Podcast No. 79. Simon & Sergei – with Yury Samodurov

This week our guest on the podcast is Yury Vadimovich Samodurov. Yury Vadimovich is a Russian civic activist, a social and political commentator, a writer, museum worker and public figure. He also has a PhD in geological and mineralogical sciences. Yury Vadimovich was one of the initiators of the Memorial Society and the Sakharov Museum and Public Centre. He himself was director of the Sakharov Museum from 1996 to 2008.

The issues discussed in the podcast include: writer and museum worker, initiator of various projects – and human rights activist? – why the topic of human rights is so relevant to Russia – a comparison between the Soviet period and contemporary Russia – Andrei Sakharov and today’s Russia – Elena Bonner – reforms – Yegor Gaidar – a generation and its destiny – the future of human rights in Russia.

This podcast is in Russian. You can listen to the podcast in full here:

This podcast is in Russian. You can also listen to the podcast on our website or on SoundCloud,  Spotify  and  iTunes. The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

Given the length of the podcast, we have also divided it into two parts that you can listen to separately.

Part One: Human Rights Defender? – Differences between the USSR and the Russian Federation – Andrei Sakharov – Memorial – Boris Yeltsin – Vladimir Lukin:

Part Two: Elena Bonner – Death of Sakharov – My Generation – Failure to Fulfil Its Destiny – Convergence – Anti-Stalinists – Yegord Gaidar – Liberals and Democrats – Social Contract – The Future of Human Rights:

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “Yury Samodurov does not consider himself a human rights activist. Frankly, I have a different opinion. After all, the UN definition says that: “A human rights defender is a term used to describe people who, individually or together with others, act to promote or protect human rights peacefully. Human rights defenders are identified primarily by what they do.” Last week Yury Vadimovich told Simon Cosgrove and me a great many interesting things from his life: about his personal impressions from his meetings with A. D. Sakharov, with Elena Bonner, with Lev Ponomarev, with Konstantin Kotov, with many others: the list is long. I personally found it interesting to hear Yury Samodurov’s opinion about Sakharov’s death: “I had the thought that Sakharov was killed. I must say that this was my first thought back in December 1989. Sergei Grigoryants held the same opinion. And A. Sobchak, who himself died a strange death, wrote in 1989: ‘I don’t believe in the naturalness of Sakharov’s death – it was too unexpected and very opportune for his political opponents.’ We have learned a great deal in the past years that makes us think seriously about what happened then. Yury Vadimovich Samodurov is a very interesting interlocutor. The hour flew by unnoticed, we had time to touch on many subjects, and, probably, we should meet again. For now – here is our conversation”.

Simon Cosgrove adds:  A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here.

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