Vladimir Bukovsky

Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky ( _ru. Влади́мир Константи́нович Буко́вский; b. December 30 1942) is a notable former Soviet political dissident, author and political activist.

Bukovsky was one of the first to expose the use of psychiatric imprisonment against political prisoners in the Soviet Union. He spent a total of twelve years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and in psikhushkas, forced-treatment psychiatric hospitals used by the regime as special prisons.

Early life

Vladimir Bukovsky was born in the town of Belebey, Bashkirian ASSR, Russian SFSR (now Bashkortostan), where his family was evacuated from Moscow during World War II. In 1959 he was expelled from his Moscow school for creating and editing an unauthorized magazine.

Activism and arrests

From June 1963 to February 1965, Bukovsky was convicted (Article 70-1 of the Penal Code of the RSFSR) and sent to a psikhushka for organizing poetry meetings in the center of Moscow (next to the Mayakovsky monument). The official charge was an attempt to copy anti-Soviet literature, namely "The New Class" by Milovan Djilas.

In December 1965 he organised a demonstration at Pushkin Square in Moscow in defence of the writers Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel (see Sinyavsky-Daniel trial). Three days before the planned demonstration, Bukovsky was arrested. He was kept in various psykhushkas without any charges till July 1966.

In January 1967 he was arrested for organizing a demonstration in defence of Alexander Ginzburg, Yuri Galanskov and other dissidents (Article 190-1, 3 years of imprisonment); released in January 1970.

In 1971, Bukovsky managed to smuggle to the West over 150 pages documenting abuse of psychiatric institutions for political reasons in the Soviet Union. The information galvanized human rights activists worldwide (including inside the country) and was a pretext for his subsequent arrest in the same year. At the trial in January 1972 Bukovsky was accused of slandering the Soviet psychiatry, contacts with foreign journalists and possession and distribution of samizdat (Article 70-1, 7 years of imprisonment plus 5 years in exile).

Together with a fellow inmate in the prison camp No 35 near Perm, psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman, he coauthored "A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents" [ru iconV.Bukovsky."A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents" ("Пособие по психиатрии для инакомыслящих")http://antology.igrunov.ru/authors/bukovsky/psychiatr.html ] in order to help other dissidents to fight abuses of the authorities.


The fate of Bukovsky and other political prisoners in the Soviet Union, repeatedly brought to attention by Western human rights groups and diplomats, was a cause of embarrassment and irritation for the Soviet authorities.

December 18, 1976, while imprisoned, Bukovsky was exchanged for former Chilean Communist leader Luis Corvalán. In his autobiographical book "To Build a Castle", Bukovsky describes how he was brought to Switzerland handcuffed. This biography is available online at several sites [В.Буковский «И возвращается ветер…» 1978 г. http://www.vehi.net/samizdat/bukovsky.html ] [B.Буковский «И возвращается ветер…» 1978 г. http://www.sakharov-center.ru/asfcd/auth/auth_pages.xtmpl?Key=17441&page=3] [В.Буковский [1] «И возвращается ветер…» 1978 г. http://www.tyurem.net/books/bukovsky/001.htm]

In the United Kingdom

Since 1976 Bukovsky has lived in Cambridge, England, focusing on neurophysiology and writing. He received a Masters Degree in Biology and has written several books and political essays. In addition to criticizing the Soviet regime, he also picked apart what he calls "Western gullibility", a lack of a tough stand of Western liberalism against Communist abuses.

In 1983, together with Vladimir Maximov and Eduard Kuznetsov he cofounded and was elected president of international anti-Communist organization Resistance International ( _ru. Интернационал сопротивления). In 1985, together with Albert Jolis, Armondo Valladares, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Midge Decter and Yuri Yarim-Agaev founded the American Foundation for Resistance International, later joined by Richard Perle and Martin Colman became the coordinating center for the dissidents and democracy movements seeking to overturn communism, it organized protests in the captive nations and opposed western financial assistance for the communist regimes. It had a primary role in the coordination of the opposition which was instrumental in the demise of communism. It also created of the National Council To Support The Democracy Movements (National Council For Democracy) which, helped establish democratic Rule of Law Governments and assisted with the writing of their constitutions and civil structures.

"Judgment in Moscow"

In April 1991 Vladimir Bukovsky visited Moscow for the first time since his forced deportation. In the run-up to the 1991 presidential election Boris Yeltsin's campaign considered Bukovsky as a potential vice-presidential running-mate (other contenders included Galina Starovoitova and Gennady Burbulis). In the end, the vice-presidency was offered to Alexander Rutskoi.

In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, President Yeltsin's government invited Bukovsky to serve as an expert to testify at the CPSU trial by Constitutional Court of Russia, where the communists were sueing Yeltsin for banning their party. The respondent's case was that the CPSU itself had been an unconstitutional organisation. To prepare for his testimony, Bukovsky requested and was granted access to a large number of documents from Soviet archives (then reorganized into TsKhSD). Using a small handheld scanner and a laptop computer, he managed to secretly scan many documents (some with high security clearance), including KGB reports to the Central Committee, and smuggle the files to the West. [ [http://psi.ece.jhu.edu/~kaplan/IRUSS/BUK/GBARC/buk.html Many of these scanned documents are available as the "Soviet Archives"] (INFO-RUSS)] The event that many expected would be another Nuremberg Trial and the beginnings of reconciliation with the Communist past, ended up in half-measures: while the CPSU was found unconstitutional, the communists were allowed to form new parties in the future. Bukovsky expressed his deep disappointment with this in his writings and interviews:

It took several years and a team of assistants to compose the scanned pieces together and publish it (see [http://psi.ece.jhu.edu/~kaplan/IRUSS/BUK/GBARC/buk.html Soviet Archives] , collected by Vladimir Bukovsky, prepared for electronic publishing by Julia Zaks and Leonid Chernikhov). The same collection of documents is also massively quoted in Bukovsky's "Judgement in Moscow", which was published in 1994, translated to many languages and attracted international attention.


