Military Wiki
Petro Grigorenko
Native name Петро Григорович Григоренко (Пётр Григорьевич Григоренко)
Born Petro Hryhorovych Hryhorenko (Pyotr Grigoryevich Grigorenko)
16 October [O.S. 3 October] 1907
the village of Borisovka, Taurida Governorate,  Russian Empire
Died 21 February 1987(1987-02-21) (aged 79)
New York City, USA
Nationality Ukrainian
Citizenship  Russian Empire (1907–1922) →  Soviet Union (1922–1977), United States (1977–1987)
Alma mater the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, the Military Engineering-Technical University, the Kuybyshev Military Engineering Academy, the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia
Occupation commanding officer, military scientist, cyberneticist
Known for human rights activism with participation in the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, the Working Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes, struggle against political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union
Political party the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Political movement dissident movement in the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Zinaida Mikhailovna Grigorenko
Children five sons: Anatoly, Andrew, Georgi, Oleg, Viktor
Military career
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army flag.svg Red Army / Soviet Army
Years of service 1939–1945
Rank Major General
Unit infantry division
Battles/wars battles of Khalkhin Gol and the Second World War

Order of Lenin Order of the Red Banner Order of the Red Banner Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class Medal for Battle Merit Order of the Red Star Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy" Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"

Order For Courage, 1st class

Petro Grigorenko or Petro Hryhorovych Hryhorenko or Pyotr Grigoryevich Grigorenko (Ukrainian language: Петро́ Григо́рович Григоре́нко , Russian: Пётр Григо́рьевич Григоре́нко, 16 October [O.S. 3 October] 1907 – 21 February 1987) was a high-ranked Soviet Army commander of Ukrainian descent, one of the founders of the human rights movement in the Soviet Union,[1] dissident and writer.

He was a professor of cybernetics at the Frunze Military Academy[2] and chairman of its cybernetic section[3] for 16 years.[4] He helped found the Moscow Helsinki Group and the Ukrainian Helsinki Group.[5][6] According to Joseph Alsop, Grigorenko publicly denounced the "totalitarianism that hides behind the mask of so-called Soviet democracy."[7]

Early life

Petro Grigorenko was born in Borisovka village[8]:46 in Taurida Governorate, Russian Empire (in present-day Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine).

In 1939, he graduated with honors from the Kuybyshev Military Engineering Academy and the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia.[9] He took part in the battles of Khalkhin Gol, against the Japanese on the Manchurian border in 1939, and in the Second World War.[10] He commanded troops in initial battles following 22 June 1941.[11] During the war, he also commanded an infantry division in the Baltic for three years.[12]

He went on a military career and reached high ranks during World War II. After the war, being a decorated veteran, he left active career and taught at the Frunze Military Academy, reaching the rank of a Major General.

In 1949, Grigorenko defended his Ph.D. thesis on the theme “Features of the organization and conduct of combined offensive battle in the mountains.”[13]

In 1960, he completed work on his doctoral thesis.[14] Over 70 of his scientific works on military science were published.[15]

Dissident activities

File:Meiman dissidents.gif

Soviet dissidents in the upper row are Naum Meiman, Sofiya Kallistratova, Petro Grigorenko, his wife Zinaida Grigorenko, Tatyana Velikanova's mother, the Priest Father Sergei Zheludkov and Andrei Sakharov; in the lower row are Genrikh Altunyan and Alexander Podrabinek. Photo taken on 16 October 1977[16]

In 1961, Petro Grigorenko started to openly criticize what he considered the excesses of the Khrushchev regime.[17]:151 He maintained that the special privileges of the political elite did not comply with the principles laid down by Lenin.[17]:151 Grigorenko formed a dissident group — The Group for the Struggle to Revive Leninism.[17]:151 Soviet psychiatrists sitting as legally constituted commissions to inquire into his sanity diagnosed him at least three times — in April 1964, August 1969, and November 1969.[18]:11 When arrested, Grigorenko was sent to Moscow's Lubyanka prison, and from there for psychiatric examination to the Serbsky Institute[17] where the first commission, which included Snezhnevsky and Lunts, diagnosed him as suffering from the mental disease in the form of a paranoid delusional development of his personality, accompanied by early signs of cerebral arteriosclerosis.[18]:11 Lunts, reporting later on this diagnosis, mentioned that the symptoms of paranoid development were "an overestimation of his own personality reaching messianic proportions" and "reformist ideas."[18]:11 Grigorenko was not responsible for his actions and was thereby forcibly committed to a special psychiatric hospital.[17]:151 While there, the government deprived him of his pension despite the fact that, by law, a mentally sick military officer was entitled to a pension.[17]:152 After six months, Grigorenko was found to be in remission and was released for outpatient follow-up.[17]:152 He required that his pension be restored.[17]:152 Although he began to draw pension again, it was severely reduced.[17]:152

