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Irina Georgievna Ratushinskaia

poetess , dissident

Irina Ratushinskaia, USSR Poetess, dissident.


Ratushinskaia, Irina was born in 1954 in Odessa.


Graduated in physics from Odessa University, 1976.


From a russified family of Polish gentry. Worked at the Odessa Pedagogical Institute, 1977. Married a young scientist, I. Gerashchenko, 1979, and moved to Kiev.

Began writing poetry in her teens, but was unable to publish her work. Tried to emigrate, 1980, when she was already known as a poetess through samizdat. Arrested after taking part in a human rights demonstration in Moscow, 1981, but soon released.

Re-arrested, 1982, and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and 5 years exile. In labour camps in Mordovia. Became a cause celebre in the West.

After international pressure, released in October 1986, having lost 42 lb in weight. Allowed to emigrate to the West. In May 1987, stripped of Soviet citizenship for ‘deceitful propaganda intended to win the West’s trust’.

Travelled extensively in Europe and the USA.