Sakharov, Andrei Dmitriyevich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Sakharov, Andrei Dmitriyevich

Andrei Dmitriyevich Sakharov, 1921–89, Soviet nuclear physicist and human-rights advocate; first Soviet citizen to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1975). From 1948 to 1956 he helped to develop the USSR's hydrogen bomb. In the 1960s he emerged as a prominent critic of the arms race and of Soviet repression, and in 1971 Yelena Georgiyevna Bonner, 1923–2011, a pediatrician who also was a human-rights activist, became his second wife. In 1980 he was exiled to Gorky; in 1984 Bonner was convicted of anti-Soviet activities and also restricted to Gorky. Sakharov's banishment inspired worldwide protest, and in 1986, after Gorbachev's rise to power, both Sakharov and Bonner were pardoned. In 1989 he was elected to the Soviet parliament, and briefly served before he died. Bonner remained a liberal critic of the Soviet and Russian governments until her death.

See Bonner's Alone Together (tr. 1986); biography by R. Lourie (2002); study by J. Bergman (2009).

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