He became much more active in his dissidence, stirred other people to protest some of the State's actions and received several warnings from the KGB.[17]:152 In 1968, after Grigorenko protested the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, arrested and ultimately committed to a mental hospital[19] until 26 June 1974 after 5 years of detention.[20] As Grigorenko had followers in Moscow, he was lured to the far-away Tashkent.[17]:151 While there, he was again arrested and examined by a psychiatric team.[18]:12 None of the manifestations or symptoms cited by the Lunts commission were found there by the second examination conducted under the chairmanship of Fyodor Detengof.[18]:12 The diagnosis and evaluation made by the commission was that "Grigorenko's [criminal] activity had a purposeful character, it was related to concrete events and facts... It did not reveal any signs of illness or delusions."[18]:11 The psychiatrists reported that he was not mentally sick, but responsible for his actions.[17]:152 He had firm convictions which were shared by many of his colleagues and were not delusional.[17]:152 Having evaluated the records of his preceding hospitalization, they concluded that he had not been sick at that time either.[17]:152 The KGB brought Grigorenko back to Moscow and, three months later, arranged a second examination at the Serbsky Institute.[17]:152 Once again, these psychiatrists found that he had "a paranoid development of the personality" manifested by reformist ideas.[17]:152 The commission, which included Lunts and was chaired by Morozov, recommended that he be recommitted to a special psychiatric hospital for the socially dangerous.[18]:12 Eventually, after almost four years, he was transferred to a regular mental hospital.[17]:152 On 17 January 1971 Grigorenko was asked whether he had changed his convictions and replied that "Convictions are not like gloves, one cannot easily change them".[21]

In 1971, Dr. Semyon Gluzman wrote an in-absentia psychiatric report on Grigorenko.[9][22][23] Gluzman came to the conclusion that Grigorenko was mentally sane and had been taken to mental hospitals for political reasons.[22] In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Gluzman was forced to serve seven years in labor camp for defending Grigorenko against the charge of insanity.[23][24] Amnesty International declared Grigorenko a prisoner of conscience.[25]

Grigorenko became the key defender of Crimean Tatars deported to Soviet Central Asia.[26] He advised the Tatar activists not to confine their protests to the USSR, but to appeal also to international organizations including the United Nations.[27]

Grigorenko was one of the first who questioned the official Soviet version of World War II history. He pointed out that just prior to the German attack on June 22, 1941, vast Soviet troops were concentrated in the area west of Białystok, deep in occupied Poland, getting ready for a surprise offensive, which made them vulnerable to be encircled in case of surprise German attack. His ideas were later advanced by Viktor Suvorov.

After publishing Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov’s book Stalin and the Soviet Communist Party: A Study in the Technology of Power, Grigorenko made and distributed its copies by photographing and typewriting.[28]:596 In 1976, Grigorenko helped found the Moscow Helsinki Group and the Ukrainian Helsinki Group.[4]

In the United States

On 20 December 1977, Grigorenko was allowed to go abroad for medical treatment.[29] His health was ruined during forcible confinement in KGB-run mental hospitals.[30] On 30 November 1977, Grigorenko arrived in the United States[31] and was stripped of his Soviet citizenship.[32] In Grigorenko's words, Leonid Brezhnev signed the decree of depriving Grigorenko of Soviet citizenship on the ground that he was undermining the prestige of the Soviet Union.[33] In the same year, he became a U.S. citizen.[34]

