The founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Yuri Orlov, has died
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The founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Yuri Orlov, has died

28 September , 16:03SocietyPhoto: Московская Хельсинская группа
The founder and first chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), dissident Yuri Orlov, died at the 97th year of his life.

The death of the human rights activist was announced by his colleague Sergey Kovalyov.

“Yuri Fyodorovich Orlov died. He lived a wonderful life. I was lucky to know him”, - he wrote on the social network Facebook.

The obituary posted on the MHG website says that back in May this year, Yuri Fedorovich conveyed his words of support on the MHG's birthday, stressing the importance of action in defense of human rights in the modern world.

“His idea that citizens can enforce the human dimension of the Helsinki Accords and jointly urge states to abide by their commitments in 1976 laid the foundation for the international Helsinki movement. We mourn with his family and friends and express our respect for his memory and his work”, - the message says.

Physicist, human rights activist and thinker Yuri Orlov lived a long and active life, teaching his favorite subject to the last opportunity and staying in touch with the human rights movement.

According to Radio Svoboda, Orlov was a participant in the Great Patriotic War. He fought as far as Prague. He was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the second degree. In 1951, Yuri Orlov graduated from the Faculty of Physics and Technology of Moscow State University, after which he worked in one of the secret laboratories of the "Atomic Project of the USSR", defended his doctorate in physics and mathematics.

In 1956, during a speech at a party meeting dedicated to the discussion of Khrushchev's report at the XX Congress of the CPSU, Orlov publicly called Joseph Stalin and Lavrenty Beria "murderers" and demanded "democracy based on socialism", which almost lost his career as a scientist. Orlov was fired from his job and deprived of access to secret documents, expelled from the CPSU for social democratic ideas. After that, he went to work at the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation of the USSR Academy of Sciences, but from there he was soon fired for supporting Academician Andrei Sakharov.

In 1977, Orlov was sentenced to 7 years in prison and 5 years in exile under an article on anti-Soviet propaganda. This happened after he, as a supporter of the Soviet group Amnesty International, founded and became the first leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group in 1976. The KGB persecuted him for his human rights activities. In 1986, after the end of his prison term, Orlov was deprived of USSR citizenship and forcibly expelled from the country in exchange for a Soviet intelligence officer arrested in the United States.

After moving to the United States, he became a professor at one of the largest universities in the country, Cornell, located in the state of New York. In exile, Orlov wrote his autobiographical novel Dangerous Thoughts.

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