In Memory: Mykhailo Horyn


Mykhailo Horyn, former dissident and political prisoner, human rights defender and civic and political figures passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning.  He was eighty two.

Mykhailo Horyn, together with his brother Bohdan, was one of the shistdesyatnyky, the young intellectuals in the 1960s who played a vital role in a cultural and political revival which opposed the political lies and repression of the Soviet system.  Both brothers played active roles in the national democratic movement from the 1960s to 1990s.

Mykhailo Horyn was a key figure in coordinating samizdat literature and was twice a political prisoner: he was arrested for the first time in 1965 for what the Soviets called “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” and sentenced to 6 years labour camp.  The second sentence was 10 years.

Mykhailo Horyn came from a family with strong nationalist views and was himself active in preparing and distributing leaflets as a young man.  He graduated from the Logic and Psychology Faculty of Lviv University and worked as a lecturer, while also producing methodological works for teachers.  

He became active in the dissident movement in the 1960s and began writing more and more openly anti-Soviet articles (circulated, obviously, via samizdat).

He was arrested on 26 August 1965 and charged under Article 62 § 1 (“Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”) of the Criminal Code.  On 18 April 1966 he was tried together with his brother, Bohdan, Ivan Hel and Myroslava Zvarychevska behind closed doors and sentenced to 6 years harsh regime labour camp. Horyn denied any guilt, and his final words at the trial were later circulated in samizdat. 

He remained in active opposition in the Mordovan labour camps which resulted in him being sentenced to 3 years in the Vladimir Prison.

He was released in August 1971 but not allowed registration in Lviv where his family lived and was forced to work as a train driver in the Rivne oblast.

He became involved in the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, founded in 1976. His role was at first secondary, however after the arrests of the UHG’s founders he took on the publishing of their bulletin.

He was arrested for a second time in December 1981, this time receiving a 10 year harsher regime labour camp sentence, to be followed by 5 years exile. He arrived at the notorious Perm 36 camp (the Urals) in November 1962.  He was pardoned under the Gorbachev amnesty in July 1987.

Mykhailo Horyn remained active in political life and in the human rights movement throughout the rest of his life.

Вічна памˈять   Eternal Memory

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