Valeriya Novodvorskaya

Last updated

Valeriya Novodvorskaya
Valeriia Novodvorskaia na mitinge 9 oktiabria 2010.jpg
Valeriya Novodvorskaya on a rally in Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, 2010
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 death Toxic shock syndrome
Political party Democratic Union
Alma mater Moscow Region State University

Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya (Russian : Валерия Ильинична Новодворская, 17 May 1950, Baranovichi, Byelorussian SSR – 12 July 2014, Moscow) was a Soviet dissident [1] , writer and liberal politician. [2] She was the founder and the chairwoman of the Democratic Union party and a member of the editorial board of The New Times . [3]



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. [4] 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 about the Soviet Communist Party: [1] [5]

Thank you Party
For all the falsehood and lies,
For all the portraits and informers,
For the shots in Prague’s square,
For all the lies you’ve yet to tell.

For the paradise of factories and of flats,
All built on crimes in the torture
Chambers of yesterday and today
And for our black world.
Thank you Party
For our bitterness and despair,
For our shameful silence,
Thank you Party.

She was arrested and imprisoned at a Soviet psychiatric hospital and, like many other Soviet dissidents, diagnosed with "sluggish schizophrenia". [6] In the early 1990s, psychiatrists of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia proved that the claim of her mental illness was bogus. [7] [8] 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. [9]

In 2009 Novodvorskaya published an autobiographical book, Farewell of Slavianka.. [10]

Vovodvorskaya with Konstantin Borovoi on presentation of her book, Farewell of Slavyanka, 22 January 2009 Novodvorskaya Borvoi.jpg
Vovodvorskaya with Konstantin Borovoi on presentation of her book, Farewell of Slavyanka, 22 January 2009


Vovodvorskaya with a poster telling "Putin's gang, get out to the Nuremberg!" Moscow, 2014 Marsh za mir i svobodu (20).jpg
Vovodvorskaya with a poster telling "Putin's gang, get out to the Nuremberg!" Moscow, 2014

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". [11] [12] [13] She was strongly critical of Chechen Wars, Vladimir Putin's domestic policies, and the rebirth of Soviet propaganda in Russia. [14] [15] [16] Her consistent criticism of Russia's past and present, of political and social life, as well as her extravagant lifestyle granted her titles such as "the eternal dissident" and "an idealist at the edge of madness". [17]

According to Novodvorskaya, it was Russian governmental policies in Chechnya that turned Basayev into a terrorist. [18] In response, Alexey Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of the radio station, banned her from the Echo of Moscow. [19] [20]

Novodvorskaya also accused the Russian government of murdering Polish president Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash on 10 April 2010 in Smolensk Oblast. [21]

Aleksandr Dugin, Igor Shafarevich, Sergey Kara-Murza, Yevgeny Dodolev, Vladimir Bushin and a few others accused Novodvorskaya of expressing Anti-Russian views and condemning Russian history while idealizing the Western civilization and the United States. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29]

On 27 January 1995, the Office of the Prosecutor General launched a Novodvorskaya Case in reaction to her interview given to Estonian journalists on 6 April 1994 where she stated that she "cannot imagine how can anyone love a Russian for his laziness, for his lying, for his poverty, for his spinelessness, for his slavery", as well as several publications in Novy Vzglyad and other periodicals. [30] [31] [10] [24] According to prosecution, she denigrated rights of Russians in Estonia and claimed that "manic depression" was the major trait of Russian people which defined all their national history. [30] [24]

All materials were checked for "propaganda of civil war", "of inferiority of people based on their ethnicity" and "incitement to hatred". Henri Reznik who defended her in court insisted that Novodvorkaya had only expressed her opinion "similarly to Pyotr Chaadayev, Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Pushkin and Vladimir Lenin". [32] The case lasted for two years and was closed on June 1997 for the "lack of crime". [33] However Novy Vzglyad stopped publishing her articles, and its founder Yevgeny Dodolev later dedicated a critical book to Novodvorskaya and her case. [24]

