In 1961, Kuznetsov was arrested for the first time and served seven years in Soviet prisons for making overtly political speeches in poetry readings at Mayakovsky Square in central Moscow and for his involvement in publishing samizdat. Among those also attending these informal gatherings were Yuri Galanskov, Vladimir Osipov and, the youngest of all, Vladimir Bukovsky.
The Leningrad plane hijackers case
A few years later Kuznetsov became one of the organizers of the Leningrad plane hijackers or Dymshits–Kuznetsov hijacking affair in June 1970. Arrested for "high treason", he faced the death sentence but after lodging an appeal and international protests against his execution his sentence was replaced with fifteen years in prison and labour camp. This case "opened the doors of emigration to thousands of Soviet Jews." In 1970 Kuznetsov shared a prison cell with Danylo Shumuk for five years.
Literary and other activities
Kuznetsov is a member of the Pen Club and has been widely published in European, US and Israeli media. He is the author of three novels: Prison Diary (1973), Mordovian Marathon (1979) (both written secretly in prison and smuggled abroad) and Russian Romance (1984). All three have been translated into many languages. In 1974, Prison Diary won the Gulliver Award in France, being declared the best book written by a foreign author.
In 2005 Kuznetsov participated in "They Chose Freedom", a four-part television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident movement. He currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel and is a board member of Soviet dissident aid foundation The Gratitude Fund.
- Edward Kuznetsov biography at The Gratitude Fund
- Edward Kuznetsov biography at "Gulag authors and their memoirs", Sakharov Centre (in Russian)
- Operation Wedding, a documentary about the hijacking affair, directed by Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, daughter of the group's leader.
- "Alexander Ginzburg and the Resistance to Totalitarian Evil, Then and Now" FrontPage magazine, a 2002 interview with Edward Kuznetsov, Vladimir Bukovsky and Yuri Yarim-Agaev
- "Gulag Day", FrontPage magazine, a 2002 interview with Vladimir Bukovsky, Edward Kuznetsov, Yuri Yarim-Agaev, Paul Hollander and Richard Pipes
- (Russian) Interview with the "Memorial" society
- (Russian) Interview at Sem40
- (Russian) Biography and books at Belousenko library