Valeriya Novodvorskaya

Valeriya Novodvorskaya
Valeriya Novodvorskaya
1st Chairman of the Democratic Union
Assumed office
8 May 1988
Preceded by Position created
Personal details
Born 17 May 1950 (1950-05-17) (age 61)
Baranovichi, Belorussian SSR, USSR Soviet Union
Nationality Russian Russia
Political party Democratic Union
Occupation journalist of "The New Times"

Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya (Russian: Вале́рия Ильи́нична Новодво́рская; born May 17, 1950, Baranavichy, Belorussian SSR, USSR) is a liberal [1] Russian politician, Soviet dissident, the founder and the chairwoman of the "Democratic Union" party, and a member of the editorial board of The New Times.[2] Many of her remarks have provoked controversy.



Soviet Union

Novodvorskaya has been active in the Soviet dissidents movement since her youth, and first imprisoned by the Soviet authorities in 1969 for distributing leaflets that criticized the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia (Prague Spring). The leaflets included her poetry: "Thank you, the Communist Party for our bitterness and despair, for our shameful silence, thank you the Party!".[3] Novodvorskaya was only 19 at this time. She was arrested, imprisoned at Soviet psychiatric hospital (officially she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia[4]). She described her experiences there in her book Beyond Despair. In the early 1990s, psychiatrists of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia and G. N. Sotsevich proved the absence of mental illness in Novodvorskaya.[5]


Political career

Novodvorskaya stood as a candidate for the radical liberal party Democratic Union 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 hasn't yet held public office.[6]

Political activism

Novodvorskaya self-identifies as democratic and liberal politician. She also sometimes calls herself and her allies successors to the Russian White movement tradition.[7] She is openly critical of Russian government policies, including Chechen Wars, domestic policies of Vladimir Putin, and the alleged rebirth of Soviet propaganda in Russia[8][9][10]

In an interview with Echo Moskvy, in which she was discussing the 2008 South Ossetia War, Novodvorskaya said that Shamil Basayev was a democrat, given his support of Boris Yeltsin during the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt and his participation in the government of Aslan Maskhadov in 1997, who had appointed Basayev Deputy Premier of the Ichkerian government.[11] According to her, it was Russian governmental policies in Chechnya that turned Basayev into a terrorist.[12] In response, Alexey Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of the radio station, pulled the recording and transcripts of the program from the Echo Moskvy website.[13] She later accused Venediktov of censorship and slander and suggested that the decision to remove the interview may have been due to Gazprom, a state-owned company, being a controlling shareholder in Echo Moskvy.[14] Venediktov asserted this to be his own decision and confirmed that Novodvorskaya was banned from the station until the end of 2008.[15]

In March 2010 she signed the online anti-Putin manifesto of the Russian opposition "Putin must go".

Statements of Novodvorskaya

In 1993 she published a short article "We won't give away our right" (Russian: Не отдадим наше право налево, Novy Vzglyad newspaper, August 23, issue #119[16][17][17][18][19][20]). In it she made controversial claims, like:

  • Novodvorskaya has stated that human rights are not universal. They should be reserved for the moral and "good people", naming people like Khomeini or Kim Il-sung as not deserving rights.[21][22] She looks upon this as justified discrimination.[21]
  • "For example, I am absolutely not concerned about the number of missiles the democratic U.S. will fire against the undemocratic Iraq. In my opinion, the more the better. Similarly, I am absolutely not horrified with the annoyance that happened with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But have a look now, what a candy modern Japan is. Just like a 'Snickers'. The G7 meets in Tokyo, there is a liberal parliament. The game was worth the expenses. I would be just happy if the U.S. preserved all of its thinkable and unthinkable priorities and wouldn't forget to throw sometimes something on those who deviate from the liberal way and behave badly. Unavoidability of punishment is the only thing that can keep humanity from political and moral regress, and do not tell me about remorse: a human being has no remorse. Some special advanced specimens have it, but the majority does not."[23]
  • "Apartheid is a normal thing. SAR will see yet what order will be established by the native population that is having fun with arson, murders, violence. They wouldn't feel well of that... Civilian rights exist for educated, gorged, balanced people with good upbringing." [23]
  • "Personally I am quite gorged with human rights. Once ago we, the CIA, and the United States used that idea as a battering ram to destroy the Communist regime and make the USSR collapse. That idea is outdated and let's stop lying about human rights and human rights defenders. Otherwise, there is a risk of cutting the branch we all are sitting upon."[23]

Novodvorskaya was prosecuted — charges were later dropped — for some of her statements in the mid-1990s.[24]

In an interview with a Georgian newspaper, Novodvorskaya said that Georgia "did well" in terminating diplomatic relations with Russia because this will bring the "pleasure of seeing Russia destroyed." [25]

In 2007 Novodvorskaya commented:

  • "If the U.S. attacked Russia it would be good for us. It's better for Russia to be a state of the U.S. But I think Americans don't need us. That's why we have to prepare for a war against stupidity, degradation and restoring Soviet ways." [26]

Valeria Novodvorskaya alleged that the inclusion of the scenario of the blowing up of Lech Kaczyński's aircraft in a March 2010 mockumentary shown on Georgian television is evidence of complicity of the Russian State in the death of the Polish President in a plane crash on 10 April 2010 in Smolensk Oblast.[27]


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".[28]

Her books

See also


  1. ^ Lukin, Alexander. The Political Culture of the Russian "Democrats". New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0198295588, ISBN 9780198295587. P. 260n.
  2. ^ (also mentioned, Gleb Yakunin and Konstantin Borovoi) Arbatov, Alexei. Military Reform in Russia,International Security, Vol. 22, No. 4
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya —
  5. ^ Савенко, Юрий (2009). "20-летие НПА России". Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal (№ 1): 5–18. ISSN 1028-8554. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Millar, James R. (2004). Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA. pp. 372–373. ISBN 0028659074. OCLC 62165740. 
  7. ^ "Nad propast'yu vo lzhi" by Valeriya Novodvorskaya. AST Publishing, 1998. ISBN 5-7390-0423-3, ISBN 5-15-000959-8
  8. ^ Газета «Новый взгляд» N46 от 28 августа 1993г.. Democratic Union website
  9. ^ Комсомольская правда (9.2.2007)
  10. ^ Валерия Новодворская на радио "Эхо Москвы" 29 августа 2008 г., radio interview, August 29, 2008, on "Moscow Echo" (Echo Moskvy)
  11. ^ Aslan Maskhadov: Five Steps into History, Prague Watchdog, retrieved November 13, 2008.
  12. ^ (Russian) Novodvorskaya, Valeriya. "Валерия Новодворская на радио "Эхо Москвы" 29 августа 2008 г.". Democratic Union. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  13. ^ (Russian) "Новодворскую изгнали с "Эха Москвы" за восхваление Басаева". 1 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16.  [Archived] at WebCite
  14. ^ (Russian) Novodvorskaya, Valeriya (31 August 2008). "EchoMSK : Заявление Валерии Новодворской". Echo Moskvy. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  15. ^ "“The radio that saddles”". Novaya Gazeta. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16.  [Archived] at WebCite
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b "Ne otdadim nashe pravo nalevo!" by Valeriya Novodvorskaya. // "Noviy Vzglyad", N46 28 Aug 1993
  22. ^ ECHO of Moscow
  23. ^ a b c We won't give away our right, by Valeriya Novodvorskaya (in Russian)
  24. ^ Court accusation on Novodvorskaya's case
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Pentagon called to prepare to a war with Russia", 2007, Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian)
  27. ^ (Russian) Novodvorskaya, Valeria (11 April 2010). "Жестокая посадка". Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^

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