A Life of Integrity: Vladimir Bukovsky at 70
On December 30, Vladimir Bukovsky – writer, scientist, human rights campaigner, and one of the founders of the dissident movement in the USSR – will celebrate his 70th birthday. IMR Senior Policy Advisor Vladimir Kara-Murza recalls the milestones in Bukovsky’s life – and urges the present-day Russian opposition to heed his advice.
Vladimir Bukovsky does not like to be called a politician, preferring to be known as a neurophysiologist, writer or, at the very least, civic activist. In truth, he never engaged in politics: he merely realized, at an early age, that he could not reconcile himself to live quietly with a criminal and mendacious regime that sought to make millions of people its silent accomplices. Bukovsky’s protest was a moral one. “We did not play politics, we did not draft programs for the ‘people’s liberation,’” he recalls in his memoirs, To Build a Castle (a must-read for anyone interested in Russian history). “Our only weapon was glasnost (openness). Not propaganda, but glasnost, so that no one could say ‘I did not know.’ The rest is a matter for each person’s conscience.”