Valeriya Novodvorskaya

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Valeriya Novodvorskaya
Valeriya Novodvorskaya3.jpg
1st Chairman of the Democratic Union
In office
8 May 1988 – 12 July 2014
Preceded by Position created
Personal details
Born Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya
(1950-05-17)17 May 1950
Baranovichi, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
Died 12 July 2014(2014-07-12) (aged 64)
Moscow, Russia
Nationality Russian
Political party Democratic Union
Alma mater Moscow Region State University
Occupation Journalist
Religion Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church

Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya (Russian: Вале́рия Ильи́нична Новодво́рская, 17 May 1950, Baranovichi, Byelorussian SSR – 12 July 2014, Moscow) was a liberal[1] Russian politician, Soviet dissident, the founder and the chairwoman of the "Democratic Union" party, and a member of the editorial board of The New Times.[2]

Early years[edit]

Novodvorskaya has been active in the Soviet dissident movement since her youth, and first imprisoned by the Soviet authorities in 1969 for distributing leaflets that criticized the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia (see Prague Spring). The leaflets included her poetry: "Thank you, the Communist Party for our bitterness and despair, for our shameful silence, thank you the Party!"[3] Novodvorskaya was only 19 at this time. She was arrested and imprisoned at Soviet psychiatric hospital and, like many other Soviet dissidents, diagnosed with "sluggish schizophrenia".[4] In the early 1990s, psychiatrists of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia proved that the claim of her mental illness was bogus.[5][6] She described her experience in psikhushka in her book Beyond Despair.


Political career[edit]

Novodvorskaya stood as a candidate for the radical liberal party Democratic Union in the 1993 Russian legislative election in a single-mandate district as part of the Russia's Choice bloc, and she also contested the 1995 Russian legislative election on the list of the Party of Economic Freedom. She was not elected in either election, and never held public office.[7]

Political activism[edit]

Novodvorskaya self-identified primarily as a liberal politician. She also sometimes called herself and her allies successors to the Russian White movement tradition.[8] She had been openly critical of Russian government policies, including Chechen Wars, domestic policies of Vladimir Putin, and the alleged rebirth of Soviet propaganda in Russia[9][10][11]

In an interview with the Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, in which she was discussing the 2008 South Ossetia War, Novodvorskaya said that Shamil Basayev was a democrat, given his support of Boris Yeltsin during the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt and his participation in the government of Aslan Maskhadov in 1997, who had appointed Basayev Deputy Premier of the Ichkerian government.[12] According to her, it was Russian governmental policies in Chechnya that turned Basayev into a terrorist.[13] In response, Alexey Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of the radio station, pulled the recording and transcripts of the program from the Ekho Moskvy website.[14] She later accused Venediktov of censorship and slander and suggested that the decision to remove the interview may have been due to Gazprom, a state-owned company, being a controlling shareholder in Ekho Moskvy.[15] Venediktov asserted this to be his own decision and confirmed that Novodvorskaya was banned from the station until the end of 2008.[16]

Valeria Novodvorskaya alleged that the inclusion of the scenario of the blowing up of Lech Kaczyński's aircraft in a March 2010 mockumentary shown on Georgian television is evidence of complicity of the Russian State in the death of the Polish President in a plane crash on 10 April 2010 in Smolensk Oblast.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Throughout her life, Novodvorskaya remained a celibate virgin. When asked about it, she stated that she was not interested in sex. She added that she had never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all.[18] In another interview, Novodvorskaya admitted that she had fallen in love a couple of times but never acted on her feelings after discovering disappointing traits in the people she became interested in.[19] Novodvorskaya later said she did not marry or have a family because the KGB had deprived her of such an opportunity in 1969: "Mother is in one prison camp, father in another. What should a child do in this situation? To my mind, a full irresponsibility."[20]

