Biography of Father Walentin Spalwini-Kreczetow

Born into a family of the nobility in Warsaw on December 25, 1891. At the age of six months he was taken to Rome by his father. In his words, he received his advanced seminary education in Rome and was ordained there. He knew Italian, Polish and German. At the request of the Vatican, he filled a number of clandestine assignments in Paris, Geneva, Munich, Vienna, Marseilles and London. In 1928 he was sent by the Vatican to the USSR. He lived in Simferopol where, on May 21, 1929, he was arrested on charges of “counter-revolutionary agitation.” October 14, 1929 – sentenced under Articles 58-10, 58-13 and 77 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years in corrective labor camp [Special Board, OGPU Collegium]. October 28 he was sent to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp; released early (in 1930) as an invalid and deported to Onega, Arkhangelsk oblast, for the remainder of his term. In 1931 he was arrested in exile and sentenced under Article 58-6 to exile to a work settlement at Belbaltkombinat [Troika, GPU, Northern Territory]. He was at Soroksk work settlement where, in March 1936, he was again arrested on charges of “counter-revolutionary agitation.” June 24, 1936 – sentenced under Article 58-10 to five years in corrective labor camp [Special Collegium, Supreme Ct., Karelia ASSR]. Sent to Belbaltlag (camp sector in Kem), from where he appealed more than once to the Polish Red Cross for assistance. In the camp he systematically refused to work, for which he was arrested in November 1937 and placed in an investigative isolator at Belbaltkombinat (at Shveiprom camp sector). In the indictment it was noted that the camp administration characterized him from the most negative aspect: as systematically refusing to work and urging all other convicts not to work. Judging by the denunciations of informants, he openly stated in the barrack: “I was a zealous opponent and enemy of the Soviet regime and the Bolsheviks, and I have remained so – and they will never reeducate me.” November 20, 1937 – sentenced to death under Article 58-10 [Special Troika, NKVD, Karelian ASSR]. December 9, 1937 – shot, in Sandormokh, outside Medvezhegorsk. We present excerpts from the diaries of Fr. Walentin, which were seized during his last arrest: “In a country that occupies a sixth of the globe’s surface, there is nothing surprising to encounter at every step of the way persons who were formerly garbage collectors but now, under the Soviet regime, have attained posts like the so-called procurator of the Supreme Court, or director of some kombinat, or head of a military district. No matter how laughable, these are everyday phenomena. No matter how shameful, but to the great sorrow of millions of people, we have already seen eighteen years of these guardians and popular murderers, who wreak havoc in their zeal, like wolfhounds, roaming about, frothing at the mouth, looking for victims for their persecution of the hapless masses, thinking up all manner of methods of torture, no less sadistic than the medieval Spanish Inquisition. There is no doubt that any even slightly reasonable person ought to try with all the fibers of his soul to promote, as much as he can, the elimination of that doctrine forcefully instilled by so-called benefactors of the people – a doctrine that is disastrously affecting the people, leading to the destruction of existing human legal rights. The fruits of this doctrine and Soviet education have led the country into a state of antagonism approaching Pugachevshchina, where spontaneous mass murders, pillaging and violence have become everyday phenomena.” Footnotes: It seems doubtful that he was ordained in Rome; the case file notes that he was a bishop, but this seems even more doubtful. Source: Lichnoye delo z/k V. Spalyshpi-Krechetov, Archive of the Directorate, Ministry of the Interior, Republic of Karelia; GARF, f. 8409, op. 1, d. 1470, l. 113-116
Variant Names:
Spalwini-Kreczetow, Walentin; Spal'vin-Krechetov, Valentin Aleksandrovich
Warsaw (Poland); Roma (Italy); Paris (France); Geneva (Switzerland) Vienna (Austria); Marseilles (France); London (England); Solovet︠s︡kiĭ (Russia); Onega (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; executed