Ilya Gabay

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Ilya Yankelevich Gabay
Native name Илья Янкелевич Габай
Born (1935-10-09)October 9, 1935
Died October 20, 1973(1973-10-20) (aged 38)
Nationality Russian
Citizenship Soviet Union
Alma mater Moscow State Pedagogical Institute
Occupation teacher
Known for human rights activism
Movement dissident movement in the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Galina Viktorovna Gabay (Samohena)
Children Alexei, Maria

Ilya Yankelevich Gabay (Russian: Илья́ Янкеле́вич Габа́й; 9 October 1935, Baku – 20 October 1973, Moscow; buried in Baku) was a key figure in the civil rights movement in the Soviet Union. Gabay was also a literature teacher, poet, and writer. During his lifetime his works were published only in samizdat.

During the trial of writers Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel in 1965, Gabay took part in the "glasnost meeting" calling for an open and fair trial for the writers. After a similar demonstration as a response to the Trial of the Four on January 22, 1967, he was arrested and spent five months in Lefortovo prison. He was released in June 1967, and his case was closed.

After his release, he together with Yuli Kim and Peter Yakir co-authored an appeal warning against Re-Stalinization.[1] He also assisted Natalya Gorbanevskaya in editing the Chronicle of Current Events, most notably for issue No. 3 dedicated to the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Through fellow dissident Pyotr Grigorenko, Gabay also became involved in the struggle for the Crimean Tatar autonomy and helped edit its samizdat publications.

In March 1968, Gabay was dismissed as an editor at the Institute of the Peoples of Asia of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union and in May 1969, arrested and imprisoned. In January 1970 he was tried on the charge of preparing and circulating samizdat materials and sentenced to three years in a general-regime camp. Shortly before the end of the sentence, he was also questioned in Moscow in connection with the case against the Chronicle of Current Events ("Case No. 24").

After Gabay's release in May 1972, he remained unemployed and was subjected to KGB harassment. He committed suicide on October 20, 1973.[2]

He was the husband of Galina Viktorovna Gabay (née Samohena), and the father of two children, Alexei Ilyich Gabay (2/13/69) and Maria Ilyinichna Gabay (6/21/73).


  • Gabai, Ilya (1990). Posokh: Stikhi i poemy [The walking staff: Poems and verses] (in Russian). Moskva: Izd-vo "Prometeĭ" MGPI im V.I. Lenina. ISBN 978-5-7042-0261-5. 
  • Gabai, Ilya; Edelman, G. S. (1994). "Vybrannye mesta": stichi, proza, publicistika, pisʹma. Istorija inakomyslija (in Russian). Moskva: Vestʹ-VIMO. ISBN 978-5-88633-006-9. 
  • Gabay, Ilya; Gabaĭ-Fiken, G. (2011). "...Gorstka knig da druzhestva..." (in Russian). Boston, MA: M-Graphics Publishing. ISBN 978-1-934881-44-6. 
  • Gabay, Ilya (2015). Pis'ma iz zaklyucheniya (1970–1972) [Letters from prison (1970–1972)] (in Russian). Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. ISBN 978-5-4448-0417-9. 


  1. ^ К деятелям науки, культуры, искусства // Процесс четырёх: Сборник документов о суде над А. Гинзбургом, Ю. Галансковым, А. Добровольским, В. Лашковой / Сост. П. М. Литвинов. — Франкфурт-на-Майне: «Посев», 1968. — С. 282—288 (совместно с Ю. Кимом и П. Якиром)
  2. ^ De Baets, Antoon (2001). Censorship of historical thought: A world guide, 1945–2000. Greenwood. p. 503. ISBN 0313311935. 

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