MAZUR, Dmytro Dmytrovych
(b. 05.11.39), the
Teacher and educator, author of samizdat, former political prisoner
Mazur was born into a family of teachers. His early years passed in an atmosphere of still surviving national traditions, and against the background of the War, living history and frequent moves by his parents from village to village. From childhood he strove to fully understand the essence of the life of the people. After the War, Mazur heard stories about Stalin’s crimes. All of this required deep thought and a process of clearly defining his own position. In 1961 he entered the language and literature faculty of the Zhytomyr Teachers’ Training Institute, but he was called to military service while in his second year. He served in the Crimea and in
He returned to his studies in 1965. He carried out national awareness-raising work among students, as a result of which he was summoned to discussions at the KGB in 1966. He heard about the works of I. DZIUBA and travelled to Kyiv to meet him.
He graduated from the institute in 1967, and taught Ukrainian language and literature in the
In the spring of 1968, at a meeting of the writer O. Honchar with students from the Zhytomyr Teachers’ Training Institute, a text written by Mazur was read out in the students’ name. The text spoke of issues of national spiritual level, raised by Honchar in his novel “Sobor”, attacks on which were only beginning. The hall and all of Zhytomyr were in furore.
The KGB began systematic persecution of the author of the text and Mazur was forced to leave his work in the school in Ryasno. He was able to find work in the neighbouring
After his release, he worked in Malyn at a factory carrying out experiments, then, following an accident, on the collective farm in his home village. He worked with the Ukrainian Helsinki Group (UHG) and met with M. RUDENKO. In connection with a trumped up case, V. OVSIYENKO travelled to O. MESHKO in Kyiv and on 7 February 1979 brought a human rights representative from
During a search in June, Mazur’s statement in defence of I. DZIUBA, his protest about the exclusion from the Union of Writers of A. SOLZHENITSYN, the text of V. OVSIYENKO’s “Instead of final words”, were removed. In his sentence, only V. OVSIYENKO’s text is mentioned. On 30 June Mazur was arrested by the KGB and charged with “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”. The charges were based on verbal utterances about the Russification of Ukraine, about the expediency of Ukraine’s secession from the USSR, etc back in his student days, while later statements were also mentioned, where Mazur expressed his views about the violation of human rights in the USSR, about the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, against the war in Afghanistan, about the inevitable collapse of the USSR and others.
On 5 December 1980 the
Mazur served his sentence in one of the Mordovian political labour camps, camp No. ZhKh-385/35 in the settlement of Barashevo. During his mother’s visits he passed on written and verbal information about the conditions for political prisoners. Mazur was co-author of a letter to Amnesty International in support of political prisoners. In 1983 Mazur was taken to Zhytomyr for “conversations” in the KGB. They offered him release in return for renouncing his views. Mazur said nothing.
For letters addressed to Gorbachev about the threatening Chernobyl catastrophe he was, at the insistence of the Zhytomyr KGB, put into a punishment cell and spent the last 9 months of his term on punishment cell regime ( without being allowed to buy extra food, etc, and with hot food only once every two days).
On 30 June 1986 Mazur was sent straight out of the punishment cell into exile, and after a month he was moved to the
In September 1988 the Ukrainian Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners sent a telegram to Mikhail Gorbachev calling on him to save Mazur’s life (a copy was sent to the international community). He was isolated from other ill prisoners, and on 8 December 1988 “pardoned”.
He returned to his parents who both died soon after. He joined the Ukrainian Helsinki Union (UHU), and from 1990 was a member of the Ukrainian Republican Party (URP), and from 1997 – a member of Narodny Rukh Ukrainy [Popular Movement of
He lives alone in his home village.
Л L. Alekseeva. История инакомыслия в СССР. / The History of the Dissident Movement in the
’Khronika tekushchykh sobytiy’ [‘Chronicle of Current Events’] (CCE).—
The KHPG Archives
I. Rapp. Supplemented by V. Ovsiyenko in July 1998, on the basis of D. Mazur’s own verbal