March 20, 1983

Imprisoned dissident’s wife subject of slander in Soviet newspaper


JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Svitliana Kyrychenko, wife of imprisoned Ukrainian dissident Yuriy Badzio, was the subject of a sardonic article in the February 10 issue of Vechirnyi Kiev, a Soviet paper, which accused her of egoism and getting material support from persons in the West.

The lengthy article, titled “A lady with ambition,” appeared on page three of the paper, and charged that Ms. Kyrychenko sought to exploit her husband’s imprisonment and the attention it has received in the West for personal gain.

Ms. Kyrychenko’s husband, a well-known socialist theoretician, is currently in the fourth year of a seven-year labor-camp term, which will be followed by five years’ internal exile, a form of enforced residence. Mr. Badzio, 46, was convicted of “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.”

The article describes Ms. Kyrychenko, who at one time worked at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, as a malcontent who was “enraptured with her own persona” and who wanted to stand out among others. In her quest for “recognition,” she befriended and then married Mr. Badzio after leaving her first husband, whom the paper described as “modest and humble.”

In attempting to gain the coveted attention of the West, Ms. Kyrychenko applauded her husband’s activities, which the paper said consisted of preparing “slanderous libel against the Soviet regime” and other “criminal activities.”

After his arrest, the paper said Ms. Kyrychenko “rejoiced” because she and her husband would finally be “recognized in the West.”

“This woman of ambition first and foremost cares about herself,” the paper said. “She feels she deserves more than broadcasts about her on Radio Liberty, Deutsche Welle or some other ‘voices.'”

The sarcastic tone of the article, complete with insinuation and snide excoriations, is typical of pieces on dissidents which periodically appear in the Soviet press, often as a prelude to arrest. The theme of egoism and ambitions as the root of dissident is consistent with Soviet pronouncements implying that non-conformity stems from personal rather than political reasons.

In this regard, the article noted that Ms. Kyrychenko began receiving packages from the West shortly after her husband’s arrest, parcels containing “clothes, manufactured goods, tea and even fresh fruit.”

With obvious sarcasm, the paper wrote: “Because, you see, where in Kiev could she have gotten these things? Where can you obtain dried apples and plums for compote or jellied fruit? And for free! And from the West, no less!”

The paper also printed the names of some of Ms. Kyrychenko’s benefactors in the West, including a woman who, along with her son, was thrown out of the Soviet Union while on a tourist visit to the USSR. The paper said her trip was funded by nationalist elements in the Ukrainian emigre community.

In addition, the paper accused Ms. Kyrychenko of massing a huge personal fortune, stashed away in “29 bank accounts” totalling “42,000 karbovantsi” (about $50,000). Most of the money, it said, was in her own private accounts or that of her children, and only one was in her husband’s name, because, the article went on, “who knows how long she will be with this husband.”

Character assassination in the process is a popular method of harassment and intimidation used by Soviet authorities against dissidents and heir families. In September 1982, Vilna Ukraina, a Lviv daily, carried an article which attacked Olena Antoniv Krasivska, the wife of imprisoned dissident Zinoviy Krasivsky. It also accused her of “egoism” and the pursuit of “fame” and material wealth.