Freedom in Russia

Natalya Gorbanevskaya died last Friday. Here’s her story:

On Aug. 25, 1968, Ms. Gorbanevskaya and a handful of other dissidents gathered in Red Square, in Moscow, to denounce the Soviets’ sending tanks to Czechoslovakia four days earlier to quell the liberal reforms known as the Prague Spring. The group stood on a spot reserved for executions in prerevolutionary times and held up banners with slogans like “shame to the invaders.”       

Ms. Gorbanevskaya’s companions were arrested, but she was not, presumably because she had two young sons. She wrote about the trial of her associates for The Chronicle of Current Events, an influential underground publication she had helped to start earlier that year.

Ms. Gorbanevskaya’s Chronicle writings prompted her arrest and imprisonment in December 1969. Psychiatrists diagnosed “continuous sluggish schizophrenia,” and she was confined to a psychiatric prison until February 1972.

The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, but the more things change the more they stay the same:

This August, on the 45th anniversary of her arrest in Red Square, Ms. Gorbanevskaya returned there with nine other demonstrators to commemorate the protest. They were arrested on charges of holding an unsanctioned rally.

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