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Prominent Russian Pro-Democracy Politician, Historian Yury Afanasyev Dies

MOSCOW -- Prominent Soviet and Russian pro-democracy politician and historian Yury Afanasyev has died in Moscow at the age of 81.

Afanasyev -- former rector of the Moscow State History and Archive Institute -- became well known across the Soviet Union in the late 1980s after writing several articles criticizing the study of history in the Soviet Union.

He later founded the Russian State University for the Humanities, which he led until 2006.

He became a Soviet lawmaker in 1989 and co-chaired the first Soviet opposition group in parliament -- the Interregional Deputy Group.

Afanasyev was one of the founders of the Democratic Russia movement in 1990 and later co-chaired it until 1992. In 1993, Afanasyev announced he was quitting politics.

He was a frequent guest on RFE/RL radio programs.

With reporting by