File:Petro Grigorenko monument.jpg

Monument at Petro Grigorenko's grave. Cemetery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Andrew in South Bound Brook, New Jersey

Being in USA since 1977, Grigorenko took an active part in the activities of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group foreign affiliate.[35] On 23 July 1978, Grigorenko made a statement condemning the trials of Soviet dissidents Anatoly Shcharansky, Aleksandr Ginzburg and Viktoras Petkus.[36]

In 1979 in New York, Grigorenko was examined by the team of psychologists and psychiatrists including Alan A. Stone, the then President of American Psychiatric Association.[37] The team came to the conclusion that they could find no evidence of mental disease in Grigorenko and his history consistent with mental disease in the past.[37] The conclusion was drawn up and publicized by Walter Reich.[38][39][40][41][42] Stone said Grigorenko's case confirms some of the accusations that psychiatry in the Soviet Union is sometimes employed as a tool of political repression.[43]

In 1981, Petro Grigorenko told about his psychiatric examinations, hospitalizations, life, and views in his memoirs V Podpolye Mozhno Vstretit Tolko Krys… (In Underground One Can Meet Only Rats…).[28] In 1982, the book was translated into English by Thomas P. Whitney under the title Memoirs[44] and reviewed by Alexander J. Motyl,[45] Raymond L. Garthoff,[46] John C. Campbell,[47] Adam Ulam,[48] Raisa Orlova and Lev Kopelev.[49]

In 1983, he said he considered the American political-economic system to be "the best that mankind has found to date."[50] In 1983, a stroke he suffered left him partially paralyzed.[51] Grigorenko died on 21 February 1987 in New York City.[4]

In 1991, a commission, composed of psychiatrists from all over the Soviet Union and led by Modest Kabanov, then director of the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute in St Petersburg, spent six months reviewing the Grigorenko files, drew up 29 thick volumes of legal proceedings,[1] and reversed the official diagnosis on Grigorenko in October 1991.[22]:73 In 1992, the official post-mortem forensic psychiatric commission of experts met at Grigorenko’s homeland removed the stigma of mental patient from him and confirmed that the debilitating treatment he underwent in high security psychiatric hospitals for many years was groundless.[52]:23 The 1992 psychiatric examination of Grigorenko was described by the Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal in its numbers 1–4 of 1992.[53][54]

Petro Grigorenko was married to Zinaida Mikhailovna Grigorenko[55] and had five sons Anatoly, Georgi, Oleg, Viktor and Andrew.[12] Two of them died while being children.[29] Andrew, an electrical engineer,[56] was declared a hereditary madman in 1975 and was expelled from the USSR to the USA where he lives now.[57] Andrew was repeatedly told that since his father was mentally ill, then he was hereditarily mentally ill as well, and if he would not stop his appearances in defense of human rights and his father, he was told to go to psikhushka.[15]

Name spelling versions

The different Latin spellings of Grigorenko's name exist due to the lack of uniform transliteration rules for the Ukrainian names in the middle of 20th century, when he became internationally known. The correct modern transliteration would be Petro Hryhorenko. However, according to the American identification documents of the late general the official spelling of his name was established as Petro Grigorenko. The same spelling is engraved on his gravestone at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Andrew in South Bound Brook, New Jersey, USA. The same spelling is also retained by his surviving American descendants: son Andrew and granddaughters Tatiana and Olga.

Honours and awards

Commemorative coin issued by the National Bank of Ukraine in Grigorenko's honor

Soviet Union
Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin
Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png Order of the Red Banner, twice
Order redstar rib.png Order of the Red Star
Order gpw1 rib.png Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class
CombatRibbon.png Medal for Battle Merit
OrderStGeorge4cl rib.png Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
20 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
30 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
30 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy"
40 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
50 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
Order for Bravery 1st Class of Ukraine.gif Order For Courage, 1st class

