Podcast No. 37: Simon & Sergei – with Andrei Kovalev

Today our guest on the podcast is Andrei Anatolyevich Kovalev. During his distinguished career, he has been on the staff of the Institute of the US and Canada of the USSR Academy of Sciences and then of the Diplomatic Academy. He worked for the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was a member of the secretariat of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, worked on the staff of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and later also on the staff of the Office of the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin. While working for the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs , Andrei Kovalev was engaged in many matters of vital importance for human rights: abolishing the repressive use of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, releasing political prisoners, drafting liberalising laws that opened the way, for example, to foreign travel and freedom of religion. Andrei Kovalev is the author of several important works, including France at the Crossroads of World Politics (International Relations, Moscow, 1983), Behind the Scenes of Russian Politics (Ibid. – Verlag, Stuttgart, 2012) and a number of articles in the journals International Life, World Economy and International Relations, USA: Economics, Politics, Ideology, and The Observer, as well as in the newspapers Izvestiya, Novaya gazeta and Komsomolskaya pravda. He now lives in Brussels.

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

You can also listen on Podcasts.com,  SoundCloud,  Spotify  or  iTunes

The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

An English translation of this podcast is available here.

Sergei Nikitin writes: “Andrei Anatolyevich Kovalev was our guest on the podcast yesterday. He talked about the extraordinarily interesting time when he worked at the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Eduard Shevardnadze in 1985 – 1991, where his task was to bring Soviet legislation into line with the USSR’s international obligations. Consequently, Kovalev spent a significant part of his diplomatic career working on democratic reforms and human rights in the USSR and Russia. His diplomatic service continued until 2004, when he became an advisor to the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, at the invitation of Lukin himself. Andrei Kovalev does not have the highest opinion of Lukin as a defender of human rights, based on his personal experience. Of course, we also talked about the current situation. “I see no limits to the depths to which those in power may go,” Andrei Anatolyevich told us yesterday, speaking of Putin and his entourage: “The Kremlin has no brakes.” In sum, we had a very interesting conversation with a professional and extremely perceptive man. I look forward to reading his book Russia’s Dead End : An Insider’s Testimony from Gorbachev to Putin, and I recommend our podcast to everyone.”

Simon Cosgrove adds: If you want to listen to this podcast on the podcasts.com website and it doesn’t seem to play, please download by clicking on the three dots to the right. 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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