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Grivnina (Irina) papers
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  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Collection(s)

  • Title: Irina Grivnina papers
    Date (inclusive): 1928-2013
    Collection Number: 2018C13
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: In Russian, English and Dutch
    Physical Description: 12 manuscript boxes, 11 oversize boxes, 2 oversize folders (13.05 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, memoirs, other writings, printed matter, photographs, visual materials, and sound and video recordings relating to civil liberties in the Soviet Union, and especially to misuse of psychiatry for political repression in the Soviet Union.
    Creator: Grivnina, Irina
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    Box 23 closed. The remainder of the collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 2016.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Irina Grivnina papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Biographical Note

    Irina Grivnina (b. 1945) received her education in electronics and mathematics at the Aeronautics University in Moscow and had worked as a mathematician for eleven years. In 1977 she started participating in the publication of the Samizdat ("self-publishing") magazine revealing psychiatric repression in the Soviet Union. Grivnina was a member of the Moscow Helsinki group. In 1980 she was arrested by the KGB and spent fourteen months in the Lefortovo prison. The court trial resulted in sentencing her to exile in Kazakhstan, where she spent two years. In 1983 Grivnina returned to Moscow and in 1985 she emigrated with her family to the Netherlands. Since then she has lived in Amsterdam, writing and translating for Dutch, American, and Russian newspapers and magazines and for the BBC Russian Service programs. Irina Grivnina is the author of six books published in the Netherlands; two of them were also published in Russian.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The documents in Irina Grivnina papers reflect her participation in the dissident movement, arrest, prison term and internal exile, and fight for emigration. Her archive also documents her work as journalist and writer.
    The collection is divided into ten series; some of them are described below.
    The Biographical file consists mostly of Grivnina's trial documents and a number of complaints filed by Grivnina and her husband Vladimir Neplekhovich, in connections with her arrest, imprisonment, and especially exile. (In exile Irina was pregnant, and local KGB authorities insisted that she terminate her pregnancy.) The file also includes personal documents of Vladimir Neplekhovich reflecting complications he encountered at work because of Grivnina's dissident activities and arrest.
    The Correspondence series contains conventional and electronic mail from Grivnina's family and friends. Attention should be paid to letters from Daniel Jaffe (an American law student/writer/lawyer) who met and befriended Grivnina in Moscow. Their correspondence lasted for twenty years, from 1978 to 1998.
    Irina Grivnina wrote six novels in Russian; most of them were translated into Dutch and published in the Netherlands. Only one of her novels was published in Russian. Russian language novels and memoirs, mostly unpublished, are included in this collection. As a journalist, Irina Grivnina wrote extensively on political and cultural issues for newspapers and magazines and interviewed many prominent political and cultural figures from various countries for her BBC programs. These materials, as well as her translations, book reviews, lectures, and speeches on various occasions make Speeches and Writings series a valuable research resource.
    The Writings by Others series includes stage adaptations by famous Russian theater director Mikhail Levitin (typescripts, unpublished); two plays by bard, dissident, and poet Yulii Kim; an essay by Vladimir Bukovskii.
    In emigration Grivnina continued human rights activities participating in various conferences and congresses as a presenter or accredited journalist. The Congresses and Conferences series includes working materials of such events highlighting this side of Grivnina's activities.
    The Subject File consists of personal documents of Grivnina's grandparents including work evaluation and KPSS member assessment of her grandfather, Colonel Pavel Al'tshuller, and Soviet military staff maps of the Stalingrad battle that he collected, and material gathered by Grivnina for a book she planned to write about Andeĭ Saklharov.
    Photographs and slides in the Visual Materials contain images of famous Soviet and foreign writers, poets, and political figures (Vladimir Voinovich, Semen Lipkin, Inna Lisnianskaia, Venedikt Erofeev, Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Kendzaburō Ōe, Gunter Grass, Pavel Kohout, Václav Havel, and others) and of Soviet human rights activists (Mustafa Dzhemilev, Viacheslav Bakhmin, Vladimir Bukovskii, Aleksandr Podrabinek, and others), as well as photo reports from the Poésie International festival in Rotterdam, Pushkin conference in Bonn, Prague conference of dissidents residing in Russia and abroad, and the Glasnost' and Perstroika Congress. The series also includes photographs depicting Irina and her family in exile and in emigration.
    The Sound and Video Recordings consist of interviews conducted by Grivnina or interviews of her.
    While in prison, Grivnina worked hard to stay strong. For that purpose, in violation of prison rules, she knitted a sweater for herself and sewed a night gown out of her husband's shirt. She also treasured a pair of ears created for the Poésie International festival and signed by famous Russian writers and poets. When she emigrated to the Netherlands she was met by people holding textile signs "Irina Grivnina, Workers on Human Rights most welcome" and "Irina Grivnina Released." These items and other memorabilia can be found in the Memorabilia series.

    Related Collection(s)

    Aleksandr Ginzburg papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives; Vladimir Bukovskii papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives; Valentin Turchin papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives; Yuri Yarim-Agaev papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives; A.S. Esenin-Vol'pin papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Dissenters -- Soviet Union
    Civil rights -- Soviet Union
    Psychiatry -- Soviet Union
    Russians -- Netherlands