October 16, 1909 - December 11, 1994
Zinaida Grigorenko was born at a secluded station near the town of Bogoyavlensk in the Ryazan Region, where her father Mikhail was serving a "perpetual exile" for participation in the armed uprising in Moscow in 1905. Zinaida’s father has been a member of the RSDLP (B.) Since 1903. Her older brother and sister also joined the Communist (Bolshevik) party until 1917. It is not surprising that all the other brothers and sisters, including Zinaida, subsequently became members of the Communist Party.
In 1936, Zinaida’s first husband, Vissarion Kolokolkin, was arrested and died under torture in custody. Zinaida herself was also arrested and spent two years (1937-1938) in the Butyrka prison.
In the late 1930s, she met Petro Grigorenko and later became his wife.
Zinaida is an decorated veteran of World War II (guard senior sergeant).
From the mid-60s she is one of the pioneers of the Human Rights Movement in the USSR. She gained particular fame as a defender of her husband, General Petro Grigorenko, one of the founders of the Human Rights Movement in the USSR and a world-famous fighter for Human Rights and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities. For her human rights activities, she was persecuted by the communist leaders and was expelled from the Communist Party. Together with her husband she returned to the bosom of the Orthodox Church.
In 1977, after Petro Grigorenko was deprived of his Soviet citizenship, she was forced to stay in emigration.
Zinaida Grigorenko died in New York City and was buried next to her husband and son Oleg at the Ukrainian Orthodox cemetery of South Bound Brook, New Jersey.