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'Sakharov Monument' Planned For Kirov

Andrei Sakharov at the First Congress of People's Deputies in June 1989
A monument to prominent human rights activist Andrei Sakharov will be placed in the northwestern Russian city of Kirov, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The sculpture will officially be called "The Monument to the Honest Man."

Sakharov's widow, Yelena Bonner, had protested at the idea of a monument bearing her husband's name being erected in Russia under the present circumstances.

Sculptor Grigory Pototsky created the monument, which is a bronze bench with a figure of Sakharov sitting on it.

The work was paid for by former Kirov Oblast Deputy Governor Sergei Karnaukhov. He told RFE/RL the inscription on the sculpture will say: "This monument was inspired by the heroic human deeds of the academic Sakharov."

Karnaukhov said that if Kirov authorities give their approval, the sculpture will be placed symbolically with the figure's back to Kirov's old prison and his face looking toward a church. Passersby would be able sit on the bench next to the Sakharov figure.

Sakharov was a prominent Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident, and human rights activist. He was a chief advocate of civil liberties and reforms in the Soviet Union. Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975, and died in 1989 at the age of 68.