Sergey Kovalev, one of the most famous human rights defenders in Russia, is mentioned in the Russian press as “an uncompromising fighter for the protection of human rights” and “the most fearless among the founders of the human rights movement in the USSR.” Sergey Kovalev died on Monday at the age of 91.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Sergei Kovalev belonged to the “hated and destroyed” minority. People like him, ready to defend the idea of human rights, were few, literally individuals, recalled in Tuesday’s publication Nezavisimaya Gazeta, stressing that Kovalev was “one of the most fearless” founders of the human rights movement, and “no prisons, no heavy the experiences did not break him and did not change an iota of his convictions. ” The daily recalled that Kovalev was also one of the few activists who later took part in the construction of the new state.
In modern Russia, Kovalev, as an opponent of the war in Chechnya, has again become an object of hatred by some of his countrymen. Nevertheless, it was he – as “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” wrote – “unlike many others, he saw and sensed that such a war would quickly devalue all values and turn the force of law into the right of force”.
The author of the comment admitted that today’s state media in Russia has done a lot to make the names of the first human rights defenders an object of contempt, mockery and hatred again. In Chechnya, he wrote, “we see a compromise functioning today, which excludes the idea of human rights from the agenda.” Nevertheless, the Russian state that has made this compromise is not fighting openly against the human rights movement, the commentator said. It became clear that this movement is invincible and there is no point in fighting it, he concluded.
An expressive historical figure
Vladimir Lukin, the former human rights spokesman, called Kovalev “a great personality who personifies the era of the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.” In an interview with the government’s “Rossiya Gazeta” he said that Kovalev was one of the most expressive historical figures in Russia at the end of the USSR and the beginning of the post-Soviet era.
– He never fought with people, but fought for them – said one of the authors of the Russian privatization, economist Anatoly Chubais.
Mikhail Fedotov, former head of the Council for the development of civil society and human rights under the Russian president, told the daily Kommersant that Kovalev was a man of one idea – the idea of protecting human rights and an uncompromising fighter for this idea.
Three personality traits
Memorial, an organization defending human rights, on the occasion of Kowalow’s 90th birthday celebrated last year, informed that “all his social activities are defined by three personality traits: reluctance to lie and injustice, unity of thought and action, and fearlessness in defending his views”.
Kovalev – a Soviet dissident and human rights defender, one of the authors of the Russian constitution and the first human rights advocate in modern Russia – died on Monday at the age of 91.
PAP, Kommersant, Radio Swoboda
Main photo source: Jacek Turczyk / PAP