Putin, opposition gather to honor prominent rights activist

11 December, 2018, 18:03 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Lyudmila Alexeyeva: Russian human rights activist dies aged 91

Kremlin officials and Russia's opposition on Tuesday gathered to pay tribute to Russia's most prominent human rights activist, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, who died at age 91.

Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Kremlin Human Rights Council, said Alexeyeva died on Saturday in a Moscow hospital.

Participated in the underground publishing of the Soviet human rights Bulletin "Chronicle of current events", in 1976 became one of the founders of the human rights Moscow Helsinki group.

She was responsible for reviving the group in 1989 and returned to Russian Federation in 1993 where she became a critic of President Vladimir Putin. Russian media say she graduated from a university in Moscow and worked as a history teacher before joining human rights activities in the 1960s.

In the late 1950s, her apartment became a meeting place for the Soviet dissident intelligentsia, and a point for storing and distributing banned publications.

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Although she was never arrested, Alexeyeva experienced numerous searches and interrogations at the hands of the KGB.

Alexeyeva's son Mikhail, who teaches economics in the United States, thanked the gathering for messages of support and said that Alexeyeva was not only a person who helped a lot of people but also "was the best mom anyone could imagine". In 1977, she was forced to emigrate from the Soviet Union.

She was a critic of Russia's seizure of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, although she questioned global sanctions for hurting average Russians.

She died around 1630 GMT Saturday evening in a Moscow hospital, he said. "In the past, the times were others", Putin said.

The European Parliament in 2009 awarded Alexeyeva the prestigious Sakharov Prize for defenders of human thought, along with the Memorial human rights group.

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