MOSCOW -- Aleksei Yablokov, a prominent Russian environmentalist and opposition politician whom a colleague described as a "hero of our time," has died at the age of 83.
A spokesman for the Yabloko party, Igor Yakovlev, said late on January 10 that Yablokov had died after a "lengthy illness." He gave no details.
A respected biologist, Yablokov was a member of Yabloko's Political Council and the adviser to the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Yablokov founded Greenpeace U.S.S.R. in 1988 and led it until 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed.
"He was a hero of our time, a true scholar, teacher, and activist," Greenpeace Russia spokesman Yevgeny Usov said on the organization's website.
Yablokov was elected to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. in 1989, in the first competitive elections to the country’s legislature.
In 1992-93, he led Russian President Boris Yeltsin's Ecological Policy Council.
In 2005, he was elected as the chairman of Russia's Union of Greens, which later merged with the Yabloko party. He had led the party’s ecology wing since then.