Grigorenko, Petro

Image - Petro Grigorenko Image - Petro Grigorenko

Grigorenko, Petro [Hryhorenko; Григоренко, Петро], b 16 October 1907 in Borysivka, Nohaisk county, Tavriia gubernia, d 21 February 1987 in New York. Former major general in the Soviet Army, military engineer, and dissident. Grigorenko attended the Kharkiv Polytechnical Institute (1929–31), the Moscow Military Engineering Academy (1931–4), and the General Staff Academy in Moscow (1937–9). Serving in the Far East after 1939, he was reprimanded in 1941 for criticizing Joseph Stalin’s purge of the Red Army. A division commander on the German front (1943–5), he taught at the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow (1945–61), became head of the Faculty of Military Cybernetics, and was promoted to the rank of general in 1956.

On 7 September 1961, at a local Moscow Communist Party conference, Grigorenko advocated democratization of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and criticized corrupt officials, the privileges of leading Communists, and the repression directed against Communist reformers. He was subsequently fired from his post, transferred to the Far East, and removed from active service. He founded (1963) the League of Struggle for the Revival of Leninism and publicly championed the right of the Crimean Tatars, deported under Joseph Stalin, to return to their homeland in the Crimea. Arrested in February 1964, he was committed to special psychiatric prisons in 1964–5 and 1969–74. He was one of the founders of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group (1976) and its representative to the Moscow Helsinki Group. In 1977 he left for medical treatment in the United States and was stripped of his Soviet citizenship in absentia, thus preventing his return. He is the author of over 80 works in military science, as well as dissident writings; his memoirs have appeared in Russian (1973, 1976), Ukrainian (1984), and other languages.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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