4 December 1987* (2451-Ch) human rights

Report to Central Committee from leading Politburo members (SHEVARDNADZE, ALEXANDER YAKOVLEV, CHEBRIKOV) about a proposal by activists to hold a seminar on human rights in Moscow (excerpts).

Measures are suggested to hinder both the holding of the seminar and the participation of guests from abroad and other parts of the USSR. On 19 December 1987 (2594-Ch) a report was made, see pp. 6-9, on the success of these measures. [Russian: 4 Dec 87] total 9 pp.


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4 December 1987
No 2451-Ch

To the CPSU Central Committee

The intention of certain anti-social elements
to hold a so-called “seminar on human rights” in Moscow

A group of individuals headed by L.M. Timofeyev (b. 1941), literary secretary to Writers’ Union member Kuteishchikova, and S.I. Grigoryants (b. 1941), of no known occupation, is attempting to hold a gathering from 10-14 December this year in Moscow, a so-called “seminar of independent public organisations in the USSR that participate in the Helsinki process for humanitarian issues”.

… Those who intend to head the sections are Grigoryants, [Sergei] Kovalyov, Bogoraz-Bruchman, Chornovil, Airikyan and others who were convicted of anti-Soviet activities in the past and were pardoned this year by a decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet. Timofeyev has announced that he will head the preparatory committee.

An “appeal” is being circulated in which the organisers of the “seminar” make demagogic statements about the necessity of creating international guarantees to ensure that member-States (of the Conference for Security and Cooperation Europe) meet their obligations in the field of human rights, and also to “elaborate methods of international monitoring of the implementation of decisions on the humanitarian


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aspects of the CSCE”.


Issues surrounding the organisation of this “seminar” are constantly being raised at gatherings of the said persons in Moscow with the participation of foreign correspondents. Together with them members of the Glasnost press-club do not hide their striving to unite the anti-social elements in our country and their claims to a leading role in this.

Overall it is clear that a provocative event is being prepared, which according to the organisers’ intentions, and those inciting them from abroad, that will in any case bring dividends: if the “seminar” take place this will give added weight to “Glasnost” and create a precedent of a kind; if it is prevented then this will be a pretext for raising an anti-Soviet commotion, especially since this enterprise is scheduled to take place on Human Rights Day on 10 December and has been timed


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to coincide with the Soviet-American summit meeting.

In these circumstances it is proposed that we operate in the following way.

— The executive committee of Mossoviet should give a negative answer to the request of the “seminar” organisers about renting premises, explaining that until the necessary legislation has been drawn up, the 11 August 1967 regulation of the Mossoviet executive committee remains in force. This was taken in the interests of maintaining State security and public order and, in particular, envisages the obligation to observe the USSR Constitution and other legislative acts. Furthermore, the “Glasnost press club” is not officially registered and it is not clear by what right it claims to be organising international events. We may suppose that when the request for renting premises is turned down the “seminar” will take place in private apartments. In that case, however, the propaganda effect will be considerably reduced.

— A similar argument should be applied when refusing to grant visas to those foreign citizens who want to attend the “seminar”. It cannot be excluded that a certain number of foreigners will arrive as tourists and that certain Western journalists, accredited in Moscow, will take part in this gathering.

— Bearing in mind that one of the main goals of the “seminar” organisers is to provoke a scandal we should refrain at this moment from taking measures of restraint towards them.

— If the organisers do not pay attention to the Mossoviet decision, the Procurator’s Office should issue them with a warning about the unlawful nature of the event under preparation.

At the same time there is the question not only of administrative but also political methods for neutralising the activities of such anti-social elements. As the first


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experience of actions under conditions of democratisation shows, the most promising work is the painstaking individual efforts of Soviet, Party and public organisations, including those where people live, adopting where necessary a differentiated approach, while exposing in the mass media the true nature of these “rights activists”.

In this respect it is particularly important to complete, as quickly as possible, the drafting of the legislation about independent organisations and associations in order to bring their activities within clear constitutional limits.

We request your consideration.

E. Sheverdnadze, L. Zaikov, V. Chebrikov, A. Yakovlev [1]


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Copy No. 8

of the CPSU Central Committee

The intention of certain anti-social elements
to hold a so-called “seminar on human rights” in Moscow

Endorse the views of Comrades Sheverdnadze, Zaikov, Chebrikov and Yakovlev expressed in the Note of December 1987 (attached).

