Irina Ratushinskaya…

Posted July 23, 2017 2:01 am by Joanna Bogle

the heroic Russian poet has died. She was 63.  Imprisoned by the KGB, she became a voice for freedom.

No, I am not afraid…Her poems, smuggled out to the West, had drawn  her plight to our attention.

Keston College, headed by Rev Michael Bordeaux spread news of this remarkable young writer, with a leaflet carrying the message from her husband  Igor “Help me to save my wife”. Campaigns, vigils of prayer…I remember sacrificing a bedsheet to paint her name on it, to make an emormous banner, held aloft on struts of wood… a memorable Christmas Eve, standing with placards outside the Soviet Embassy, and passers-by giving us support on their way home from Midnight Mass… the splendid Rev Dick Rodgers undertook a public fast…

After her release, she was flown to Britain… a vast crowd greeted her at Heathrow Airport…the conversations we had with her and Igor stay in the mind. Most of all, I remember her telling us  about the experience that she described in one of her poems -of being in a freezing, filthy prison cell at night, crouched against a wall, and experiencing a sudden glow of joy and warmth: some one out there is praying for me at this moment...

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