10.7 A demonstration by Scandinavian students

No 10 : 31 October 1969

On 6 October 1969, at five o’clock in the evening, Harald Bristol of Oslo and Elizabeth Lie from Uppsala staged a demonstration in defence of the arrested General P.G. Grigorenko in GUM, the largest store in Moscow [located on Red Square].

The two young people chained themselves to the second floor guard-railings with handcuffs and threw their leaflets over the edge. The leaflets contained a biography of P.G. Grigorenko and the text of an appeal by the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish SMOG Committees to the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, A.N. Kosygin. Among other things, the appeal says:

“We condemn equally much the use of arbitrary methods in any country. This is not interference in the affairs of another state, but the moral duty of progressive people. Only by observing legality and human rights in all countries is it possible to prevent a revival of fascism, which starts with illegal secret police activities. Mr Chairman of the Council of Ministers! Your government speaks out in support of those who fight for human rights in Greece, Vietnam, South Africa and other countries. Why then are those who fight for these rights in the USSR being arrested?”

At the end of the leaflet Harald Bristol and Elizabeth Lie appeal to Soviet citizens:

“We have come to your country to serve the cause of legality and human rights. We are handing you our appeal to A.N. Kosygin concerning the case of Major-General Grigorenko, who has fallen victim to the arbitrary methods of the KGB. In support of our appeal we refuse to leave the scene of our demonstration, and we declare a hunger-strike. We will fast until MAJOR-GENERAL GRIGORENKO IS RELEASED OR UNTIL PRIME MINISTER KOSYGIN GIVES US A GUARANTEE THAT MAJOR-GENERAL GRIGORENKO WILL WITHOUT DELAY BE GIVEN AN OPEN AND LEGAL TRIAL.”

The leaflets contain portraits of P. G. Grigorenko and A. N. Kosygin.

A large crowd of people gathered below round a fountain, reading the leaflets attentively and passing them around to each other with no comments but with unconcealed interest. Many of them went up to the second floor to get a closer look at the young people. Meanwhile two policemen had appeared on the scene. Seeing the chain of the handcuffs, one of them ran off to get reinforcements. Two workers were sent, and they sawed through the chain. By this time KGB officials had already appeared at the scene of the demonstration. The young people were taken to the nearest police station, followed by most of the crowd which had gathered, but none of the crowd was allowed into the station.

On 8 October, Elizabeth Lie and Harald Bristol were deported from the Soviet Union.