Valeriya Novodvorskaya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Valeriya Novodvorskaya
Valeriya Novodvorskaya3.jpg
1st Chairman of the Democratic Union
In office
8 May 1988 – 12 July 2014
Preceded byPosition created
Personal details
Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya

(1950-05-17)17 May 1950
Baranovichi, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
Died12 July 2014(2014-07-12) (aged 64)
Moscow, Russia
Cause of deathToxic shock syndrome
Political partyDemocratic Union
Alma materMoscow Region State University

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


Novodvorskaya was born in 1950 to a Jewish engineer, Ilya Borisovich (Boruchovich) Burshtyn, and a pediatrician, Nina Feodorovna Novodvorskaya, who came from a noble Russian family.[3] Her parents divorced in 1967; Ilya Borisovich later emigrated to North America.

Novodvorskaya was active in the Soviet dissident movement since her youth, and first imprisoned by the Soviet authorities in 1969, when she was 19, for distributing leaflets that criticized the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The leaflets included her poetry: "Thank you, the Communist Party for our bitterness and despair, for our shameful silence, thank you the Party!"[4] She was arrested and imprisoned at a Soviet psychiatric hospital and, like many other Soviet dissidents, diagnosed with "sluggish schizophrenia".[5] In the early 1990s, psychiatrists of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia proved that the claim of her mental illness was bogus.[6][7] She described her experience in her book Beyond Despair.

Novodvorskaya stood as a Democratic Union candidate 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.[8]

Novodvorskaya self-identified primarily as a liberal politician and was described by her colleagues as "a critic of Russian realities in the best traditions of Pyotr Chaadayev, Vissarion Belinsky and Alexander Herzen".[9][10][11] She was strongly critical of Chechen Wars, Vladimir Putin's domestic policies, and the rebirth of Soviet propaganda in Russia.[12][13][14] She also accused the Russian government of murdering Polish president Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash on 10 April 2010 in Smolensk Oblast.[15]

In 2009 Novodvorskaya published an autobiographical book, Farewell of Slavianka: A Thriller, that includes all her articles from Novy Vzglad, the details of her case, fragments of speech her lawyer Henri Reznik gave in 1996 and her last word in court.[16] The case lasted for two years and was apparently closed.

Personal life[edit]

Throughout her life, Novodvorskaya lived in a flat with her mother Nina Fyodorovna (Нина Федоровна Новодворская, 1928–2017), a pediatrician, and cat Stasik.[17] In the summers they rented a dacha in Kratovo.[18][19] She was fond of swimming, science fiction, theater and cats.[19]

Appearance by V.I. Novodvorskaya at the rally on 9 October 2010

In 1990 Novodvorskaya was baptized by the noncanonical Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Reunited. She belonged to that church till her death while remaining highly critical of the Russian Orthodox Church.[20] According to her priest Yakov Krotov, "she was more of a Christian than I ever was".[21]


On 12 July 2014, Novodvorskaya died of toxic shock syndrome, which arose from phlegmon of the left foot.[22]


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".[23]


Novodvorskaya published several books that are supplemented with the publications from Novy Vzglyad newspaper:[24] (ISBN 978-5-8159-0893-2)


  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. ^ Rachel Gedrich. Exclusive interview with Ilya Borisovich Burshtyn who talks about his legendary Lera for the first time. Krugozor magazine (Boston). May 15, 2015 (in Russian)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya –
  6. ^ Савенко, Юрий (2009). 20-летие НПА России. Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal (in Russian) (№ 1): 5–18. ISSN 1028-8554. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Millar, James R. (2004). Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA. pp. 372–373. ISBN 0-02-865907-4. OCLC 62165740.
  9. ^ Anna Badkhen. DEMOCRACY ON THE BRINK: Dissent / Russia back on track to absolute rule / Democracy activists again out in the cold. San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 2004
  10. ^ Robert Coalson. Valeria Novodvorskaya: Russia's 'Don Quixote' Of Democracy, Human Rights at Radio Liberty, June 03, 2016
  11. ^ Nikolai Svanidze, Vladimir Ryzhkov. In The Memory of Valeria Novodvorskaya. Echo of Moscow, July 12, 2014 (in Russian)
  12. ^ Газета «Новый взгляд» N46 от 28 августа 1993г.. Democratic Union website
  13. ^ Комсомольская правда (9.2.2007)
  14. ^ Валерия Новодворская на радио "Эхо Москвы" 29 августа 2008 г., radio interview, August 29, 2008, on "Moscow Echo" (Ekho Moskvy)
  15. ^ Novodvorskaya, Valeria (11 April 2010). Жестокая посадка (in Russian). Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  16. ^ Valeria Novodvorskaya (2009). Farewell of Slavianka. A Thriller. Moscow: Zakharov Books, 464 pages. ISBN 978-5-8159-0893-2
  17. ^ Известная девственница снялась для Playboy, "Утро", 9 November 2005.
  18. ^ Валерия Новодворская – между весталкой и гейшей Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ a b Новодворская Валерия Ильинична Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Novodvorskaya's Interdict on Echo of Moscow, October 4, 2012 (in Russian)
  21. ^ Vladimir Oyvin. YAKOV KROTOV: Of all members of our parish Novodvorskaya was the most comfortable one. - Portal of religious news, 2014 (in Russian)
  22. ^ "Правозащитница Валерия Новодворская умерла в Москве". 12 July 2014.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "Farewell of the Slav. Thriller: collection". Retrieved 13 July 2014.

External links[edit]