Cover Osteuropa 2/2008

In Osteuropa 2/2008

Open Letter from Sergei Kovalev

Sergej Kovalev

Deutsche Fassung


On the eve of the acclamation that was called an “election” and made Dmitrii Medvedev Russia’s new president, human rights activist Sergei Kovalev spoke out with an open letter in which he sharply criticised the regime established by outgoing President Vladimir Putin. Kovalev, a biologist born in 1930, draws from considerable experience. In 1956, he protested the Soviet intervention in Hungary; in 1968, he interceded on behalf of dissidents who had been arrested for protesting the suppression of the Prague Spring. Kovalev himself was sentenced to seven years in a camp for anti-Soviet propaganda in 1975. From 1990 to 1993, he was chairman of the Supreme Soviet’s parliamentary committee for human rights, from 1994 to 1995 human rights plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation. He resigned from this office due to the Russian military’s conduct of the first war in Chechnya, which he sharply criticised as much as during the second conflict in the northern Caucasus. We document Kovalev’s letter here in a slightly amended and editorially annotated form.

(Osteuropa 2/2008, pp. 17–20)