Throughout her life, Novodvorskaya lived in a flat with her mother Nina Fyodorovna (Нина Федоровна Новодворская, born in 1928), a pediatrician, and cat Stasik.[21] During summer they rented a dacha in Kratovo.[19][22] She was fond of swimming, science fiction, theater and cats.[22]


On 12 July 2014, Novodvorskaya died of toxic shock syndrome which arose from phlegmon of the left foot.[23]


Novodvorskaya received the Starovoytova award "for contribution to the defense of human rights and strengthening democracy in Russia". She said at the ceremony that "we are not in opposition to, but in confrontation with, the present regime".[24]



  1. ^ Lukin, Alexander. The Political Culture of the Russian "Democrats". New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-829558-8, ISBN 978-0-19-829558-7. P. 260n.
  2. ^ (also mentioned, Gleb Yakunin and Konstantin Borovoi) Arbatov, Alexei. Military Reform in Russia,International Security, Vol. 22, No. 4
  3. ^ Barron, John (1975). KGB - The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents. London: Corgi Books. ISBN 0-552-09890-6.  p. 55 in Russian edition (ISBN 0-911971-29-7)
  4. ^ Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya –
  5. ^ Савенко, Юрий (2009). 20-летие НПА России. Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal (in Russian) (№ 1): 5–18. ISSN 1028-8554. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Савенко, Юрий (2007). Дело Андрея Новикова. Психиатрию в политических целях использует власть, а не психиатры: Интервью Ю.С. Савенко корреспонденту "Новой газеты" Галине Мурсалиевой. Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal (in Russian) (№ 4): 88–91. ISSN 1028-8554. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Millar, James R. (2004). Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA. pp. 372–373. ISBN 0-02-865907-4. OCLC 62165740. 
  8. ^ "Nad propast'yu vo lzhi" by Valeriya Novodvorskaya. AST Publishing, 1998. ISBN 5-7390-0423-3, ISBN 5-15-000959-8
  9. ^ Газета «Новый взгляд» N46 от 28 августа 1993г.. Democratic Union website
  10. ^ Комсомольская правда (9.2.2007)
  11. ^ Валерия Новодворская на радио "Эхо Москвы" 29 августа 2008 г., radio interview, August 29, 2008, on "Moscow Echo" (Ekho Moskvy)
  12. ^ Aslan Maskhadov: Five Steps into History, Prague Watchdog, retrieved November 13, 2008.
  13. ^ Novodvorskaya, Valeriya. Валерия Новодворская на радио "Эхо Москвы" 29 августа 2008 г. (in Russian). Democratic Union. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  14. ^ Новодворскую изгнали с "Эха Москвы" за восхваление Басаева (in Russian). 1 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16.  [Archived] at WebCite
  15. ^ Novodvorskaya, Valeriya (31 August 2008). "EchoMSK : Заявление Валерии Новодворской" (in Russian). Ekho Moskvy. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  16. ^ "The radio that saddles". Novaya Gazeta. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16.  [Archived] at WebCite
  17. ^ Novodvorskaya, Valeria (11 April 2010). Жестокая посадка (in Russian). Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  18. ^ Александр Чаленко (December 19, 2010). "Бомбовое интервью с Новодворской: о сексе, о ее девственности и о Наполеоне, соучастнике Холокоста. Ну и, конечно, про Западную Украину". Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  19. ^ a b Валерия Новодворская – между весталкой и гейшей
  20. ^ Новодворская: Запад Украины должен основать свое государство, "Обозреватель", 17 July 2010.
  21. ^ Известная девственница снялась для Playboy, "Утро", 9 November 2005.
  22. ^ a b Новодворская Валерия Ильинична
  23. ^ "Правозащитница Валерия Новодворская умерла в Москве". 2014-07-12. 
  24. ^ Anna Politkovskaya (2007) A Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption, and Death in Putin's Russia, Random House, ISBN 978-1-4000-6682-7, page 38.
  25. ^ "Farewell of the Slav. Thriller: collection". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 

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