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"Administrative Grace" of the Soviet Times or My Father-in-Law Tells

"Administrative Grace" of the Soviet Times or My Father-in-Law Tells
Оleg Burkun - Tkachenko 24.10.2008

My father-in-law who is now under eighty and who remained the communist (has not handed over the party membership card as others but still keeps it as memory) served in youth in state security bodies up to 54 years. After graduating from School of Ministry of State Security in Lvov he was directed for service to Rovno region into remote regional center Zarechje.

When he arrived there, there were three gangs operating in the region: the gang of some Shakh, another one with similarly strange name (I have already forgotten it) and a gang of "extreme reactionary" Коvalenko - the most severe of this Trinity.

It is necessary to note that for my father-in-law all fighters for freedom of Ukraine are bandits and he does not go back on his words. There could not be any reconciliation with the Ukrainian Rebel Army. He says they are bandits and that's all. Well, it is his position. He proved by all his life decency and got respect of people surrounding him. I am not going to judge him - that's his way in this life. Though what he told strongly differs from interpretation of those events by modern historians. I was simply interested in his memories, "episodes", as he says, of "his life".

So, I want to tell you about one such "episode" which brightly reflects "administrative grace" of authorities of those times, their methods of work.

So, at the moment of his arrival only gang of Коvalenko actively operated in the region. Two others had almost been ruined and did not represent any serious danger. Giving characteristic of Kovalenko the father-in-law told that it was animal - he killed whole families, hung up victims on a telephone cable. In a word, fleecer.

But the situation was quickly changing and disastrous noose of its soon liquidation was already tightening around its neck - there was only one question - when?

So that Kovalenko some night, at three o'clock in the morning came to area office of state security personally! The father-in-law told that he easily passed by their attendant who dozed behind a table and went straight - to the cabinet of the chief who always was late at work. Then they worked up to two o'clock in the morning and Kovalenko, probably, knew about it, therefore he chose such time when employees already went home.

He came to the cabinet and said: "I am Kovalenko. I came to surrender".

The matter is that in 1949 the Decision of Council of Ministers of the USSR about amnesty to everyone who voluntary with weapon in hands would leave woods and cover positions and would surrender to the bodies of the Soviet authority was provided.

Well, the chief when he came to his senses said that Kovalenko was guilty in many deaths and he should deserve the amnesty, he told that Kovalenko should help to security officers to grasp his gang. Kovalenko agreed and the father-in-law said that he gave them advises how to liquidate the gang. They destroyed all.

Then that Kovalenko was transferred to Volhynia. There he also rendered big help in destruction of Banderovites as he as "extreme reactionary" had significant connections in the Western Ukraine among the last. After all that he received work in regional financial department in Rovno. Here the most interesting begins.

Someone from relatives of victims tracked Kovalenko down and wrote a letter into regional office of state security in which he specified that bandit and murderer Kovalenko openly lived and worked in city Rovno, you could arrest him. We, the father-in-law speaks, do not know what to do - he's got amnesty, the Decision about amnesty is distributed on him.

Then people began to write complaints to regional management of state security that the chief of a regional department didn't take measures on arrest of the bandit.

To clear up a situation and to get defined what to do further the heads decided to write to the present Procurator General of the USSR Rudenko. The father-in-law said that he saw Rudenko's answer with own eyes. The answer was short, placed on a half of a piece of paper: "As nobody cancelled the Decision 312 from 1949, those who turned themselves in have all rights guaranteed by the state in the specified Decision. However, we cannot break also the rights of citizens injured with actions of the given person. Therefore they should be explained that they can address with the complaint in national court as in non-state instance".

Having read the answer, the chief there and then invited the chairman of the district court and handed him over nine volumes, 300 pages in each of the case of Kovalenko's gang. The chairman of the district court being not a fool having looked though the materials wrote application that in connection with big volume of the case and his importance the last was not within the jurisdiction of the national court and the decision on it was in competence of the regional court. The case was transferred to the regional court which quickly sentenced Коvalenko to "the supreme penalty", that's how it ended.

Here you are the way cases were decided at that time - with "administrative grace" - they didn't break law, at the same time victims were satisfied, the state had "clean hands" and the criminal was punished - not as it's done now - you can hear here and there conversations in a low voice which meaning - punishment of innocent, rewarding of not privy.


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