Protests on Red Square

Address: Red Square, Moscow 

Anatolii Jakobson at the demonstration against re-Stalinization, 1969.

Anatolii Jakobson at the demonstration against re-Stalinization, 1969.

Red Square was not the main stage for meetings and demonstrations in Moscow. Holding a protest there was considered hopeless given its proximity to the Kremlin. However, on August 25, 1968, the famous “demonstration of the seven” against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia took place there. The protest against re-Stalinization, held on March 5, 1966, is considered to have been the first unofficial demonstration on Red Square.

The famous “demonstration of the seven” was a protest against the occupation of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet troops’ plan to crush the Prague Spring. On August 25, 1968, at 12 o’clock, Konstantin Babitskii, Tatiana Baeva, Larisa Bogoraz, Natalia Gorbanevskaya, Vadim Delone, Vladimir Dremliuga, Pavel Litvinov, and Viktor Feinberg sat on the railing of Lobnoe Mesto and opened their banners. Natalia Gorbanevskaya held a handmade flag of Czechoslovakia and Pavel Litvinov carried a poster with slogan: “For your and our freedom.” The protesters were beaten and arrested just a few minutes later. After the arrest, the other participants persuaded Tatiana Baeva to claim that she had been a bystander. She was then released and the demonstration became known as “the demonstration of the seven.”

Yulii Kim,"Attorney's Waltz" (1968)

All participants of the demonstration received severe punishments. Litvinov was sentenced to five years in exile; Bogoraz to four years; and Babitskii to three. Dremliuga was sentenced to imprisonment in a camp for three years, and Delone was sentence to two years and ten months in a camp. Feinberg was declared insane and sent to the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital for a two-year period from 1969 to 1971.

An anti-Stalinist demonstration was held on December 21, 1969 between Lobnoe Mesto and St. Basil’s Cathedral. It coincided with the ninetieth anniversary of Stalin’s birth. KGB agents caught the demonstrators, among whom were Petr Yakir and Anatolii Jakobson. One of the participants threw a portrait of Stalin, defaced with black paint, on the street. This portrait ended up under the feet of A. Jakobson, who was immediately arrested by the KGB and taken to a police station. Soon Jakobson was convicted for “hooliganism” and fined for having disturbed the public order.

Yulii Kim, "Drunken Ilyich's Monologue."

Aleksandr Galich, "Petersburg Romance" (August 23, 1968)