedication to the principles of freedom in general and freedom of emigration in particular. As for the criticism of shortcomings, there was not a word in the congratulatory telegram of the Soviet government about prostitution and unemployment.
- Why did you invite to your press conferences only representatives of the media that are hostile to the Soviet Union?
- I do not know on the basis of what criteria you determine this very hostility. But we have repeatedly invited correspondents and Soviet newspapers and the Communist newspapers of the West. Why they never came - ask the journalists sitting in this room.
- You say that in the Soviet Union, Jews are not given the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of Jewish culture. For whom, then, is the magazine Sovetish Heimland published?
- I agree with your question. For whom? Indeed, although Yiddish is opposed to Hebrew in the USSR — the main Jewish language, it is not taught in any school in the country, even in the so-called Jewish Autonomous Region. It is not surprising that the average age of the readers of this magazine is sixty and high.
Most of my answers, despite their obviousness, are unexpected for Corned beef. He doesn’t seem to know that Yiddish in Birobidzhan does not teach, that Soviet journalists are not allowed to go to press conferences for dissidents, that the Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the possibility of not only leaving the country, but also returning to it ... for even the Minister of the Interior, Shchelokov, in a fit of generosity, told me:
“If I had my way, I would let all of you go. But back, of course, no one! ”
One way or another, every time after my answer, Solonin hurriedly changes the subject, without starting discussions. In the end, the prosecutor asks me this question:
- Was your religious marriage concluded in compliance with all the requirements of Judaism?
Hearing a positive response, he announces the certificate received in
Moscow synagogue, where it says: “Distributed in the West by some
Natalia Shtiglits marriage certificate allegedly issued by the rabbi of the Jewish community of Moscow is a fake. ”
I am thinking of entering into an argument, but I catch myself in time: all I need is to discuss our family matters with them! The sentence is pronounced: thirteen years. After my last word, I completely forgot what the term should be called. Fifteen years, thirteen - what's the difference! It now makes absolutely no impression on me.
They take me out of the hall, and at the last moment Lenya shouts:
- Tolenka! With you - the whole world!
Anatoly Sharansky after release
KGB men immediately rush at him; I want to shout: “Take care of your parents!” - but I don’t have time to open my mouth: someone's arm bent at the elbow squeezes the neck, they pick me up under my arms, lift me into the air, run through the corridor and throw them into funnels. The "glass" is locked, the siren is turned on, and the car takes off.
You can read the full memoirs here.