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]