Aug 10, 2021

By Andy Johnson

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A leading Russian dissident and human rights activist who fought for the victims of oppression in Soviet times and was exiled to the gulag, has died in Moscow.

Sergei Kovalyov was a tireless advocate for Russian democracy and a bitter critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Putin’s moves to curb rights groups, freedom of speech and the right to protest.

His death was confirmed by “Memorial,” the human rights organization he helped found.  Cause of his death was not announced, but it’s understood he’d been in poor health in his final years.

Kovalyov was a colleague of nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov and who wrote an open letter in 1974 calling for an amnesty for all Soviet political prisoners.  He was arrested and convicted of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda and served seven years in Soviet labour camps.

Memorial called Kovalyov’s death “an irreparable loss.”

He was 91.

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