|1st Chairman of the Democratic Union|
8 May 1988 – 12 July 2014
|Preceded by||Position created|
Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya
17 May 1950
Baranovichi, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
|Died||12 July 2014 (aged 64)|
|Cause of death||Toxic shock syndrome|
|Political party||Democratic Union|
|Alma mater||Moscow Region State University|
Valeriya Ilyinichna Novodvorskaya (Russian: Вале́рия Ильи́нична Новодво́рская, 17 May 1950, Baranovichi, Byelorussian SSR – 12 July 2014, Moscow) was a Soviet dissident, writer and liberal politician. She was the founder and the chairwoman of the "Democratic Union" party and a member of the orial board of The New Times.
Novodvorskaya was born in 1950 to a Jewish engineer, Ilya Borisovich (Boruchovich) Burshtyn, and a pediatrician, Nina Feodorovna Novodvorskaya, who came from a noble Russian family. Her parents divorced in 1967; Ilya Borisovich later emigrated to North America.
Novodvorskaya was active in the Soviet dissident movement since her youth, and first imprisoned by the Soviet authorities in 1969, when she was 19, for distributing leaflets that criticized the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The leaflets included her poetry: "Thank you, the Communist Party for our bitterness and despair, for our shameful silence, thank you the Party!" She was arrested and imprisoned at a Soviet psychiatric hospital and, like many other Soviet dissidents, diagnosed with "sluggish schizophrenia". In the early 1990s, psychiatrists of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia proved that the claim of her mental illness was bogus. She described her experience in her book Beyond Despair.
Novodvorskaya stood as a Democratic Union candidate in the 1993 Russian legislative election in a single-mandate district as part of the Russia's Choice bloc, and she also contested the 1995 Russian legislative election on the list of the Party of Economic Freedom. She was not elected in either election, and never held public office.
Novodvorskaya self-identified primarily as a liberal politician and was described by her colleagues as "a critic of Russian realities in the best traditions of Pyotr Chaadayev, Vissarion Belinsky and Alexander Herzen". She was strongly critical of Chechen Wars, Vladimir Putin's domestic policies, and the rebirth of Soviet propaganda in Russia. She also accused the Russian government of murdering Polish president Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash on 10 April 2010 in Smolensk Oblast.
In 2009 Novodvorskaya published an autobiographical book, Farewell of Slavianka: A Thriller, that includes all her articles from Novy Vzglad, the details of her case, fragments of speech her lawyer Henri Reznik gave in 1996 and her last word in court. The case lasted for two years and was apparently closed.
Throughout her life, Novodvorskaya lived in a flat with her mother Nina Fyodorovna (Нина Федоровна Новодворская, 1928–2017), a pediatrician, and cat Stasik. In the summers they rented a dacha in Kratovo. She was fond of swimming, science fiction, theater and cats.
In 1990 Novodvorskaya was baptized by the noncanonical Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Reunited. She belonged to that church till her death while remaining highly critical of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to her priest Yakov Krotov, "she was more of a Christian than I ever was".
Novodvorskaya received the Starovoytova award "for contribution to the defense of human rights and strengthening democracy in Russia". She said at the ceremony that "we are not in opposition to, but in confrontation with, the present regime".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Valeriya Novodvorskaya.|