Russian opposition activist Valeria Novodvorskaya dies

Russian opposition activist and famous Soviet dissident Valeria Novodvorskaya died on Saturday at the age of 64, a medical source said.

Russian opposition activist and famous Soviet dissident Valeria Novodvorskaya died on Saturday at the age of 64, a medical source said.

"On Saturday [Novodvorskaya] was admitted to one of the clinics in [Moscow], but it was impossible to save her. She died," the source told Interfax.

Novodvorskaya, who was a high-profile public figure and human rights defender, and the founder and leader of liberal party Democratic Union, was born in Baranovichi in the then Soviet republic of Belarus on May 17, 1950.

She is a graduate of the Krupskaya Regional Teacher-Training Institute in Moscow, which she left in 1977.

At the age of 19, Novodvorskaya organized an underground student group that advocated the overthrow of the communist regime through an armed uprising. Constantly persecuted by Soviet authorities, she was repeatedly arrested, had her home searched by security officers, and was put in psychiatric clinics for short periods.

In September 1990, she was charged with publicly insulting Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and affronting the Soviet flag.

Novodvorskaya founded Democratic Union in 1988.

She was the first public figure to express support for the 1993 decree of then president Boris Yeltsin to disband parliament and organized rallies in his support.

In 1994, the prosecutor's office of Moscow's Krasnopresnensky launched proceedings against her, accusing her of propaganda of civil war and incitement of ethnic strife.

In December 1995, she was on the State Duma election ticket of the Economic Freedom Party and simultaneously ran in one of Moscow's single-mandate constituencies but lost.

Novodvorskaya is the author of a series of books, including "My Carthage Has the Duty of Being Destroyed," "Beyond Despair," "Slav Woman's Farewell," and "Poets and Tsars."

She was a member of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, a top honor conferred on her by Lithuania in crediting her with the defense of the interests of the Baltic country.

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