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Yelena Bonner Says Sakharov's Ideals Being Forgotten

Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner in Gorky in 1985

Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner in Gorky in 1985

Yelena Bonner, the widow of Soviet-era rights defender Andrei Sakharov and an outspoken rights campaigner in her own right, has lamented what she says is a decline in the invocation of her late husband's name and ideals, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Bonner said at a conference devoted to the late Nobel laureate Sakharov's legacy that his name is mentioned only at anniversaries and special events.

She said too many people have forgotten the ideals he espoused and activities he undertook under Soviet repression.

Today's conference was organized at the Foreign Literature Library to mark the 20th anniversary of Sakharov's death.

In his address to conference participants, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Sakharov's ideas are similar to the goals and tasks facing current Russian society.

Sakharov, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975, was a leading Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident, and human rights activist.

He was persecuted by Soviet authorities for his ideas promoting civil liberties and reforms.

After Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms associated with "perestroika" in 1985, Sakharov returned to Moscow from internal exile and entered Soviet social and political life.

He died of a heart attack on December 14, 1989, at the age of 68.