The New Sakharov Exhibition Moscow Didn't Want Russians To See

After Moscow city authorities blocked a planned exhibition about the late Soviet dissident and rights activist Andrei Sakharov, RFE/RL's Russian Service obtained the materials that were to be used from the Sakharov Center.

The photographs and quotes were planned to be put on display ahead of Sakharov's 100th birth anniversary on May 21.

Organizers say they were first told the exhibition was "unacceptable" by local authorities, then that the displays needed were being used for another presentation.

An excerpt from the exhibition, titled Alarm And Hope, is published below:

Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (1921-1989): Alarm And Hope

Andrei Dmitriyevich Sakharov was born on May 21, 1921, in Moscow. This year we celebrate the centenary of his birth.

Scientists know him as a great physicist; the military knows him as the constructor of thermonuclear weapons; politicians know him as a fighter for peace and the environment. To ordinary people, he is relatable as an upholder of the law who dedicated himself to fighting for the fundamental principles that today form the basis of the Russian Constitution.

He did a great deal for his country, but he was also one of the first who said out loud that mankind has a common fate in the modern world, that the future should not be in conflict and division but in mutual respect and cooperation between countries and peoples. He placed human rights and dignity at the center of the modern world.

"I'm not a professional politician. Perhaps that’s why I’m always bothered by the questions of purpose and the final result of my actions. I tend to believe that only moral criteria combined with unbiased thought can be used as a compass in these complex and contradictory problems. I abstain from specific predictions, but today, as always, I believe in the power of the human mind and spirit." -- Autobiography, 1981

"I believe that due to the internationalization of science and their relative independence, scientists must be able to stand up for all humanity around the world -- above the selfish interests of 'their' state, their 'nation,' above the prejudices of 'their' social system and ideology..." -- Letter to the participants of a meeting at the Sorbonne, 1983

'To me, disunity is the flip side of pluralism, freedom, and respect for the individual -- these all-important sources of strength and flexibility in a society. In general, and especially in challenging times, I'm convinced, it is much more important to stay faithful to these principles, rather than to have a mechanical, barracks-type unity, that is, of course, useful for expansion but is historically infertile. Eventually, it is life that wins." -- Memoirs

"I believe that humanity will find a reasonable solution for the complicated problem of implementing a colossal, necessary, and inevitable progress while preserving humanity in humankind and nature in the natural world." -- The World In Half A Century, 1974

"I am convinced that the ideology of protection of human rights is the only foundation that can unite people regardless of their nationality, political beliefs, religion, or social status..." -- Memoirs

"Humanity can develop painlessly only if it considers itself as a demographic unity, a single family, without dividing itself into nations in any respect other than history and traditions." -- Reflections On Progress, Peaceful Coexistence And Intellectual Freedom, 1968

Academic Sergei Averintsev: “It will never be forgotten that Sakharov stood tall, without waiting for permission, and thus helped immensely to reach the moment when walking upright became possible for weaker ones -- that is, for the rest of us."

Sergei Kovalyov, human rights activist: “Andrei Dmitrievich has an absolute normal thinking known from time immemorial: the one based on reason. His intellectual activities, whether in science or politics, or struggle for human rights, were fully consistent with the qualities that define a true scientist. These qualities, in my opinion, derive from three 'immunities': fearlessness, selflessness, and impartiality."