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State security's brainwashing tactics


The case against Alexander Ginzburg
Tomas Venclova Poet
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[Nikita] Khrushchev had then announced that there were no political prisoners in the Soviet Union, only criminals, and a criminal case had to be fabricated against [Alexander] Ginzburg. They made up a case saying that he... he had sat an examination for one of his friends and had even forged a signature. This would have been a criminal act, a very minor one, of course, they... that it wasn’t him but someone else, since he knew the material in the exam better and his friend didn’t know anything, he wanted to help that friend so the friend would get a satisfactory mark. And this was noticed, that it wasn’t the friend but Ginzburg, that the signature had been forged and he was sentenced to two years in prison for that. Well, and Ginzburg served those two years, and then he was, as the saying goes, a dissident. For many years he was a very well-known activist, a political activist, speaking clearly against the government. He served several more terms in prison and finally ended up in exile, in Paris. I managed to meet up with him in Paris probably about 15 years ago. And he died in Paris, relatively speaking not that long ago and probably was buried in Paris. He had a flat in Paris not far from the Place de la Bastille. I would go to visit him there, but that was much later.

[Nikita] Chruščiovas tada buvo paskelbęs, kad Tarybų Sąjungoj nebėra politinių kalinių, yra tik kriminaliniai. Taigi Ginzburgui reikėjo sugalvoti kriminlinę bylą. Sugalvojo tokią, kad jisai, jisai laikė egzaminą už vieną savo draugą ir netgi padirbo parašą. Tai jau buvo kriminalinis nusikaltimas, žinoma labai menkas, vaidino, kad tai ne jis, o kažkas kitas, kadangi jis geriau nusimanė to egzamino medžiagoje, o draugas nieko nemokėjo, jis norėjo tą draugą išgelbėti, kad draugas gautų patenkinamą pažymį. Ir tai buvo pastebėta, kad čia ne draugas, o Ginzburgas, kad parašas suklastotas, jam už tai davė dvejus metus kalėjimo. Na, ir Ginzburgas atsėdėjo tuos dvejus metus, o paskui jau buvo, kaip sakoma, disidentas. Ilgus metus buvo labai žinomas veikėjas, politinis veikėjas, pasisakęs aiškiai prieš valdžią, vėl kelis kartus sėdėjo kalėjime, pagaliau pateko į emigraciją, į Paryžių. Aš dar Paryžiuj buvau su juo susitikęs, prieš kokią turbūt 15 metų. Ir jis mirė Paryžiuj net palygint ne taip seniai mirė ir čia turbūt Paryžiuj ir palaidotas. Turėjo Paryžiuj ir butą netoli Bastilijos aikštės, aš ten pas jį lankydavausi, bet tai jau daug vėlesni laikai.

Born in 1937, Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian scholar, poet, author and translator of literature. He was educated at Vilnius University and later at Tartu University. As an active participant in the dissident movement he was deprived of Soviet citizenship in 1977 and had to emigrate. Between 1977 and 1980 he lectured at University of California, Berkeley, where he became friends with the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the school, as well as the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. He is currently a full professor at Yale University.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Paris, Place de la Bastille, Nikita Khrushchev, Alexander Ginzburg

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012