Europe

Soviet-era dissident Natalya Gorbanevskaya dies

  • 29 November 2013
  • From the section Europe
Natalia Gorbanevskaya in Red Square, 25 August 2013
Gorbanevskaya returned to Red Square for an anniversary protest in August

The Soviet-era dissident Natalya Gorbanevskaya has died in Paris aged 77.

Gorbanevskaya was arrested for taking part in a 1968 protest in Moscow's Red Square against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

She was held in a psychiatric hospital until 1972 and later emigrated to the West.

Earlier this year she and others held another protest in Red Square making the 45th anniversary of the invasion.

They were briefly detained by authorities for holding an unauthorised protest.

Gorbanevskaya, a poet and translator, was a founding member of the underground publication The Chronicle of Current Events, which documented human rights abuses in the Soviet Union.

In August 1968 Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops and tanks poured into Czechoslovakia to crush its government's liberal reforms known as the "Prague Spring".

Gorbanevskaya was one of eight dissidents who took to Red Square in protest at the invasion but they were quickly rounded up by security forces.

A mother of two children, she was later "diagnosed" with schizophrenia and subjected to forcible psychiatric treatment at Moscow's then-notorious Serbsky Institute, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported.

On her release, she emigrated to Paris and worked as a journalist.

In 1976 US folk singer Joan Baez released a song, Natalia, dedicated to Gorbanevskaya.

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