Books, interviews, letters

Further reading



  1. 1.0 1.1 Rich, Vera (16 November 1991). "Soviet Union admits to abuses of psychiatry". pp. 13. PMID 16041887. 
  2. Dornberg, John (1972). The new tsars: Russia under Stalin's heirs. Doubleday. p. 61. ISBN 0385052731. 
  3. Hertzen, Gustav von (2011). The spirit of the game: navigational AIDS for the next century. Eetos kustannus. p. 160. ISBN 1461117704. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Turning the pages back…". The Ukrainian Weekly. 13 October 1991. pp. 6, 11. 
  5. "Petro Grigorenko, 79 human rights activist". Ocala Star-Banner. 23 February 1987.,3920146&hl=com. 
  6. "Grigorenko, rights activist, dies at 79". The Free Lance-Star. 23 February 1987.,3770573&hl=com. 
  7. Chomsky, Noam (21 August 1969). "A reply to Joseph Alsop". 
  8. Abuse of psychiatry for political repression in the Soviet Union: hearing, ninety-second congress, second session. Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1975. p. 46. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Gluzman, Semyon [Семён Глузман] (2010) (in Russian). A comprehensive in absentia psychiatric opinion on the case of Grigorenko Pyotr Grigoryevich, b. 1907, an Ukrainian, Moscow resident (restored on the basis of a Samizdat copy). Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  10. Reddaway, Peter (1972). Uncensored Russia: protest and dissent in the Soviet Union. New York: American Heritage Press. p. 127. ISBN 0070513546. 
  11. Weeks, Albert (2002). Stalin's other war: Soviet grand strategy, 1939–1941. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 95. ISBN 0742521915. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Barron, James (23 February 1987). "Petro Grigorenko dies in exile in US". The New York Times. 
  13. (in ru) Казнимые сумасшествием: Сборник документальных материалов о психиатрических преследованиях инакомыслящих в СССР / Редакторы: А. Артемова, Л. Рар, М. Славинский. Франкфурт-на-Майне: Посев. 1971. pp. 118. Archived from the original on 3 February 2010. 
  14. "Григоренко Пётр Григорьевич (1907-1987)" (in ru). The Sakharov Center. Retrieved 20 July 2011.  (The biography of Grigorenko on the website of the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center)
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Генерал Григоренко" (in Russian). General Grigorenko. Radio Liberty. 14 December 2014. 
  16. Подрабинек, Александр (2014) (in Russian). Диссиденты [Dissidents]. Moscow: АСТ. ISBN 978-5-17-082401-4. 
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 17.14 17.15 17.16 Bursten, Ben (2001). Psychiatry on trial: fact and fantasy in the courtroom. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1078-7. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 Stone, Alan (1985). Law, Psychiatry, and Morality: Essays and Analysis. American Psychiatric Pub. ISBN 0-88048-209-5. 
  19. "Gen. Petro Grigorenko seriously ill". The Ukrainian Weekly. 12 February 1984. p. 4. 
  20. "Grigorenko thanks those who worked for his release from a Soviet mental asylum". Amnesty International Newsletter. August 1974. p. 2. Archived from the original on 26 October 2015. 
  21. Barron, John (1974). KGB: the secret work of Soviet secret agents. Reader's Digest Press. p. 2. ISBN 0883490099. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Medicine betrayed: the participation of doctors in human rights abuses. Zed Books. 1992. p. 73. ISBN 1-85649-104-8. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 Voren, Robert van (2009-01-01) (in en). On Dissidents and Madness: From the Soviet Union of Leonid Brezhnev to the "Soviet Union" of Vladimir Putin. Rodopi. pp. 194. ISBN 9042025859. 
  24. Sabshin, Melvin (2009). Changing American psychiatry: a personal perspective. American Psychiatric Pub. pp. 95. ISBN 1-58562-307-5. 
  25. (PDF, immediate download) Prisoners of conscience in the USSR: Their treatment and conditions. London: Amnesty International Publications. 1975. p. 118. ISBN 0900058137. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015. 
  26. Глузман, Семён (14 December 2007). "О чем не написал самиздат" (in Russian). Mirror Weekly. 
