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Wednesday, June 22, 2011
92Y Podcast: Elena Bonner on Russia and the Republics in the Post Cold War Era

Elena Bonner, human rights activist in the former Soviet Union and widow of Nobel Prize-winning nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov, died in Boston on June 18 at 88. The New York Times writes:

Though Sakharov was better known, Ms. Bonner became a force in her own right, waging a tireless campaign to improve the lives of her people long after her husband’s death in 1989.

It is a role she accepted out of necessity, she would say. A pediatrician by training, whose family suffered greatly during the Stalinist purges, Ms. Bonner longed for a simpler life.


Strong-jawed, bespectacled and austere in dress, Ms. Bonner was something of a symbol of dignified protest within the Soviet Union. Half-Jewish, she was a target of anti-Semitism.

On April 12, 1994 at 92Y, Bonner sat down with James F. Hoge Jr. to discuss, with the use of a translator, Russia and the Republics in the Post Cold War Era. In this audio clip, she shares a humorous story about the scarcity of socks after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

You can also download the MP3. [7 MB]
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