Personal life

Throughout her life, Novodvorskaya lived in a flat with her mother Nina Fyodorovna (Нина Федоровна Новодворская, 1928–2017), a pediatrician, and cat Stasik. [34] In the summers they rented a dacha in Kratovo. [35] [36] She was fond of swimming, science fiction, theater and cats. [36]

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. [37] According to her priest Yakov Krotov, "she was more of a Christian than I ever was". [38]


On 12 July 2014, Novodvorskaya died of toxic shock syndrome, which arose from phlegmon of the left foot. [39]


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". [40]


Novodvorskaya published several books that are supplemented with the publications from Novy Vzglyad newspaper: [41] ( ISBN   978-5-8159-0893-2)

Related Research Articles

Vladimir Bukovsky Russian-British human rights activist

Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky was a Russian-born British human rights activist and writer. From the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, he was a prominent figure in the Soviet dissident movement, well known at home and abroad. He spent a total of twelve years in the psychiatric prison-hospitals, labour camps, and prisons of the Soviet Union.

Petro Grigorenko Ukrainian soviet dissident, general

Petro Grigorenko or Petro Hryhorovych Hryhorenko was a high-ranking Soviet Army commander of Ukrainian descent, who in his fifties became a dissident and a writer, one of the founders of the human rights movement in the Soviet Union.

Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union

There was systematic political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, based on the interpretation of political opposition or dissent as a psychiatric problem. It was called "psychopathological mechanisms" of dissent.

Galina Starovoytova Russian academic and politician

Galina Vasilyevna Starovoitova was a Soviet dissident, Russian politician and ethnographer known for her work to protect ethnic minorities and promote democratic reforms in Russia. She was shot to death in her apartment building.

Natalya Gorbanevskaya Russian poet, translator, and civil rights activist

Natalya Yevgenyevna Gorbanevskaya was a Russian poet, a translator of Polish literature and a civil-rights activist. She was one of the founders and the first editor of A Chronicle of Current Events (1968–1982). On 25 August 1968, with seven others, she took part in the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1970 a Soviet court sentenced Gorbanevskaya to incarceration in a psychiatric hospital. She was released from the Kazan Special Psychiatric Hospital in 1972, and emigrated from the USSR in 1975, settling in France. In 2005, she became a citizen of Poland.

Nataliya Georgiyevna Medvedeva was a Russian poet, writer, singer, and frontwoman of the hard rock bands Tribunal Natalii Medvedevoy and NATO.

Boris Stomakhin Russian writer

Boris Vladimirovich Stomakhin is a Russian radical political activist, and editor of "Radical politics" periodical. He was convicted three times for hate speech, advocating a dismemberment of Russian Federation and genocide against Russian people. The convictions have been questioned by human rights organizations ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, and Union of Councils for Soviet Jews.

The Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry is a psychiatric hospital and Russia's main center of forensic psychiatry. In the past, the institution was called the Serbsky Institute. The institution garnered negative publicity because many Soviet dissidents were examined there and then sent to psychiatric hospitals.

1968 Red Square demonstration demonstration in Moscow against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia

The 1968 Red Square demonstration took place on 25 August 1968 at Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union, to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, that occurred during the night of 20–21 August 1968, crushing the Prague Spring, a set of de-centralization reforms promoted by Alexander Dubček.

Valeriya Russian singer

Valeriya is a stage name of Alla Yurievna Perfilova, a Russian singer and fashion model, Valeriya, who is a recipient of the titles People's Artist of Russia (2013) and People's Artist of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (2016), has also won numerous prestigious awards, including Golden Gramophone (thirteen), Pesnya goda (thirteen), Muz-TV, and MTV Russia Music Awards. She has been a member of the Council for Culture and Art under the President of the Russian Federation since 2012.

Yevgeny Dodolev Russian journalist

Yevgeny Yuriyevich Dodolyev is a Soviet and Russian journalist, publisher, and one of hosts at a state-owned Russian television channel Russia-1.

