The Death of Yury Galanskov (November 1972, 28.2)

No 28 : 31 December 1972

On 2 November 1972 YURY GALANSKOV died at the age of 33 in the Mordovian camp complex (in institution ZhKh 385-3).

Yury Timofeyevich Galanskov was born in 1939 in Moscow, into a family of workers. From 1959 onwards he took part in readings by young poets in Mayakovsky Square. His poems were published in Syntax, the typescript anthology edited by Alexander Ginzburg. Galanskov was very active in writing on public affairs (expressing a humanistic, social-legal, and pacifist trend) and in 1966 published the anthology Phoenix-66.

On 19 January 1967 Yury Galanskov was arrested. At the trial which ensued (see Chronicle 1.1), in January 1968, he was sentenced to 7 years in strict regime camps (A. Ginzburg, A. Dobrovolsky, and V. Lashkova were convicted at the same trial).

Since the summer of 1968 Galanskov had been serving his sentence in Camp 17a of the Mordovian complex. He actively participated in actions of political prisoners for their rights, and took part in hunger strikes [see 11.4].

The serious case of ulcers which had troubled Galanskov even before his arrest made his life in camp enormously more difficult. Medical care was given him only irregularly and was ineffective.

Galanskov’s relatives and friends and also his camp-mates appealed repeatedly to the authorities, asking that he be given adequate medical care. In particular, they asked that he be put on a special diet and given a complete examination at the central hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Leningrad. These requests were not granted.

In the autumn of 1972, because of his worsening health, Galanskov was sent as a matter of routine to the Dubrovlag hospital compound in the settlement of Barashevo. After an operation he developed peritonitis. As his condition became increasingly critical, the camp administration began to call in physicians, first from the district hospital, then from Saransk, and finally, apparently, from Moscow. But it was too late.