The Moscow City Committee of the CPSU (Comrade Karabasov), together with the Commission for International Cooperation on Humanitarian Problems and Human Rights at the Soviet Committee for European Security and Cooperation (Comrade Burlatsky) are to draw Party, Komsomol, Soviet and other organisations into systematic work to neutralise the activities of anti-social groups such as the “Glasnost press club”, including the exposure in the mass media of the true face of these “rights activists”.



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[19] December 1987, No 2594-Ch

To the CPSU Central Committee

Measures to localise the provocative actions of participants
in the so-called “seminar on human rights” in Moscow

To prevent anti-social elements, with the support of imperialist special services and subversive centres abroad, from implementing their plan to carry out a provocative operation (a so-called “seminar of independent public organisations participating in the Helsinki process on humanitarian issues”) measures were taken in accordance with the decision adopted.

For the purposes of localising this political provocation, the following were not allowed into Moscow: representatives of a number of foreign anti-Soviet bodies, renegades from among the former Soviet citizens living abroad; members of Polish Solidarity; the Peace and Human Rights Group (GDR); and also those who inspire nationalist and anti-social events – Airikyan (Armenia), Chernovol, […] Goryn, Gel (Ukraine), Sadunaite (Lithuania) and certain others.

The measures taken enabled us to reduce, to a certain extent, the range of participants in the so-called “seminar”. We prevented these hostile individuals from joining in an organisation with anti-socialist elements from other socialist countries and wrecked an attempt to set up a permanently functioning centre within the Soviet Union. Having not received permission to use State premises to hold the


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seminar the provocateurs spread out among private apartments and formed sections. […] These were headed by Timofeyev, Grigoryants, Bogoraz-Bruchman, [Sergei] Kovalyov, Gamsakhurdia, Ogorodnikov, and other individuals who had been found guilty in the past of anti-Soviet activities. Overall they were able to attract to their provocative operation around 150 Soviet citizens (including more than 40 individuals from other cities and towns in the USSR). As has been established, the majority of these individuals formerly participated in unlawful activities for which they were prosecuted, and they maintained and continue to maintain contacts with subversive organisations abroad.

These gatherings in private apartments were anti-Soviet in tendency. For example, in his speech Timofeyev (Glasnost press club) stressed: “The seminar should show the world that there are a great number of people in the USSR who are dissatisfied with the socialist system …” Krochik (the Trust group) call for the creation of “free


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trade unions” in the country. Ogorodnikov (The Bulletin of the Christian Community) asserted that “The USSR is a totalitarian State” and said it was necessary to struggle for a widening of the role of the church in the country’s political and social life. Novodvorskaya (Democracy and Humanism) declared: “There must be a non-violent political struggle against the Soviet government. The basic aim of our movement is constant opposition to the government. A demand for a multi-party system in the country”. Myasnikov (Glasnost bulletin) said that half the population in the USSR was impoverished, that there were many millions of unemployed people and slave labour in the country, while a quarter of the population did not have a home. Supposedly not one constitutional right is respected in the USSR.

The contributions of a number of participants included calls to fight for an unlimited right to enter and leave the country, to refuse to do military service, and to freely transmit any information abroad. Opposition to the Soviet authorities and the policies of the CPSU was also discussed, as was the creation of a means for influencing the development of the government’s domestic and foreign policy decisions.


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It is envisaged that the Propaganda and International Departments of the Central Committee, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the KGB, will work on additional measures to expose the hostile and provocative character of the activities of the organisers and participants of the said operation, and also to prevent similar events in the future.

Lukyanov [2]

[1]9 December 1987
No 2594-Ch



[1] 4 December 1987 – Sheverdnadze (Foreign Minister), Zaikov (Moscow Communist Party organisation), Chebrikov (KGB), Yakovlev (Politburo).

[2] 19 December 1987 – With the addition of Dobrynin (head of International Department) and Lukyanov (Central Committee Secretary).


  • 1. Notes by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  • 2. text written by hand is indicated in italic script;
  • 3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been inserted in a previously typed document this is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, John Crowfoot

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