In memory of Natalya Gorbanevskaya

In my email contacts list, a "green circle" next to the name of Natalya Gorbanevskaya is no longer illuminated.

Natalya Gorbanevskaya
Natalya Yevgenyevna Gorbanevskaya died on 29 November 2013.

In Wikipedia it says about her: Russian poet, translator, human rights activist, member of the dissident movement in the USSR.

I was introduced to Natalya Yevgenyevna by her son Yaroslav Gorbanevsky, a Russian correspondent of Radio France International service. In 2007, our Association for Human Rights in Central Asia issued a petition for collection of signatures in support of the Uzbek human rights activist Umida Niazova . Everyone who learned this story was shocked that Umida was sent to jail in Uzbekistan using a provocateur and her infant son ended up in Kyrgyzstan. Umida was under a threat of a long-term imprisonment, her son was constantly crying and called for his mother. Soon after this petition was issued, Natalya Gorbanevskaya sent us a short message: "Please put my signature on the petition in defense of Umida Niazova and keep me informed on the news on this case". A few hours later we received the signature of the writer and former political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky. He explained that he had received the petition from Natalya Gorbanevskaya. Then we received a few more signatures of people who were referred by Natalya Yevgenyevna.

Natalya Yevgenyevna took a very close interest in her story until Umida Niyazova was freed and she was very glad when Umida and her son were reunited.

In February of this year, I sent her another petition "No second Andijan tragedy!". We had some time discussing this topic in the chat online, and then she helped us to collect signatures of dissidents.

Each time, turning to her for support, I knew that I would have to explain the reasons for making the petition and who it was aimed at. She did not always agree with our wording and offerred her constructive criticism. For me personally and for many members of the Board of our Association, Natal Yevgenyevna’s support was very important, her confidence was passed on to us. She knew how to defend a position, and was a person of principle.

I often read Natalia Gorbanevskaya’s blog to learn her opinion about various events. In my library, I have a collections of her poetry, a few of her poems I know by heart.

I will remember her with gratitude. Natalia Yevgenyevna supported us in our work and struggle for the liberation of Uzbek political prisoners. She helped us, the citizens of Uzbekistan, to feel the power of social influence on the regime for which human life has no value.

Natalia Gorbanevskaya lived a difficult and legendary life.

We cherish her memory.