L'AFFAIRE FRAVCHENKO

THEIR FATHER DEFECTED IN 1944. BROTHERS ANDREW AND VALENTIN WERE BROUGHT TOGETHER THIS YEAR TRYING TO FIND OUT WHY.

In 1979, he left the party, more from apathy than anger. It was a decision for which he would suffer.

In 1982, Valentin was arrested, along with several co-workers. They were charged with an economic crime that in American terms might best be described as working unauthorized overtime. Valentin claims that all the work done by his crew was, in fact, authorized, but that it later became embarrassing to a party official. In any event, Valentin says that before the trial he was subjected to seven torture sessions during which agents of the NKVD attempted to extract a confession. He says the guards forced him to stare directly into a 100-watt light bulb placed inches from his face, and that they kicked him and beat him. They forced him to ingest cups filled with salt. They knocked out his teeth. By way of demonstration, he tucks his thumb into his mouth and removes an upper plate-only a few teeth remain in his mouth, and most of them are made of brass.

It is difficult for Valentin to talk about what they did to him. Several times the interview folds up; we walk around, and lighter subjects are discussed. The big Russian is shaken, and the terror is real.

They had him lay his genitals out on a table and they crushed them. They beat him unconscious. Still, he did not sign the confession.

"They made a mistake in my case," Valentin says. "They beat me too much, too soon. After a while, your body, it becomes like wood. It doesn't matter what they do to you. They made me into wood. I didn't care what they did."
The last session was the worst. They didn't touch him, but the dread made him sick. He was partially paralyzed by the torture.

He remembers that at his trial he was made a scapegoat because he wasn't a party member. And because he was "the son of Kravchenko."

"I heard that in the court, they were calling, `He is the son of Kravchenko, he is the son of Kravchenko, let him do longer.'" In June 1983, Valentin Bodrov was handed a 15-year sentence. He didn't care, for he was an invalid, barely cognizant of what was happening to him. He was sent to a prison hospital filled with the lame and those able to pay bribes to the judges in order to serve their time there.

part 2 of 3

L' AFFAIRE KRAVCHENKO THEIR FATHER DEFEC... v2-12-92

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