Human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva dies

09.12.2018
This post is also available in: Russian

Russian human rights activist Lyudmila Alekseeva, aged 91, passed away on December 8, 2018 in Moscow.

Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” expresses its condolences to all the relatives and colleagues of Lyudmila Alexeyeva, as well as all people she took care about as a human rights defender. She died the day after the Moscow City Court ruled on the arrest of human rights activist Lev Ponomarev, a ruling which she demanded to cancel shortly before her death.

Until the last minute of her life Lyudmila Alexeyeva fought for the rights and freedoms of people in the Russian Federation. Her colleagues in the Moscow Helsinki Group wrote in her commemoration:

Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, died on December 8. A person symbolizing a whole era, a legendary woman, wise and humane, a human rights defender until the last moments of life. For many people she was and will remain the spirit of the human rights movement, an example worth following. Lyudmila Alexeyeva, we are grateful to our fate for the opportunity to work and be friends with you. Our grief is difficult to express in words, we will miss you very much”.


Lyudmila Alekseeva (07/20/1927 – 12/08/2018)

Historian, public figure.

A founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group. Yuri Orlov accepted the offer to join the human rights organization, created in early 1976, he became editor of the custodian of the documents and the Moscow Helsinki Group, and her apartment – a kind of the Office group. Signed the first 19 groups of documents, participated in drafting the document number 3 “Conditions of detention of prisoners of conscience.” On behalf of MHG I went to Lithuania in cases of persecuted Catholic priests and school-believers. In 1968-1972 gg. typist was the first of the first Soviet human rights bulletin “Chronicle of Current Events”.

February 9, 1977 in her apartment before his arrest took place last press conference of MHG Yuri Orlov.

Since 1968, repeatedly subjected to searches and interrogations. In 1974 Alekseeva announced a warning by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for the “systematic production and distribution of anti-Soviet works.”

In February 1977, he was forced to emigrate from the USSR. He settled in the United States. There led programs on human rights on the radio “Liberty” and “Voice of America”. Printed in a Russian emigre periodicals, as well as in English and American press. He advised a number of human rights and trade union organizations. Emigration was a foreign representative of the Moscow Helsinki Group. In 1977-1984 gg. The publishing group of documents. Since the summer of 1989 to return to Russia – Correspondence member restored by MHG.

In 1977-1980 gg. made reference to trends in Soviet dissent. Then process it in the monograph  “History of Dissent in the USSR. Modern Period” , published in 1984 in Russian and English in a year (in 1992, republished in Russian). This book is the first fundamental historical research on this topic has not lost its value so far. In the second half of the 1980s. as part of the US delegation participated in the OSCE conferences (Reykjavik, Paris). Author of more than a hundred pamphlets and articles on human rights. In 1990 he published a book of her memoirs, “The Thaw Generation” in the United States ( “Generation thaw”).

He returned to Russia in 1993.

In May 1996 she was elected as the chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group. From November 1998 to November 2004 – President of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights.

In 2002, by decree of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin was included in the Commission on Human Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, which in 2004 was transformed into the Promotion of Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of Russia. Until September 2012 she was a member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights. In 2012 Alexeev left the HRC on their own because of disagreement with the policy of the formation of the council. May 26, 2015 decree of President Vladimir Putin’s re-included in the Human Rights Council. Standing Committee HRC: a precedent for cases of historical memory, on the development of NGOs, to promote public supervisory commissions and the reform of the penitentiary system.

Alexeyev has been active in the composition of the Public Council under the Russian Interior Ministry.

In 2004 became a member of the Human Rights Commission under the mayor of Moscow, Muscovites formed to review the appeals related to the infringement of their rights in connection with the entry into force of the new Housing Code, as well as complaints of violations of religious rights and freedoms, the rights of the child and the rights of conscripts. 

From December 2004 to December 2007 was the co-chairman of the All-Russian Civil Congress “Russia for democracy against dictatorship”, created for the purpose of consolidation of civil society and the development of specific in its action program.

In 2008, it approved by the chairman of the All-Russia civil network created by civil society activists for the systemic action to protect fundamental rights and freedoms, and support for independent civil society and democratic institutions.

Alekseev was a member of the Congress of the intelligentsia, was a member of the Human Rights Council in Russia.

Author of more than 100 works on human rights issues.

For human rights activities, Lyudmila Alekseeva honored with awards:
the Medal “For Human Rights”, established by the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation (2001),
Olof Palme Prize for 2004
“Award of democracy” ( “Democracy Award”), established by the “National Endowment for democracy “(National Endowment for democracy) (2004)
Award Federation of Russian Jewish communities” Man of the year – 5765 (2005) ”
Award Human Rights First (2007)
French Legion of Honor (2007),
Medal of the Federal Chamber of lawyers (2008)
Knight’s cross of the Order Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (2008)
Thanks the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for his work in the Presidential Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights (2008),
the Commander’s Cross of the Order “For Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany” (2009)
Sakharov Prize for 2009
Estonian Order “Cross Terra Mariana “III degree (2012)
Prize of Natalya Estemirova,” A man of honor and conscience “(2012),
the supreme legal premium” Themis “for 2012
Award” Pro Dignitate Humana “-” for human dignity “(Poland, 2014)
Prize of Vaclav Havel (2015)
Honorary about fessor, University of Helsinki (2016)
Russian Federation State Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of human rights activities (2017)

Photo from the Facebook page the Moscow Helsinki Group