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Yuri Galanskov 1939 - 1972

the poet of Majakovskji Square

In the 1960s Galanskov took part in public poetry readings in Majakovsky square, with other young independent writers, in which they read their own works and those of their favourite poets. In 1960 he was expelled from Moscow University and a year later helped edit "Phoenix '61", a typewritten samizdat poetry magazine. Arrested, he was incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital. In 1965 he tried to join the university again, attending evening courses run by the History faculty. At the same time he took an active part in the democratic movement. He was expelled and incarcerated once again. After his release, he prepared a new self-published "year book", "Phoenix 66". Arrested again at the beginning of 1967, he was tried and sentenced to 7 years’ hard labour. Even in prison he distinguished himself for his freedom of thought and behaviour. At the end of 1972, he underwent an emergency operation in the camp for a perforated ulcer and died as a result of severe bleeding.

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The difficult defense of human dignity

In communist totalitarianism

The Gulag as the organized system of soviet labor camps was a powerful instrument for the extermination of entire groups of citizens by the communist totalitarian regime, in the USSR since half of the Twenties and then by emulation of the other countries of the communist bloc, both in Europe and in the Far East.
Through terror, the regime exerted an iron grip over the population who completely submitted to the regime. 

For those who opposed the regime the question was not about risking their lives to rescue other human beings, but to save their true identity at the cost of their life. Through this, indirectly, other lives were saved and this courageous kind of moral resistance contributed to the collapse of the Soviet empire, which collapsed at the end of 1989.