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Dissident movement in Ukraine
Glossary

DAY OF SOVIET POLITICAL PRISONERS

12.11.2006

The Day of Soviet Political Prisoners was first commemorated on 30 October 1974 in Soviet political labour camps. The initial plans for drawing up a Status for Soviet Political Prisoners, and designating a Day in their honour were made by the political prisoners Kronid Lubarsky and Oleksiy MURZHENKO in March 1974, and smuggled to the outside world from the Mordovian camps.

30 October 1974 was marked by a hunger strike in the Mordovian and Perm political labour camps, as well as in the Vladimir Prison. At the same time in Moscow, a press conference was given in the home of Andrei SAKHAROV by the Initiative Group for the Defence of Human Rights in the USSR, announcing the establishment of the Day of Soviet Political Prisoners. Foreign correspondents were handed material about political prisoners in the USSR. From that time the same day was observed each year, with political prisoners of various nationalities marking the day in the camps through hunger strikes and other protest actions.

From 1987 the Day of Soviet Political Prisoners was marked by demonstrations in Moscow and other large cities of the USSR. In 1989 a public action was undertaken for the occasion involving a “Memory chain” around the KGB building in Moscow. In 1990 on what was Dzherzhynsky Square (now Lubyanka) in Moscow, on the initiative of the “Memorial” Society, a boulder, brought from the Solovky Islands (the “Solovky Stone”) was placed in memory of the victims of the totalitarian regime. On 18 October 1991 the RSFSR Parliament, as well as passing a law on the rehabilitation of victims of political repression, added the Day of Soviet Political Prisoners to the list of state anniversaries as Remembrance Day for Victims of Political Repression.

In Ukraine this date is observed by former political prisoners and civic organizations.

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