Kronid Lyubarsky

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Kronid Arkadyevich Lyubarsky (Russian: Крони́д Арка́дьевич Люба́рский; April 4, 1934 — May 23, 1996) was a Russian journalist, dissident, human rights activist and political prisoner.

Early career and arrest[edit]

Born in the city of Pskov, Russia, on April 4, 1934, Lyubarsky graduated from Moscow University in 1956 and worked as an astrophysicist at the All-Union Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of the USSR Academy of Sciences. His academic work included studies on meteors and space biology. He was also working in the Soviet program of interplanetary exploration of Mars. He authored several books on astrobiology and translated scientific works into Russian, including books by Fred Hoyle.[1]

In the mid-1960s, he became active in the civil rights movement and became an important publisher of samizdat publications, including the famous Chronicle of Current Events.

On January 14, 1972, his apartment was searched by the police and more than 600 documents, manuscripts and books were confiscated. The search was followed by his arrest on charges of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda three days later. Following his conviction on October 30, 1972, Lyubarsky spent the next five years in various labor camps and prisons in Mordovia, as well as Vladimir Central Prison.

While still in camp, he initiated the idea of celebrating a Political Prisoners' Resistance Day. The initiative spread quickly to other camps and prisons. The annual event, celebrated on the anniversary of his trial, later became Russia's Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions.[2]

After his release, Lyubarsky was placed unter surveilled exile in the town of Tarusa in the Moscow region. During this period, he became one of the managers of a fund set up by the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn to aid political prisoners, and a member of the Soviet branch of Amnesty International. However, mounting pressures by the authorities and the imminent threat of a renewed arrest forced Lyubarsky and his family into emigration in October 1977. Stripped of his citizenship, he sought political asylum in West Germany.


In Munich, Lyubarsky founded a bulletin, Vesti iz SSSR (USSR News Brief), the only periodical providing objective and comprehensive information about the situation of human rights and resistance to the Communist regime in the Soviet Union. Published in Russian and English twice a month, this bulletin also carried an annual "List of Political Prisoners in the USSR", a yearbook of political prisoners complete with case details and family contacts. The list appeared until 1989, when the last Soviet political prisoner was released, and was widely used for reference by private citizens, human rights organizations and numerous parliamentary commissions, as well as the United States Congress.[3][4]

Beginning in 1984, Lyubarsky also edited and published the magazine Strana i Mir (The Country and the World). Taking its name from a well-known book by the political dissident and Nobel laureate, Andrei Sakharov, the magazine was intended for a broad readership. It reported not only on repression and resistance in the USSR but also economic and political developments in the rest of the world.

Post-Soviet Russia[edit]

Lyubarsky returned to Russia following the breakup of the USSR. His citizenship was restored on June 2, 1992. He was one of the authors of the current Constitution of the Russian Federation and drafted a number of its articles, including those on the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of Russia.[5] He also served on the editorial staff of a number of magazines, including the Russian Civil Rights Bulletin.

From 1993 to 1996, he led the Moscow Helsinki Group.

In February 1993, he joined the magazine Novoye Vremya (The New Times), where he was appointed first deputy editor in chief. He continued to write articles in defense of democracy and human rights and argued strongly against the First Chechen War.

Lyubarsky died of a heart attack on May 23, 1996, while vacationing in Indonesia.

In 2000 he was named by the International Press Institute as one of 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years.[3]


  • (Russian) К. А. Любарский, Очерки по астробиологии. М.: Изд-во АН СССР, 1962 г., 120 с.
  • (Russian) Кронид. Избранные статьи К. Любарского, сост. Г. И. Салова, М.: «РГГУ» 687 с. 2001 ISBN 5-7281-0406-1


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