The “Dobosh case” was an operation by the security service of the Ukrainian SSR which prompted the second wave of arrests of 1972 in Ukraine. In December 1971 Yaroslav Dobosh, a young Belgian national of Ukrainian origin and member of the Union of Ukrainian Youth visited Ukraine on a tourist visa. On 4 January 1972 he was arrested and a copy of the “Dictionary of rhymes of the Ukrainian language” written by political prisoner S. KARAVANSKY was confiscated. During interrogation by the KGB Dobosh spoke of having had meetings with Ukrainian dissidents, and on 2 June 1972 at a KGB-organized press conference in Kyiv, stated that he had been the contact between émigré anti-Soviet centres and “agent units” in Ukraine. He was shortly afterwards deported from the USSR.
His arrest was reported on 15 January 1972, however a few days before that the arrests had begun of well-known dissidents in various cities of Ukraine (Viacheslav CHORNOVIL, Yevhen SVERSTYUK, Ivan SVITLYCHNY, Leonid PLYUSHCH, Vasyl STUS and others). The main objective of the “Dobosh Case” was to demonstrate to the public that demonstrations of opposition were being orchestrated by nationalist organizations abroad and by western intelligence services. None of those arrested, however, was accused by the courts of “spying”, only “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”.
In Belgium at his very first press conference for western journalists, Dobosh declared that his statements in Kyiv had been made under duress and retracted them.
However the “Dobosh Case” had achieved its aim and sparked off the ‘General Pogrom’ of 1972..