SOVIET DIS­SI­DENT

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page -

Vladimir Bukovsky, a prom­i­nent Soviet-era dis­si­dent who be­came in­ter­na­tion­ally known for ex­pos­ing Soviet abuse of psy­chi­a­try, has died. He was 76.

MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Bukovsky, a prom­i­nent Soviet-era dis­si­dent who be­came in­ter­na­tion­ally known for ex­pos­ing Soviet abuse of psy­chi­a­try, has died. He was 76.

Bukovsky died of car­diac ar­rest on Sun­day af­ter a pe­riod of ill-health in Cam­bridge, Eng­land, where had set­tled af­ter be­ing de­ported from the Soviet Union in 1976, ac­cord­ing to the Bukovsky Cen­ter vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Bukovsky spent a to­tal of 12 years in Soviet pris­ons or psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals for his fierce crit­i­cism of the Com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment, be­com­ing a sym­bol of Soviet per­se­cu­tion of dis­sent.

In 1961, he was ex­pelled from Moscow State Univer­sity, where he stud­ied bi­ol­ogy, for writ­ing a the­sis crit­i­cal of the Kom­so­mol, the Soviet Union’s com­mu­nist youth or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Bukovsky was first ar­rested in 1963 for pos­ses­sion of books banned in the Soviet Union, de­clared men­tally ill and sent for treat­ment to a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal where he spent al­most two years — the first of sev­eral stints in Soviet psy­chi­atric in­sti­tu­tions. He was ar­rested again and handed a prison term in 1967 for a street protest.

In 1971, Bukovsky smug­gled out ma­te­ri­als doc­u­ment­ing the Soviet use of psy­chi­a­try for pun­ish­ing dis­senters. Their pub­li­ca­tion drew in­ter­na­tional out­rage, and he was quickly ar­rested. The fol­low­ing year, he was sen­tenced to seven years in prison and la­bor camp to be fol­lowed by an­other five years of in­ter­nal ex­ile.

Bukovsky’s fate at­tracted global at­ten­tion and in De­cem­ber 1976 the Soviet au­thor­i­ties agreed to trade him for im­pris­oned Chilean Com­mu­nist Party leader Luis Cor­valan.

His book of mem­oirs, “To Build a Cas­tle,” has been widely pub­lished. Af­ter the 1991 Soviet col­lapse, he au­thored “Judg­ment in Moscow,” a book that called for a trial of Soviet Com­mu­nist Party and KGB of­fi­cials sim­i­lar to that of Nazi lead­ers’ tri­als in Nurem­berg.

Bukovsky main­tained reg­u­lar con­tacts with Rus­sia’s op­po­si­tion lead­ers and fre­quently vis­ited his home­land af­ter the Soviet col­lapse. He be­came a fierce critic of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s rule and as­pired to run for pres­i­dent in Rus­sia’s 2008 elec­tion, but elec­tion of­fi­cials re­jected his bid, cit­ing pro­ce­dural rea­sons.

In 2015, Bri­tish pros­e­cu­tors opened a case against Bukovsky over in­de­cent images of children al­legedly found on his com­puter. Bukovsky re­jected the ac­cu­sa­tions and sued pros­e­cu­tors for li­bel. His trial was re­peat­edly ad­journed and in 2018 a judge ruled that Bukovsky’s health was too poor for him to tes­tify.

As­so­ci­ated Press files

In this Dec. 17, 2007 file photo, Soviet-era dis­si­dent Vladimir Bukovsky at­tends a Congress of the Union of Right Forces, in Moscow, Rus­sia. Vladimir Bukovsky, a prom­i­nent Soviet-era dis­si­dent who be­came in­ter­na­tion­ally known for ex­pos­ing Soviet abuse of psy­chi­a­try, died Sun­day.

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