Lev Ponomaryov

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Lev Aleksandrovich Ponomaryov
Lev Ponomaryov 2011.jpg
Lev Ponomaryov, at a rally at the Ministry of Transport in Moscow on 15 March 2011
Native name Лев Александрович Пономарёв
Born (1941-09-02) September 2, 1941 (age 75)
Tomsk, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Citizenship  Soviet Union (1941–1991) →  Russian Federation (1991–present)
Alma mater the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Occupation physicist, mathematician, human rights activist, member of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group and Democratic Russia

Lev Aleksandrovich Ponomaryov (Russian: Лев Алекса́ндрович Пономарёв, September 2, 1941, Tomsk) is a Russian political and civil activist. He is an executive director of the all-Russian movement "For Human Rights." He is a member of the Federal Political Council of Solidarnost, and was deputy to the State Duma in its first period.


Ponomaryov graduated from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MFTI) in 1965 and from the doctorate program of the same institute in 1968, becoming a doctor of physics and mathematics. He worked in the Theoretical and Experimental Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and simultaneously taught at MFTI in the general physics department.

In 1988, Ponomaryov helped create the human rights organization Memorial.

In 1989, Ponomaryov filled the place of academic Andrei Sakharov in the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union after he died suddenly from a heart attack. Ponomaryov took part in the Coordination Council of Moscow Union of Electors and in the initiative group for the creation of the Civil Action Committee.

In 1990, he was elected a People's Deputy of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. From 1990 to 1993, Lev Ponomaryov was a People's Deputy of the Russian Federation; a member of the Council of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation; a member of the Committee on Mass Media relating to public organizations, mass movement of citizen and public opinion research; and a member of the political movement Democratic Russia and the deputies group Army Reform (Reforma armii).[1]

In the autumn of 1991, he presided over the parliamentary commission for investigation of GKChP activities and the KGB’s role in the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt.

In 1993, he lost the elections to the State Duma in a single-mandate constituency and in the list of the electoral union Democratic Choice of Russia. Ponomaryov entered the Parliament only after the death of deputy Vasilii Seliunin. From 1994 to 1996 Ponomaryov was a deputy of the State Duma, a member of the committees for CIS Affairs and relations with nationalities.

In 1997, Ponomaryov founded the Russian human rights society "For Human Rights" (Za prava cheloveka), becoming its executive director and a member of the Council on Motion. Also in 1997, Ponomaryov was one of the founders of the "Hotline" (Goriachaia liniia) and founded and is one of the most active members of the group Common Action (Obshchee deistvie).[2]

He has been a member of The Other Russia coalition since its foundation in 2006 and also a member of its executive committee.

In 2007, he lost a case of defence of honour and dignity against Yury Kalinin, the Director of the Federal Service of Execution of Penalties (FSIN). The court obliged Ponomaryov to refute the unreliable information about Kalinin that he had made public.

He actively defended the ex-owner of YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the other persons sentenced for economical offences in the YUKOS case. Some human rights activists consider that these persons are persecuted for political reasons (making them political prisoners) and that the charges against them are fabricated. In 2007, he appealed to President Putin to release Khodorkovsky. In 2009, together with other Solidarnost activists, Roman Dobrokhotov, Oleg Kozlovsky, Aleksander Rykline, Sergey Davidis, Mikhail Schneider, Vladimir Milov, Garry Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov, Lev Ponomaryov took part in a series of individual pickets in front of Meschansky district court and held a slogan "Freedom to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev".

Lev Ponomarev is a member of the United Democratic Movement "Solidarnost". On December 13, 2008, at the first Solidarnost congress, he was elected as a member of the political council of this movement.

Late in the evening on March 31, 2009, he was physically assaulted near his home. Ludmila Alekseeva thinks that this attack was connected with his political and human rights activities within the "Solidarnost" movement. At the meeting of Russian and US Presidents on April 1, 2009, Barack Obama, according to his assistants, mentioned the attack against Ponomarev among the main US concerns about Russia.

On March 10, 2010 he signed an appeal of the Russian opposition stating "Putin must go".

On July 14, 2010, he declared that he considered it necessary to maintain article 282 of the Penal Code.

On August 25, 2010 he was sentenced to a 3-day arrest for attempting to carry the state flag of the Russian Federation along Arbat Street on State Flag Day, August 22. The day before, Boris Nemtsov was acquitted in the same case.

On September 7, 2010 he was sentenced to a 4-day arrest for disobedience of the police.


On October 22, 2011 Ponomaryov was filmed by the Russian Federal Security Service while having a meeting with the Japanese ambassador.[3] He assured the Japanese ambassador that he would advocate the Japanese claims for the Kuril Islands for a payment, which are a part of the Soviet Union and therefore Russia since the defeat of Imperial Japan in the Second World War. In this case Ponomaryov would have to identify himself as a "foreign agent" according to new laws issued by Putin, which are based on the US Foreign Agents Registration Act issued in 1938.

Decorations and awards[edit]

•2010—Ponomaryov was decorated with a Commandor's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by a decree of the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński "for outstanding results in the defence of human rights and promotion of civil freedoms".


Lev Ponomaryov has two daughters from his first marriage, Elena Liptser and Xenia. He was then married to Eugenia Ilyina with whom he has had two children, Anastasia and Fedor, born in 1984 and 1986, respectively.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Пономарев, Лев: Исполнительный директор Общероссийского общественного движения "За права человека"". Lenta.ru. Feb 23, 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Пономарев, Лев: Исполнительный директор Общероссийского общественного движения "За права человека"". Lenta.ru. Feb 23, 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Lew Ponomaryov and the japanese ambassador". youtube.de. 2011-10-22. Retrieved 2012-03-30.