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"The Soviet regime has recently conducted a new pogrom of the contemporary Ukrainian cultural revival." Walter Odajnyk. Professor of Political Science at Columbia University told an audience of nearly 60 in Burr A last night.
The lecture -- which was a joint effort by Odajnyk and Martha Skorupski. Editor of the Digest of the Soviet Ukrainian Press--was sponsored by the Harvard Committee for the Defense of Soviet Political Prisoners to galvanize activity and interest in the plight of the political prisoners in the Soviet Ukraine.
The lecturers reported that on January 12-13 the KGB, the Soviet security police, arrested nineteen Ukrainian intellectuals in Kiev. Lviv and Ivano-Frankivs'k and conducted searches in many more homes throughout the Ukraine.
The January 1972 arrests were the second wave of arrests to sweep the Ukraine. In 1965, 30 Ukrainian intellectuals were secretly arrested by the KGB.
Odajnyk attributed the 1965 arrests to the reversal of Krushchev's "de-Stalinization" movement upon his overthrow in 1964. "The rehabilitation of Stalin's policy adopted by the new leadership in 1965 was generated by the reaction of conservatives who had not reconciled themselves to the debunking of Stalin," Odajnyk said. "In May of that year, a tougher stance on national and cultural policies was announced, and in August the secret arrests of 30 intellectuals in various cities in the Ukraine took place," he added.
The 1972 arrests were the result of the subsequent protest movement of individual Ukrainian dissidents. Odajnyk said. "What the 19 individuals were demanding was the internal implementation of the human and civic liberties guaranteed them by the Soviet constitution," Odajnyk said.
Their activity has consisted of writing and signing documents protesting the closed, and therefore illegal, trials of their fellow Ukranians, objecting to officially published slander of their colleagues, and voicing a concern about the consequences of allowing the legal and constitutional violations perpetrated by the KGB to continue, Odajnyk said.
Most of their writings, although addressed and submitted to the appropriate official agencies. Odajnyk said, went unanswered and unpublished. Instead, they circulated in handwritten and typed copies--samizdat--and were eventually reprinted in the Ukrainian Herald, an underground publication.
Odajnyk said that "the aim of the arrests was to stop the samizdat literature, but that aim has failed for the publicity of documents has only increased."
Odajnyk said the dissidents were charged with engaging in "subversive anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda conducted for purposes of undermining the Soviet rule and social system."
"But these men," Odajnyk said, "all consider themselves loyal Soviet citizens, adhering to the principles of Marxism-Leninism. None of them speaks of conspiracy or violence, of opposition to the structure and ideology of the regime, and none of them can be accused of promoting national bourgeois politics, for they don't even know what 'bourgeois' is.
"What all these men have in common is an interest in the national equality and preservation of the Ukrainian culture. Their struggle is in terms of human rights, and it is only in terms of human rights that the national question has come to the surface."
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