Marcheko's Final Hunger Strike, and Death
Little is known of his last period of imprisonment, although in December 1983 he was badly beaten by guards, losing consciousness as a result.
Over the next few years, Bogoraz began a public campaign to free all Soviet political prisoners, which proved ultimately successful when Gorbachev began mass releases in 1987. However, this proved too late for Marchenko, who had died not long before Gorbachev's announcement - ironically, from the effects of a hunger strike demanding the release of all Soviet political prisoners.
This last hunger strike started on August 4, 1986 when he wrote a letter to the Helsinki review conference in Vienna. Sadly, there was little reaction to his hunger strike from the world press. It continued through November, although Bogoraz believed that he ended it around the end of November, when he was placed on the sick list.
Although there were indications shortly before his death that the Soviet authoritites were on the verge of releasing him, Marchenko died before that could happen, on December 8, after being hospitalized the day before.
The exact cause of his death is not certain; some reports indicate problems with his heart, others a stroke. However, it was certainly caused by the effects of the long hunger strike.
Famous quotes containing the words death, final and/or hunger:
“Sinks to the deep abyss where Satan crawls
Where horrid Death and Despair lies.”
—Thomas Traherne (16361674)
“Her wrongs are ... indissolubly linked with all undefended woe, all helpless suffering, and the plenitude of her rights will mean the final triumph of all right over might, the supremacy of the moral forces of reason and justice and love in the government of the nation. God hasten the day.”
—Anna Julia Cooper (18591964)
“Nor seek, for this is also sooth,
To hunger fiercely after truth,
Lest all thy toiling only breeds
New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth
Saving in thine own heart.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)