  27. Redlich, Shimon (1974). "Jewish appeals in the USSR: An expression of national revival". pp. 24–37. Digital object identifier:10.1080/13501677408577192. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Григоренко, Пётр (1981) (in ru). В подполье можно встретить только крыс… [In Underground One Can Meet Only Rats…]. Нью-Йорк: Детинец. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Алещенко, Владимир (24 October 1997). "Обреченный говорить правду" (in Russian). Mirror Weekly. 
  30. Knight, Amy (Autumn 1993). "The fate of the KGB archives". pp. 582–586. Digital object identifier:10.2307/2499726. JSTOR 2499726. 
  31. Dlaboha, Ihor (4 December 1977). "Grigorenko arrives in U.S.". The Ukrainian Weekly. pp. 1, 8. 
  32. Saul, Norman (2014). Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet foreign policy. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 148. ISBN 1442244372. 
  33. "Интервью с Петром Григорьевичем Григоренко" (in Russian). 2013. 
  34. "Soviet dissident Pyotr G. Grigorenko, a World War II general". UPI. 31 December 1986. 
  35. "Права человека в России", Human rights network, in Russian
  36. "Gen. Grigorenko condemns trials (a statement by Gen. Petro Grigorenko condemning the trials of Soviet dissidents Anatoly Shcharansky, Aleksandr Ginzburg and Viktoras Petkus)". The Ukrainian Weekly. 23 July 1978. p. 2. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 Abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union: hearing before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, House of Representatives, Ninety-eighth Congress, first session, September 20, 1983. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1984. pp. 74. 
  38. Reich, Walter (November 1980). "The case of General Grigorenko: a psychiatric reexamination of a Soviet dissident". pp. 303–323. Digital object identifier:10.1521/00332747.1980.11024079. PMID 6999519. 
  39. Reich, Walter (1980). "The case of General Grigorenko: a second opinion". pp. 9–24. PMID 11634905. 
  40. Reich, Walter (13 May 1979). "Grigorenko Gets a Second Opinion". The New York Times Magazine. 
  41. Reich, Walter [Уолтер Рейч] (2013) (in Russian). A Second Opinion. 
  42. (PDF, immediate download) Implementation of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe: findings and recommendations five years after Helsinki: report submitted to the Congress of the United States by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Washington, D.С.: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1980. p. 154. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016. 
  43. "Americans say Soviet dissident is sane". The Argus-Press. 16 May 1979. p. 2.,1802990&hl=com. 
  44. Grigorenko, Petr (1982). Memoirs (translated by Thomas P. Whitney). New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-01570-X. 
  45. Motyl, Alexander (December 1984). "Memoirs by Petro G. Grigorenko". pp. 534–536. JSTOR 41036232. 
  46. Garthoff, Raymond (Spring 1984). "Memoirs by Petro G. Grigorenko; Inside the Soviet Army by Viktor Suvorov". pp. 93–94. Digital object identifier:10.2307/2150260. JSTOR 2150260. 
  47. Campbell, John (Spring 1983). "Memoirs by Petro Grigorenko". pp. 984. Digital object identifier:10.2307/20041606. JSTOR 20041606. 
  48. Ulam, Adam (April 1983). "Review: the lives of Peter Grigorenko". pp. 197–200. Digital object identifier:10.2307/129646. 
  49. "Die Erinnerungen Pjotr Grigorenkos : Der Hauptheld ist die Wahrheit" (in German). Die Zeit. 28 May 1982. 
  50. "Ex-Soviet General favors buildup of US military". The Gainesville Sun. 8 January 1983.,2087798&hl=com. 
  51. "Soviet dissident dies in New York". UPI. 23 February 1987. 
  52. Коротенко, Ада; Аликина, Наталия (2002) (in ru). Киев: Издательство «Сфера». pp. 23. ISBN 966-7841-36-7. 
  53. Савенко, Юрий (2009). "20-летие НПА России". pp. 5–18. ISSN 1028-8554. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  54. Савенко, Юрий (2004). "Отчетный доклад о деятельности НПА России за 2000-2003 гг.". ISSN 1028-8554. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  55. "In the psychiatric hospitals". Amnesty International Publications. 1976. p. 59. 
  56. Nadler, Gerald (26 April 1978). "Dissident paints grim view of Russia". Ottawa Citizen. p. 66.,3124989&hl=com. 
  57. Сулькин, Олег (19 July 2012). "Сын генерала Петра Григоренко готовит сборник памяти отца" (in Russian). General Petro Grogorenko's son is preparing a collection in memory of his father. Voice of America. 

External links

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