Ivan Svitlichny

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Ivan Oleksiyovych Svitlichny
Native name Іва́н Олексі́йович Світли́чний
Born (1929-09-20)September 20, 1929
Polovynkino, Ukrainian SSR
Died October 25, 1992(1992-10-25) (aged 63)
Kiev, Ukraine
Nationality Ukrainian
Citizenship Soviet Union
Alma mater Kharkov University
Occupation literary critic, translator, editor
Known for Soviet dissident
Movement Ukrainian national movement

Ivan Oleksiyovych Svitlichny (Svetlichny; Ukrainian: Іва́н Олексі́йович Світли́чний; 1929–1992) was a Ukrainian poet, literary critic, and Soviet dissident.


Ivan Svitlichny was born on 20 September 1929 in Polovykino, Luhansk Oblast to a family of farmers.[1][2]

In 1952 he graduated from the philological faculty at Kharkov University; in 1954 he gained his PhD at Shevchenko Institute of Literature in Kiev. From 1954 to 1965 he worked as an editor at the literary magazine Dnepr.[1]

Svitlichny became close to Vasyl Symonenko and helped circulate his poems in samizdat (typescript literature) and magnitizdat (unofficial audio tape recordings).[2] Svitlichny's poetry in turn was translated into Russian by dissident Yuli Daniel.[2]

In the early 1960s, Svitlichny was one of the founders of the Club of Creative Youth in Kiev, the club of Ukrainian left-wing intellectuals was closely watched by the Ukrainian KGB. In August 1965 he was arrested for his involvement in the club and was imprisoned for one year in labour camp.[1]

In January 1971 Svitlichny along with 18 others was arrested in connection with the case of Yaroslav Dobosh. Dobosh was a 24-year-old Belgian of Ukrainian roots who had been recruited by a Ukrainian nationalist organisation to distribute anti-Communist literature in Ukraine. Svitlichny was among Dobosh's main contacts, he was sentenced to seven years of forced labour and five years of exile.[2] He served his time Perm-35 labour camp.[1]

Svitlichny's grave on the Baikove Cemetery

In 1977, Andrei Sakharov included Svitlichny's name in an appeal to Jimmy Carter.[3]

Svitlichny was released in January 1983, he returned in a gravely ill condition, having suffered a stroke in prison camp. For the last three years of his life he could not move or speak.[2]

Ivan Svitlychny died on 25 October 1992, he is buried in Kiev at the Baikove Cemetery.[2]

Svitlychny was made a member of the International PEN Club in 1978 and was a member of the Union of Writers of Ukraine in 1990;[2] in 1989 Svitlychny was awarded the Vasyl Stus Prize.[2] In 1994 he was posthumously awarded the Shevchenko National Prize.[2]

Svitlichny was the brother of dissident and human rights activist Nadiya Svitlychna.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Ivan Svetlichny". The Independent. 1992-12-21. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "SVITLYCHNY, Ivan Oleksiyovych :: museum.khpg.org". museum.khpg.org. Archived from the original on 2016-05-30. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  3. ^ Times (1977-01-29). "List of 15 Dissidents In Appeal by Sakharov". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  4. ^ "7.13 News in brief". A Chronicle of Current Events. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2016-06-11.