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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June, 2007

THE PATHFINDERS (THE SINYAVSKY-DANIEL SHOW TRIAL. FOLDER 41. THE CHEKIST ANTHOLOGY

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    In this case Mitrokhin provides a history of the Sinyavsky-Daniel show trial. Between 1959 and 1962 two unknown Russian authors (pseudonyms Tertz and Arzhak) published two anti-soviet books, “This is Moscow Speaking” and “The Trial Begins,” in Western countries. The KGB was not familiar with the authors and did not know where they lived. According to Mitrokhin, KGB agent “Efimov” discovered that a litterateur from Moscow, Yuliy Daniel, had some anti-soviet materials. In the beginning of 1964 the analysis of all available information proved that Daniel was the author of “This is Moscow Speaking” and that his pseudonym was Arzhak. It was soon discovered that Tertz, whose real name was Sinyavsky, was Arzhak’s close friend. The KGB began a new operation “The Imitators,” which helped to learn about their connections abroad, new works in progress, places where authors kept their original writings as well as the means they used to send their literature to the West. Mitrokhin states that KGB agents had difficulties working because Sinyavsky once was an agent for the KGB, so he was familiar with all of the techniques. In September 1965, after the KGB collected all of the necessary information, a criminal case was opened. Sinyavsky and Daniel were arrested. Mitrokhin provides details of the investigation process. In February 1966 the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union sentenced “the imitators.” Sinyavsky was sentenced to seven years in jail and Daniel was sentenced to five. After Sinyavsky served his time, he moved to France with his wife where he became well respected among immigrants. According to Mitrokhin, however, later on he lost that respect because he published a provocative book A Walk with Pushkin. Mitrokhin states that the KGB kept monitoring Sinyavsky’s activities throughout his career in France.
    "The Pathfinders (the Sinyavsky-Daniel show trial. Folder 41. The Chekist Anthology," June, 2007, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Contributed to CWIHP by Vasili Mitrokhin. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110342
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