March 12 in Russian history

1899: The first international ice hockey match in Russia. Russian team Sport plays against the team of British citizens living in St.Petersburg. The game took place on the ice of Neva. The score is 4:4.

1940: The end of the Soviet-Finnish war known as the Winter War. On the one hand, USSR reached all the planned goals: the border was moved farther from Leningrad and Murmansk, obtained the Karelian isthmus, islands in the Gulf of Finland, Ladoga lake and territories in the North. On the other hand, the international prestige of the USSR both as a partner and as a possible enemy was seriously damaged. The consequences were much worse for Finland. The worst being that this war forced Finland to co-operate with the Nazi Germany, turning the country into the losing side of the WWII.

1964: General Pyotr Grigorenko is sent to the psychiatric investigation. General-major Grigorenko was born in 1907. In 1934 he graduated from the Academy of Military Engineering and in 1939 from the Academy of the Army General Staff. In 1939 he was granted an audience with A.Vyshinsky, the Prosecutor General of the USSR and informed him of "abuses of power" by the NKVD officials in Zaporozhye. The information was provided by Grigorenko's brother Ivan, who was arrested, and later released. Some time later a number of the organizers of repressions in Zaporozhye were arrested themselves. Grigorenko wrote later: "Only many years after I understood that the case ended to my satisfaction only because it coincided with the change of the leaders in NKVD. It was the new broom of Beria." After the war General Grigorenko works in the M.Frunze Military Academy. In 1961, he says a speech on a regional Communist Party congress, where he says: "We approve the draft programme where the cult of personality is condemned, but do we do everything possible to avoid the restoration of such cult?" He proposed to democratize the elections, to promote the accountability of the party authorities and their rotation, to abolish high salaries of the party officials. He was fired from the Academy after this speech.

In 1962-1964 Grigorenko works in the army on the Far East. In 1963 he creates "The Union of Struggle for Restoration of Leninism". He wrote leaflets where he demanded to dismiss bureaucrats, called for free elections, for the control of the people over the authorities, for the "replaceability" (is this the word for the possibility to dismiss the officials unable to cope with their tasks?) On the February 1, 1964 he and his sons who were also members of the Union, are arrested. He was excluded from the party, discharged to rank-and-file soldier, stripped of all awards and sent to the Leningrad special psychiatric hospital. After the resignment of Khrushchev he was release from the hospital. He wrote a book published only in Samizdat, where he accused Stalin of many errors in the first years of the war, which led to many tragedies. In 1967 he unofficially read lectures on the history of the World War II to the students of the Moscow State University.

The experience of the "Union of Struggle for Restoration of Leninism" led him to the conclusion that the underground resistance to the Soviet power is useless. "We know that in the underground one can meet only rats," he wrote. These words became the title of his book, which is available online in Russian (see В подполье можно встретить только крыс). In 1967 he supported the national movement of the Crimean Tatars, who demanded to allow them to return from deportation to Crimea. In 1969 he was sent to the psychiatric hospital again, where he was diagnosed in the following way: "suffers from a mental disorder in the form of pathological (paranoid) personality with reformatory ideas."

In 1974 under the pressure of the international community he was released. In 1976 he joined the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group and becomes a co-founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. In 1977 he goes to the USA to meet with his son, who emigrated earlier. Some months later his Soviet citizenship was cancelled and he lost the right to return to the USSR. The US army offered him a position in the West Point academy, but Grigorenko refused: "I am a Soviet -- former Soviet -- general and I cannot teach our enemies." In 1987, Pyotr Grigorenko died in New York.

In 1997 President Yeltsin signed the decree "On the perpetuation of the memory of Grigorenko P.G.". President of Ukraine L.Kuchma awarded P.Grigorenko with the order "For the courage". An avenue in Kiev is named after P.Grigorenko. Crimean Tatars built a monument to the general in Simferopol.

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