Lyudmila Alexeyeva

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Lyudmila Mikhaylovna Alexeyeva
Lyudmila Alexeyeva.jpg
Native nameЛюдмила Михайловна Алексеева
Born (1927-07-20) July 20, 1927 (age 91)
Yevpatoria, Crimea, Soviet Union
Citizenship Soviet Union (1927–1991) →  Russian Federation (1991–present)
Alma materthe Moscow State University, the graduate school of the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics, and Informatics
OccupationRussian historian, activist, chairwomen of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group
Known forHuman rights activism with participation in the Moscow Helsinki Group
MovementMoscow Helsinki Group, Strategy-31, other rights-related movements
Spouse(s)Nikolay Williams
AwardsState Prize of the Russian Federation, Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Olof Palme Prize, Légion d'honneur, Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Sakharov Prize

Lyudmila Mikhaylovna Alexeyeva (Russian: Людми́ла Миха́йловна Алексе́ева, IPA: [lʲʊˈdmʲilə ɐlʲɪˈksʲeɪvə], born 20 July 1927) is a Russian historian, leading human rights activist, founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group,[1] and one of the last Soviet dissidents still active in modern Russia.[2]


Soviet period[edit]

In April 1968, Alexeyeva was expelled from the Communist Party and fired from her job at the publishing house. Nonetheless, she continued her activities in defense of human rights. In 1968–1972 she worked clandestinely as a typist for the first underground bulletin The Chronicle of Current Events devoted to human rights violations in the USSR.[3]

In February 1977 Alexeyeva was forced to emigrate from the USSR. She and her family settled in the United States, where she continued her human rights activities as a foreign representative of the Moscow Helsinki Group. She became a US citizen in 1982.[4]. She regularly wrote on the Soviet dissident movement for both English and Russian language publications in the US and elsewhere, and in 1985 she published the first comprehensive monograph on the history of the movement, Soviet Dissent (Wesleyan University Press).[5] In addition, after moving to the United States, Alexeyeva took up freelance radio journalism for Radio Liberty and the Russian language section of the Voice of America. In 1990 she published The Thaw Generation, an autobiography that described the formation of the Soviet dissident movement and was co-written with Paul Goldberg.[6]

Return to Russia[edit]

In 1989 she again joined the Moscow Helsinki Group that was restarted after its dissolution in 1981. In 1993, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, she returned to Russia, and she became a Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group in 1996. In 2000, Alexeyeva joined a commission set up to advise President Vladimir Putin on human rights issues, a move that triggered criticism from some other rights activists.[2]

Alexeyeva has been critical of the Kremlin’s human rights record and accused the government of numerous human rights violations including the regular prohibitions of non-violent meetings and demonstrations and encouragement of extremists with its nationalistic policies, such as the mass deportations of Georgians in 2006 and police raids against foreigners working in street markets.[7] She has also criticized the law enforcers’ conduct in Ingushetia and has warned that growing violence in the republic may spread to the whole Russian Federation.[8] In 2006, she was accused by the Russian authorities of involvement with British intelligence and received threats from nationalist groups.[7][9]


Alexeyeva in the Strategy-31 protest, 2010

Since August 31, 2009, Alexeyeva has been an active participant in Strategy-31 – the regular protest rallies of citizens on Moscow’s Triumphalnaya Square in defense of the 31st Article (On the Freedom of Assembly) of the Russian Constitution. Since October 31, 2009, she has been one of the regular organizers of these rallies. On December 31, 2009, during one of these attempted protests, Alexeyeva was detained by the riot police (OMON) and taken with scores of others to a police station. This event provoked strong reaction in Russia and abroad. Jerzy Buzek, the President of the European Parliament, was “deeply disappointed and shocked” at the treatment of Alexeyeva and others by the police.[10] The National Security Council of the United States expressed “dismay” at the detentions.[11] The New York Times published a front-page article about the protest rally (“Tested by Many Foes, Passion of a Russian Dissident Endures”).[12]


On March 30, 2010, Lyudmila was assaulted on live television in the Park Kultury metro station by a man as she was paying respect to the victims of the 2010 Moscow Metro Bombings.[13][14] At the Lake Seliger youth camp,[15][16][17][18][19] the Nashi youth movement branded her "a Nazi" and one of Russia's worst enemies.

Awards and Prizes[edit]

Alexeyeva has received the following awards and prizes for her human rights activities:


  1. ^ New politics. New Politics Associates. 1989. p. 133.
  2. ^ a b Maria Danilova (June 15, 2004), Lyudmila Alexeyeva Speaks Her Mind. The St. Petersburg Times. Issue #977 (45).
  3. ^ Barry, Ellen (2010-01-11). "Russian Dissident's Passion Endures Despite Tests". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Soviet Dissent: Contemporary Movements for National, Religious, and Human Rights
  6. ^ Alexeyeva, Ludmilla; Goldberg, Paul (1990). The thaw generation: coming of age in the post-Stalin era. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0822959119.
  7. ^ a b Gregory Feifer (March 7, 2007), Russia's New Dissidents Defend Human Rights. National Public Radio.
  8. ^ Situation in Ingushetia Threatens All of Russia – Alexeyeva. The Other Russia website. September 22, 2008.
  9. ^ Russian NGO rejects spy 'smear'. The BBC News. January 23, 2006.
  10. ^ Buzek: The EP appeals for the release of 2009 Sakharov Prize Winner Lyudmila Alexeyeva and other Russian human rights activists January 1, 2010
  11. ^ Russia: Rights Protesters Detained The New York Times, December 31, 2009
  12. ^ Russian Dissident’s Passion Endures Despite Tests The New York Times, January 11, 2010
  13. ^[permanent dead link]
  14. ^
  15. ^ Johan Bäckman (2010-07-23). "Päivi Hirvelä on natsi, Naši-nuorten mielestä" (in Finnish). Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee. Lay summary
  16. ^ На молодежном форуме "Селигер-2010" главу Московской Хельсинкской группы Людмилу Алексееву приравняли к фашистам (in Russian). Echo of Moscow. 2010-07-27. Lay summary.
  17. ^ В Селигере на кол насадили головы эстонских госдеятелей (in Russian). 2010-07-26.
  18. ^ Triin Tael (2010-07-26). "Vene noortelaagris aeti Eesti poliitikute pead teibasse". Õhtuleht (in Estonian). Archived from the original on 2010-07-29.
  19. ^ Anton Oreh (2010-07-29). Ждем ответа. Ежедневный журнал (in Russian).
  20. ^ Person of the Year Prize of the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Russia
  21. ^ Sakharov Prize 2009 awarded to Memorial
  22. ^ The Republic of Estonia honours 99 people with decorations on the eve of Independence Day Archived 2012-04-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2015 awarded to Ludmilla Alexeeva Archived 2015-09-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ Указ о присуждении премий за достижения в области правозащиты и благотворительности

Books, articles and interviews[edit]

External links[edit]

Audiovisual material[edit]