- Title: Russian human rights community mourns Sergei Kovalev who died aged 91
- Date: 13th August 2021
- Summary: KOVALEV'S PORTRAIT AND FUNERAL WREATHS
- Embargoed: 27th August 2021 13:08
- Keywords: Chechnya Dissident Human Rights Memorial Politics Russia
- Location: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- City: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Europe,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002EQ449BT
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Human rights activists came on Friday (August 13) to pay a tribute to a Soviet dissident and Russia's first human rights ombudsman Sergei Kovalev in the ceremony held in Moscow.
Kovalev died at the age of 91.
"My father died in his sleep today, in the early morning of August 9," wrote his son Ivan on his Facebook page on Monday.
Members of the Russian human rights community came to Sakharov center to pay tribute to Kovalev, carrying flowers and mourn.
"Sergei Adamovich Kovalev was an absolutely unique figure in Russian Human Rights and political movements," The New Times editor-in-chief Yegenia Albats said.
A professional biologist by profession and a former political prisoner, Kovalev was born on March 2, 1930, in Ukraine and later moved to Moscow.
Kovalev got involved in human rights issues in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, helping to set up the Initiative Group for the Defence of Human Rights in Russia in 1969. However, he was arrested by the authorities in 1974 and spent seven years as a prisoner in a Soviet Gulag, and was later exiled for three years.
During Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's "Perestroika", Kovalev returned to Moscow as a human rights activist. He rose to prominence as a tireless defender of human rights in Chechnya during the first war in the breakaway southern Russian republic in 1994.
He was a founding member of the Moscow Amnesty International branch and co-founder of the organization "Memorial," which was originally set up to examine alleged human rights violations during Soviet times
Kovalev was a member of Russia's lower house of parliament or Duma from 1993-1995. In 1996, he became a member of the Russian delegation at the parliamentary assembly at the Council of Europe. Kovalev was also one of the authors of the Russian declaration on human rights.
(Production: Dmitry Madorsky, Angelina Kazakova, Irina Narodnitskaya)
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