Marina Lesko, also known as M. Lesko is a Russian journalist, author, and cultural commentator.

<i>Novy Vzglyad</i> private Russian newspaper

Novy Vzglyad is a weekly newspaper published in Moscow, Russia. It used to be well known for its commentaries on politics and social issues in the 1990s.

Valeriya Gai Germanika Russian film director

Valeriya Gai Alexandrovna Germanika is a Russian film director dedicated to the topics of coming-of-age. She was awarded several awards for the feature film Everybody Dies But Me.

<i>Burnt by the Sun 2</i> 2010 film

Burnt by the Sun 2 is a 2010 Russian drama film directed by and starring Nikita Mikhalkov. The film consists of two parts: Exodus and The Citadel. It is the sequel to Mikhalkov's 1994 film Burnt by the Sun, set in the Eastern Front of World War II. Burnt by the Sun 2 had the largest production budget ever seen in Russian cinema, but it turned out to be Russia's biggest box office flop, and received negative reviews from critics both in Russia and abroad.

Natella Boltyanskaya singer and entertainer

Natella Savelievna Boltyanskaya is a Russian journalist, singer-songwriter, poet and radio host on Echo of Moscow.

Cases of political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union

In the Soviet Union, a systematic political abuse of psychiatry took place and was based on the interpretation of political dissent as a psychiatric problem. It was called "psychopathological mechanisms" of dissent.

The 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment was one of the three Soviet women's aviation regiments founded by Marina Raskova at the start of the Second World War after she convinced Joseph Stalin to allow her to form three all-female aviation regiments. The regiment was originally equipped with Yakovlev Yak-1 aircraft and later acquired Yak-7 and Yak-9 aircraft in 1943. Sorties were conducted to patrol over military installations and carry out defensive missions. While the regiment was intended to be an all-female regiment it became coed with a preponderance of females after regimental commander Tarama Kazarinova transferred to another unit in October 1942 and was replaced by a man, Aleksander Gridnev. The regiment yielded two female flying aces, Lydia Litvyak and Yekaterina Budanova, who were posthumously awarded the titles Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of the Russian Federation respectively.

<i>Day by Day</i> (Soviet TV series) Soviet television series

Day by Day is a Soviet TV series directed by Vsevolod Shilovsky, based on a screenplay by Mikhail Ancharov. Considered the first Soviet television series filmed by the USSR Central Television.

Valeriya Nikolaevna Kirpichenko was a Russian orientalist, translator, and philologist, specialising in Arabic literature.


