Honoring Vladimir Bukovsky: A Champion of Human Rights

December 30, 2012 marked the 70th birthday of Vladimir Bukovsky - one of the most prominent pioneers of the Movement for Human Rights.

Vladimir started his civil service back at school. It is difficult to overestimate the role of this man who underwent the man-made hell of special psychiatric institutions, years of prisons and concentration camps and deportation from his native country. Nevertheless, he always remained stalwart and steadfast, never betraying any of his friends. To this day, he remains an implacable opponent of violence and restriction of human freedom.

Vladimir never considered, and does not consider, himself as a politician. Always, and in all circumstances, he has remained a Human and truth-seeker. It is for this particular reason he is hated by all kinds of dictators and despots. The fact that the administration of Russia today finds him persona non Grata and denies his entry to his own homeland says a lot.

I'm not sure that many young people are aware that the name of Bukovsky is associated with the revival of civil society in the heart of the totalitarian communist system. However, he initiated the uncensored readings at Mayakovsky Square in the early 1960's, he was at the forefront of the Movement for Human Rights in the USSR and he was one who repeatedly spoke out in defense of ethnic and religious minorities. In addition, he is largely credited with exposing the use of psychiatry for political purposes, and exposing the brutal nature of communism.

In honor of his birthday, I'm sure many will join me with the wish:

Long live, dear friend, Andrew P. Grigorenko President of General Petro Grigorenko Foundation www.grigorenko.org