Alexander Ginzburg

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Alexander Ilyich Ginzburg
Alexander Ginzburg 1980.jpg
Ginzburg at the Sakharov tribunal in The Hague on 4 September 1980
Native name Александр Ильич Гинзбург
Born (1936-11-21)November 21, 1936
Died July 19, 2002(2002-07-19) (aged 65)
Nationality Russian
Citizenship  Soviet Union (1936–1991) →  Russian Federation (1991–2002)
Alma mater Moscow State Historico-Archival Institute
Occupation human right activist, journalist
Known for human rights activism with participation in the Moscow Helsinki Group, cofounding Sintaksis and Phoenix
Notable work The White Book, The Trial of the Four
Movement dissident movement in the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Arina Sergeevna Zholkovskaya-Ginzburg
Children two sons: Alexander and Alexey

Alexander (Alik) Ilyich Ginzburg (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ильи́ч Ги́нзбург; IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr ɪlʲˈjitɕ ˈɡʲinzbʊrk]; 21 November 1936, Moscow – 19 July 2002, Paris), was a Russian journalist, poet, human rights activist and dissident.


During the Soviet period, Ginzburg cofounded and edited the samizdat poetry almanac Sintaksis.[1] At the end of 1959, he issued the first samizdat literary magazine Phoenix, with Yuri Galanskov.[1]

Between 1961 and 1969 he was sentenced three times to labor camps. In 1979, Ginzburg was released and expelled to the United States, along with four other political prisoners (Eduard Kuznetsov, Mark Dymshits, Valentin Moroz, and Georgy Vins) and their families, as part of a prisoner exchange.

Dissident work

In 1965, Alexander Ginzburg documented the trial of writers Yuli Daniel and Andrei Sinyavsky (Sinyavsky–Daniel trial). Having obtained a copy of closed-door court proceedings from the court stenographer, he compiled a White Book documenting the trial. He then sent copies of the book with his address to the KGB and the Chief Prosecutor's Office.[2]:8 The book also circulated in samizdat and was smuggled to the West. Along with Yuri Galanskov, he was arrested and sentenced to prison in what was known as The Trial of the Four.

After his release in 1972, Ginzburg along with Alexander Solzhenitsyn initiated the Fund for the Aid of Political Prisoners. Based on the royalties derived from Solzhenitsyn's book The Gulag Archipelago, it distributed funds and material support to political and religious prisoners across the Soviet Union throughout the 1970-s and 1980-s.[3]

In 1976, Ginzburg became a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, which monitored breaches of the human rights guarantees the Soviet government signed up to in the 1975 Helsinki accords. Ginzburg was given the task of monitoring the State's persecution of the smaller Christian denominations, for which he was, again, arrested in 1978 and sentenced to an eight-year prison term.[4] In April 1979, he was with four other dissidents deprived of his citizenship and exchanged for two Soviets who had been jailed for espionage.[3]

Throughout his career, Ginzburg advocated nonviolent resistance. He believed in exposing human rights abuses by the Soviet Union and pressuring the government to follow its own laws. He made an effort to smuggle his writings abroad in order to increase external pressure on the Soviets.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Scene" (PDF). Digital Collections. Retrieved 1 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Litvinov, Pavel Mikhaĭlovich; Reddaway, Peter (1972). The Trial of the Four. A Collection of Materials on the Case of Galanskov, Ginzburg, Dobrovolsky and Lashkova 1967–78. London: Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-12605-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Alexander Ginsburg". Retrieved 1 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Remembering Alexander Ginzburg". Frontpage Mag. Retrieved 1 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links


  • The White Book
  • The Trial of the Four