On October 30, 1974, political prisoners Kronid Lyubarski and Aleksei Murzhenko in Dubravlag established The Day of Political Prisoners to achieve recognition of such a status, abolition of restrictions on correspondence, parcels, and packages, increase in the number of visits with relatives, and receive full medical care.
The main solidarity action on this day was a symbolic one-day hunger strike, which was held not only by political prisoners but also by many free people.
The initiative was quickly supported, as you can see by reading memoirs of political prisoners in the USSR. Taking food on this day was considered «the last thing on Earth».
Even though prison administrations across the country punished anyone who refused to eat on this day by throwing them into SHIZOs and punishment cells.
The Soviet system collapsed, and at some point in our history, there were no political prisoners left in Russia.
The Day of Political Prisoners was replaced by the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Repressions. The logic was simple: why do we need a day of political prisoners if we have no political prisoners? Let it be a day of memory and history.
For many years prior to this day the annual amazing action «Returning the Names» was held.
People lined up in a huge line to read one or two randomly selected names from an impossibly huge list of our fellow citizens who had been innocently thrown into prison, camp, or were executed.
«Returning the Names» was organized by the human rights and educational center «Memorial».
Today, in 2023, «Memorial» no longer exists; it has been officially liquidated by the authorities. However, there are political prisoners again, and quite a lot of them.
The authorities in Russia return to their roots: arrests, repressions, closed trials, and demonstrative lawlessness under the label of «court».
In this situation, we think it is right for us to turn to the roots and traditions.
We want to organize the action on October 30 and return the former name, The Day of Political Prisoners, which is relevant again.
Dictators and tyrants of the planet are not tired of emphasizing their closeness to each other. It would be right for political prisoners of all countries to show solidarity too. That is why we consider The Day of Political Prisoners to be an international day.
We call on all political prisoners and those who want to support them to join the action and refuse to eat on this day.