26 January 1977*, St 42/18

Central Committee accepts collective advice (24 January 1977) of KGB, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other parties about a response to the libel petition filed in a US court by Alexander Yesenin-Volpin. [R 26 January 1977, St 42-18]

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[page one of three]

Workers of all Lands, Unite!

COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION. CENTRAL COMMITTEE

[Text along left-hand margin]
Must be returned within 15 days of receipt
to CPSU Central Committee (General Department, sector 1)

TOP SECRET

No St 42 / 18, 26 January 1977

Excerpt from item 18 of Minutes No. 42 of the Central Committee Secretariat

On the note from Comrades Andropov, Kuznetsov, Zamyatin and Tolkunov,
dated 24 January 1977, No 42

Agree to the suggestions put forward in the note from Comrades Andropov, Kuznetsov, Zamyatin and Tolkunov (attached).

SECRETARY OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE


[Page two]

Secret Addendum
To item 18, Minutes No 42

To the CPSU Central Committee

For clearly provocative and anti-Soviet purposes, reactionary Zionist circles in the USA have prompted the renegade Yesenin-Volpin to go to the American courts. He has brought a claim for defamation via publication against TASS, APN and the American newspaper “The Daily World” (an organ of the US Communist Party).

The formal pretext is the use by “Izvestiya” and “Sovetskaya Rossiya” newspapers of material from the Italian left-wing magazine “Ragione” (May 1976), which exposes the slanderous and reactionary propaganda about the supposed incarceration of healthy people in psychiatric hospitals in the Soviet Union for political reasons. This article refers to Yesenin-Volpin as “that person whom the Western press made such efforts to defend, had barely arrived in Italy before he was again taken to a mental hospital; he is presently being treated by American psychiatrists”.

TASS placed this item in Soviet newspapers, APN placed it in one of its publications in the FRG and “The Daily World” printed its own material based on this item.

The American court has delivered summonses to appear in court to the New York offices of TASS and APN. If they fail to appear before 2 February this year TASS and APN will automatically be recognised as guilty and will each have to pay Yesenin-Volpin 200,000 dollars.

The lawsuit itself has been compiled in an anti-Soviet, provocative spirit about the so-called persecution of dissenters in the USSR, their imprisonment in psychiatric hospitals and similar nonsense. This is all intended to fan the latest campaig n by US mass media in America against the Soviet Union.


[page three]

With the purpose of halting this trial the Soviet Ambassador in the USA talked to the deputy of the US Secretary of State, drawing his attention to unacceptable and groundless actions taken by the American court. The US Secretary of State did not give a direct response, claiming that “it was not such a simple case from the legal point of view”.

So that representatives of TASS and APN do not appear in court and will not become deeply entangled in this provocative hearing the Soviet ambassador has been permitted to employ an American lawyer. Using American legislation the ambassador will work through the lawyer to end the hearing, and have the lawsuit annulled.

The ambassador has also been instructed to continue insisting to the State Department that urgent measures must be taken to end the case raised by Yesenin-Volpin’s lawsuit, since it is without foundation and clearly pursuing political aims hostile to the Soviet Union, as follows from the lawsuit itself. Furthermore, the Soviet ambassador was instructed to let the American side understand that we would otherwise take retaliatory measures against American publications and their correspondents in Moscow, who not infrequently publish truly slanderous reports about the Soviet Union and its citizens.

Depending on the response from the American side and the subsequent course of the case we consider it expedient to prepare, through the Committee for State Security, the necessary retaliatory measures. We also consider it expedient to continue the policy we have outlined towards the State Department.

In order not to get deeply involved in these hearings, as is the intention of the Zionist circles which devised Yesenin-Volpin’s lawsuit, we consider that TASS and APN correspondents should not appear in court either now or in the future. It seems expedient to coordinate our actions with the Friends in the analogous lawsuit against “The Daily World”.

We request authorisation for the indicated course of action.

Yu. Andropov, V. Kuznetsov, L. Zamyatin, L. Tolkunov [1]

24 January 1977 No 42

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NOTES
[1]  Andropov, KGB chairman; Kuznetsov, 1st deputy minister of Foreign Affairs (Politburo candidate member); Zamyatin, Central Committee International Department; Tolkunov, chief editor of “Izvestiya” (and member of Central Committee).
General
1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been added
to a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.
Translation, John Crowfoot
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