In Memory of Susanna Pechuro

posted 8 Jan 2014, 06:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Jan 2014, 06:55 ]
7 January 2013

Source: (info)

Susanna Solomonovna Pechuro has left us. A former political prisoner and historian, Susanna was an activist of the Memorial society for many years. She will be sorely missed.

VIDEO: Interview with Susanna Pechuro by Memorial (in Russian)

Short Biography (for the full text in Russia, see HERE)

Susanna Solomonovna Pechuro was born in Moscow in 1933.

In 1949, Susanna began to take part in the 'Green noise' literary circle at the Moscow Palace of Pioneers. Soon after, she organised her own literary group with friends, and was subsequently involved in an underground group called 'The Union of Struggle for the Cause of Revolution'.

Susanna was arrested on 19th January 1951. She was held in the prison on Malaya Lubyanka, before being transferred to solitary confinement at Lefortovo. The investigation continued for more than a year: the case was taken up by the Interior Ministry's Investigative Department for serious crimes. The accused were 16 school pupils and students between 15 and 20 years old.

The group's trial was held before the Supreme Court's Military Collegiate on 7-14th February 1951. They were denied access to legal counsel and were held in the basement of Lefortovo prison. The defendants were accused of treason and conspiracy to murder Georgy Malenkov, who was Secretary of the Central Committee at the time. The three alleged organisers were sentenced to capital punishment, three other members received 10 years of camps, and the 10 remaining (including Susanna) were sentenced to 25 years in the camps.

After 1952, Susanna was transferred to Inta. In the course of a year, she went through 11 prisons and seven camps, where she worked on foundation-laying and other construction work.

In January 1953 Susanna was recalled to Moscow for additional investigation. As part of the 'Doctors' Plot', the Interior Ministry attempted to accuse Susanna of working as a messenger between youth organisations in the USSR and Zionist groups.

After the death of Stalin, this investigation was closed. Susanna was designated an invalid and transferred to the Abez camp in the Komi Republic. At the request of her parents, she was later sent to Dubravlag in Mordovia, where she worked in a sewing workshop.

Susanna's case was re-examined in 1954 and her sentence was reduced to nine years. In 1956, her sentence was reduced again to five years. She was released on 26th April 1956.

Article 58 of the Criminal Code of RSFSR (the charges against Susanna Pechuro):

58-1a. Treason. 

58-8. Terrorist acts directed against representatives of Soviet power or revolutionary worker and peasant organisations.

58-10. Propaganda or agitation, containing a call for the overturning, subversion or weakening of Soviet power [...]

58-11. Organisational activity directed towards the preparation or completion of the previously mentioned crimes. 


Susanna Pechuro: "I was in the camp hospital at Minlag on my twentieth birthday. And in the same hospital, but right at the other end, was my friend Zhenya Shapoval, who had TB. I don't know how, but somehow he managed to get up, and without being noticed leave the barracks, go to the fence of the women's hospital, and on my birthday give me this collection of Blok's poetry and a bouquet of roses."

Friends of Susanna Pechuro – Zhenya Gurevich, Borya Slutsky, Vladilen Furman. All were executed in 1952.

Pot'ma. 1955

Meeting with her father in 1955.

Preparing for exams after release. 1956.


Winter 1957. First year of Historical-Archive Institute, Moscow.