11.9 The arrest of Natalya Gorbanevskaya

No 11 : 31 December 1969

On 24 December 1969, Natalya Gorbanevskaya was arrested.

Natalya Gorbanevskaya was born in 1936, and graduated from the philological faculty of Leningrad State University in 1963. A talented poet, she took part in the 25 August 1968 demonstration on Red Square [see 3.3] against the sending of troops to Czechoslovakia, and is author of the book Noon, which brings together material about the demonstration. A memb er of the Action Group for Civil Rights in the USSR, she is the mother of two young children (the elder is eight years old, and the younger one year seven months).

On 24 December a search was made of Gorbanevskaya’s flat. The search warrant was signed by L.S. Akimova, senior investigator of the Moscow Procuracy, and the search was carried out by Shilov, an investigator of the Procuracy. Confiscated during the search were items of samizdat, the manuscript “Free Medical Aid” and a copy of Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem with a handwritten dedication from the author .

A search was made of the persons of the friends who were present in Gorbanevskaya’s flat during the search.

Natalya Gorbanevskaya has been charged under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code. The investigation is being conducted by L.S. Akimova. Gorbanevskaya is at present in Butyrka Prison [Moscow].

As early as 1968 —after the demonstration of 25 August — Gorbanevskaya was declared to be of unsound mind, and now she is threatened with imprisonment in a hospital prison for an unlimited term.