  1. 1 2 Moscow: the trial of Valeria Novodvorskaya, 16 March 1970, in the Chronicle of Current Events
  2. 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.
  3. (also mentioned, Gleb Yakunin and Konstantin Borovoi) Arbatov, Alexei. Military Reform in Russia,International Security, Vol. 22, No. 4
  4. Rachel Gedrich. Exclusive interview with Ilya Borisovich Burshtyn who talks about his legendary Lera for the first time . Krugozor magazine (Boston). 15 May 2015 (in Russian)
  5. 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)
  6. Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya –
  7. Савенко, Юрий (2009). 20-летие НПА России. Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal (in Russian) (№ 1): 5–18. ISSN   1028-8554 . Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  8. 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.
  9. Millar, James R. (2004). Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA. pp.  372–373. ISBN   0-02-865907-4. OCLC   62165740.
  10. 1 2 Valeria Novodvorskaya (2009). Farewell of Slavianka. A Thriller. Moscow: Zakharov Books, 464 pages. ISBN   978-5-8159-0893-2
  11. Anna Badkhen. DEMOCRACY ON THE BRINK: Dissent / Russia back on track to absolute rule / Democracy activists again out in the cold . San Francisco Chronicle, 10 March 2004
  12. Robert Coalson. Valeria Novodvorskaya: Russia's 'Don Quixote' Of Democracy, Human Rights at Radio Liberty, 3 June 2016
  13. Nikolai Svanidze, Vladimir Ryzhkov. In The Memory of Valeria Novodvorskaya . Echo of Moscow, 12 July 2014 (in Russian)
  14. Газета «Новый взгляд» N46 от 28 августа 1993г.. Democratic Union website
  15. Комсомольская правда (9.2.2007)
  16. Валерия Новодворская на радио "Эхо Москвы" 29 августа 2008 г., radio interview, 29 August 2008, on "Moscow Echo" (Ekho Moskvy)
  17. TOP-7 Honest Politicians of Russia by RBC Information Systems, 7 September 2011 (in Russian)
  18. Novodvorskaya, Valeriya. Валерия Новодворская на радио "Эхо Москвы" 29 августа 2008 г. (in Russian). Democratic Union . Retrieved 10 November 2008.
  19. Novodvorskaya, Valeriya (31 August 2008). "EchoMSK : Заявление Валерии Новодворской" (in Russian). Ekho Moskvy . Retrieved 10 November 2008.
  20. "The radio that saddles". Novaya Gazeta. 24 September 2008. Archived from the original on 16 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008. [Archived ] at WebCite
  21. Novodvorskaya, Valeria (11 April 2010). Жестокая посадка (in Russian). Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  22. Igor Shafarevich (2005). Russophobia. Moscow: Eksmo, p. 232 ISBN   5-699-12332-6
  23. Sergey Kara-Murza (2004). Soviet Civilization: From the Great Victory Till Our Days. – Moscow: Eksmo, p. 427 ISBN   5-699-07591-7
  24. 1 2 3 4 Yevgeny Dodolev (2019). The Case of Novodvorkaya. Baba Lera + Novy Vsglyad. – Moscow: Izdatelskie resheniya, p. 40—42, 138—147, 343 ISBN   978-5-0050-3223-2
  25. Vladimir Bushin (2017). Putin Against Stalin. Test for Patriotism. Moscow: Alisotrus ISBN   978-5-906914-16-3
  26. Aleksandr Dugin. Death of a woman who suffered from the last stage of Russophobia article at the Odnako magazine, 14 Jule 2014 (in Russian)
  27. ed. by Tatiana Karadzhe (2012). Methodology of Modelling and Programming of Modern World // Totalitarian Democracy of Valeria Novodvorskaya . Moscow: Prometei, p. 239 ISBN   978-5-0050-3223-2
  28. Sergei Sokurov. An Ostracon for Every Novodvorskaya . Zavtra newspaper, 26 August 2013 (in Russian)
  29. Sergei Semanov (2006). Russia Without Russians. Moscow: Algorythm, p. 423 ISBN   5-9265-0266-7
  30. 1 2 (archived). The Judicial Panel for Criminal Affairs of the Supreme Court of Russia at - a companies law internet archive, from 23 December 1996 (in Russian)
  31. The articles and interview by V. Novodvorskaya that appear in her criminal case at the Democratic Union official website (in Russian)
  32. Alexei Gerasimov. Valeria Novodvorskaya's case article from [[[Kommersant]] №73, 27 April 1996 (in Russian)
  33. Alexei Gerasimov. Novodvorskaya case ended article from [[[Kommersant]] №88, 11 July 1997 (in Russian)
  34. Известная девственница снялась для Playboy, "Утро", 9 November 2005.
  35. Валерия Новодворская – между весталкой и гейшей Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  36. 1 2 Новодворская Валерия Ильинична Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  37. Novodvorskaya's Interdict on Echo of Moscow, 4 October 2012 (in Russian)
  38. Vladimir Oyvin. YAKOV KROTOV: Of all members of our parish Novodvorskaya was the most comfortable one . - Portal of religious news, 2014 (in Russian)
  39. "Правозащитница Валерия Новодворская умерла в Москве". 12 July 2014.
  40. 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.
  41. "Farewell of the Slav. Thriller: collection". Retrieved 13 July 2014.