Sergei Kovalev

Sergei Kovalev

Sergei Adamovich Kovalev (also spelt as Sergey Kovalyov; _ru. Сергей Адамович Ковалёв; b. March 2 1930) is a Russian human rights activist and politician and a former Soviet dissident and political prisoner.

Early career and arrest

Kovalev was born in the town of Seredina-Buda in Ukraine, near Sumy. In 1932, his family moved to Podlipki village near Moscow. In 1954 he graduated from Moscow State University. As a biophysicist, Kovalev authored more than 60 scientific publications. From mid-1950s, he opposed Trofim Lysenko's theories favored by the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In 1969, he founded the first Soviet human rights association, the Initiative Group for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR, and later became the principal link to the dissident movement in Lithuania. Kovalev actively participated in publication of samizdat periodicals such as Moscow-based "Chronicle of Current Events" and "The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania".

He was arrested on December 8 1974, and tried in Vilnius, charged with "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" (Article 70 of the RSFSR Penal Code) and served seven years in labor camps in Perm region and Chistopol prison, and later three years in internal exile at Kolyma. Upon his return, he settled in Kalinin (now Tver).

During perestroika

During perestroika initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, Kovalev was allowed to return to Moscow (in 1986). In that period, he continued his activism and participated in the founding of several key humanitarian organizations and initiatives:
* The human rights society Memorial, dedicated to the memory and rehabilitation of victims of political repression in the USSR. Kovalev has served as its co-chairman since 1990.
* The Moscow branch of Amnesty International .
* The International Humanitarian Conference (December 1987)
* Press-club "Glasnost"

In 1989, Andrei Sakharov recommended him as a co-director of the Project Group for defense of Human Rights, later renamed into Russian-American Human Rights Group.

Post-Soviet Russia

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kovalev turned to official politics. In January 1991, he coauthored the Declaration of Human and Civil Rights in Russia and was a major contributor to Article 2 ("Rights and Liberties of Man and Citizen") of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

From 1990 to 1993, he was an elected People's Deputy of the Russian Federation, and a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation. He served as the Chairman of the President's Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Commissioner for the Russian parliament, the State Duma.

From 1993 until 2003 Kovalev was a member of the Russian State Duma. From 1996 to 2003 he was also a member of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and a member of the Assembly's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

In 1993, he co-founded the movement and later, the political party "Choice of Russia" (Выбор России), later renamed "Democratic Choice of Russia" (Демократический выбор России).

Since 1994, Kovalev, then Yeltsin's human rights adviser, has been publicly opposed to Russia's military involvement in Chechnya. From Grozny, he personally witnessed and reported the realities of the First Chechen War. His daily reports via telephone and on TV galvanized Russian public opinion against the war. For his activism, he was removed from his post in the Duma in 1995. [Vadim J. Birstein. "The Perversion Of Knowledge: The True Story of Soviet Science." Westview Press (2004) ISBN 0-813-34280-5 ]

Kovalev has been an outspoken critic of authoritarian tendencies in the administrations of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. In 1996, he resigned as head of Yeltsin's presidential human rights commission. In 2002, he organized a public commission to investigate the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings (the Kovalev Commission [ [ Terror-99 ] ] ), which was effectively paralyzed after one of its members, Sergei Yushenkov, was assassinated, [ [ BBC NEWS | Europe | Yushenkov: A Russian idealist ] ] [ [ BBC NEWS | Europe | Russian MP's death sparks storm ] ] another member, Yuri Shchekochikhin, poisoned with thallium, [ [ Terror-99 ] ] [ [ Агент Неизвестен ] ] and its legal counsel and investigator, Mikhail Trepashkin, arrested. [ [ The Trepashkin Case ] ] [ [ Russian Federation: Amnesty International calls for Mikhail Trepashkin to be released pending a full review of his case | Amnesty International ] ]

Kovalev is a recipient of numerous awards and honorary titles. In 2005, he participated in "They Chose Freedom", a four-part television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident movement.

See also

*Politics of Russia


External links

* [ Kovalev at Amnesty International]
* [ Putin critic loses post, platform for inquiry]
* [ Kovalev is one of recipients of 1995 Democracy Award] at National Endowment for Democracy

* [ Bio] at
* [ Bio] at
* [ 2001 Interview]
* [ 2002 Interview]
* [ 2004 Interview]


* [ Putin's War] (2000)

Further reading

Emma Gilligan. "Defending Human Rights in Russia: Sergei Kovalyov, Dissident and Human Rights Commissioner, 1969-96" (BASEES/Curzon Series on Russian & East European Studies) RoutledgeCurzon. 2003. ISBN 0-415-32369-X [,M1 Link to Internet version]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sergei Kovalev — Sergueï Kovalev Pour les articles homonymes, voir Kovalev. Sergueï Kovalev Sergueï Adamovitch Kovalev ou Kovaliov (en russe  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sergei Yushenkov — (Сергей Юшенков) (1950 2003) was a liberal Russian politician well known for his uncompromising struggle for democracy, rapid free market economic reforms, and higher human rights standards in Russia. He was assassinated on April 17, 2003, just… …   Wikipedia

  • Sergei Adamowitsch Kowaljow — (russisch Сергей Адамович Ковалёв; * 2. März 1930 in Seredina Buda, Oblast Sumy, Ukraine) war ein sowjetischer Dissident und ist heute ein russischer Politiker. Der Biologe gab …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kovalev — Kowaljow ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alexei Wjatscheslawowitsch Kowaljow (* 1973), russischer Eishockeyspieler Andrei Kowaljow (* 1966), russischer Eishockeyspieler Gennadi Gennadijewitsch Kowaljow (* 1983), russischer Boxer Gennadi… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexei Kovalev — Infobox Ice Hockey Player image size = 250px position = Right Wing shoots = Left height ft = 6 height in = 1 weight lb = 215 team = Montreal Canadiens former teams = New York Rangers Pittsburgh Penguins league = NHL nationality = Russia birth… …   Wikipedia

  • Vladimir Kovalev — ( ru. Владимир Ковалев) (born February 2 1953) is a retired figure skater who competed internationally for the USSR. He is an Olympic silver medalist and 2 time World champion. He trained at VSS Trud in Moscow. Kovalev is pronounced, ko va lyov.… …   Wikipedia

  • Vladimir Kovalev — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Kovalev. Vladimir Kovalev Biographie Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alexei Kovalev — Alexei Kowaljow vor einem Spiel der Montreal Canadiens Alexei Wjatscheslawowitsch Kowaljow (russisch Алексей Вячеславович Ковалёв; * 24. Februar, 1973 in Togliatti, Sowjetunion) ist ein russischer Eishockeyspieler, der aktuell für die Montreal …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sergej Kowaljow — Sergei Adamowitsch Kowaljow. Sergei Adamowitsch Kowaljow (russisch Сергей Адамович Ковалев; * 2. März 1930 in Seredina Buda, Oblast Sumy, Ukraine) war ein sowjetischer Dissident und ist heute ein russischer Politiker. Der Biologe gab ein Samisdat …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Russian apartment bombings — Location Russia (Buynaksk Moscow Volgodonsk) Date Septembe …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.