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Sakharov's Birthday Marked In Russia

Andrei Sakharov addressing the First Congress of USSR People's Deputies in 1989
MOSCOW -- The 88th birthday of late Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov is being marked in several Russian cities, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

A two-day conference on Sakharov's role in history is being held in Nizhny Novgorod. The conference was first held in the city, formerly known as Gorky, when Sakharov was living there in internal exile.

The Sakharov Center in Moscow will hold its traditional "Sakharov's May Day" on May 24.

Birthday ceremonies for Sakharov will also be held in many other cities across Russia.

Sakharov, a prominent nuclear physicist, became one of the main leaders of the human rights movement in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s.

After his public protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, his state awards were taken away and he was sent to Gorky, where he was for six years.

Following the introduction of perestroika and glasnost in the 1980s, Sakharov was elected to the Soviet parliament in 1989 but died later that year.