In 1992 a group of liberal deputies of the Moscow City Council proposed Bukovsky's candidacy for elections of the new Mayor of Moscow, following the resignation of the previous Mayor, Gavriil Popov. Bukovsky refused the offer. In early 1996 a group of Moscow academics, journalists and intellectuals suggested that Vladimir Bukovsky should run for President of Russia as an alternative candidate to both incumbent President Boris Yeltsin and his Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov. No formal nomination was initiated. In any case, Bukovsky would not have been allowed to run, as the Russian Constitution stipulates that any presidential candidate must have lived in the country continuously for ten years prior to the election.

In 1997, during the General Meeting in Florence, Bukovsky has been elected General President of the Comitatus pro Libertatibus- Comitati per le Libertà- Freedom Committees, the international movement aimed to defend and empower everywhere the culture of liberties. Re-elected since then, Bukovsky promoted together with Dario Fertilio and Stéphane Courtois, a writer and an historian, the Memento Gulag, or Memorial Day devoted to the victims of communism and totalitarian regimes, to be held each year, on 7th November (anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution). Since then, the Memento Gulag has been celebrated in Rome, Bucharest, Berlin, La Roche sur Yon and Paris.

In 2002 Boris Nemtsov, a member of the Russian Duma (parliament) and leader of the Union of Right Forces, and former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, visited Vladimir Bukovsky in Cambridge to discuss the strategy of the Russian opposition. Bukovsky told Nemtsov that, in his view, it is imperative that Russian liberals adopt an uncompromising stand toward what he sees as the authoritarian government of President Vladimir Putin. In January 2004, together with Garry Kasparov, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir V. Kara-Murza and others, Vladimir Bukovsky co-founded the Committee 2008, an umbrella organization of the Russian democratic opposition, whose purpose is to ensure free and fair presidential elections in 2008.

In 2005 Bukovsky participated in "They Chose Freedom", [http://www.newsru.com/russia/01dec2005/film.html They Chose Freedom] , a documentary series by Vladimir Kara-Murza (in Russian).] a four-part documentary on the Soviet dissident movement. In 2005, with the revelations about captives in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the CIA secret prisons, Bukovsky criticized the rationalization of torture. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/17/AR2005121700018.html Torture's Long Shadow] , The Washington Post, 2005.] Bukovsky warned about some parallels between the formations of Soviet Union and European Union. [ [http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/865 Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship] , interview with Bukovsky by Paul Belien. Transcript of Mr Bukovsky’s Brussels speech. The Brussels Journal, 27 February 2006.]

Vladimir Bukovsky is a member of the Board of Directors of the Gratitude Fund, and a member of the International Council of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. In the United Kingdom, he is Vice-President of The Freedom Association (TFA) and a patron of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

Candidate for Russian Presidential Election, 2008

On the 28th May 2007, Bukovsky agreed to become a candidate in the Russian presidential election. [ [http://prima-news.ru/eng/news/news/2007/5/28/38275.html Vladimir Bukovsky Will Run for President of Russia in 2008] . Prima News, 28 May 2007.] [ [http://newsru.com/russia/28may2007/bukovsky.html Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky agrees to run for Russian president] ru icon, Newsru, 28 May 2007. [http://google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://newsru.com/russia/28may2007/bukovsky.html Computer translation] .]

The group that nominated Bukovsky as a candidate included Yuri Ryzhov, Vladimir V. Kara-Murza, Alexander Podrabinek, Andrei Piontkovsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky and others. [ [http://www.prima-news.ru/news/news/2007/5/28/38274.html Statement by the Initiative group nominating Vladimir Bukovsky a candidate for Russian Federation president] ru icon, Prima News, May 28, 2007. [http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://www.prima-news.ru/news/news/2007/5/28/38274.html Computer translation] .] Activists and writers Valeria Novodvorskaya, Victor Shenderovich, Vladimir Sorokin favored Bukovsky. [ [http://www.prima-news.ru/news/news/2007/6/8/38395.html Victor Shenderovich and Yuri Shmidt supported the candidacy of Vladimir Bukovsky] ru icon, Prima News, June 8, 2007. [http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://www.prima-news.ru/news/news/2007/6/8/38395.html Computer translation] ] [ [http://prima-news.ru/news/news/2007/6/22/38509.html Chronicles of nominating Vladimir Bukovsky a 2008 presidential candidate] ru icon, Prima News, June 22, 2007. [http://google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://prima-news.ru/news/news/2007/6/22/38509.html Computer translation] .] .

In their answer to pro-Kremlin politicians and publicists who expressed doubt in Bukovksy's electoral prospects, his nominators refuted a number of frequently repeated statements. [ [http://bukovsky2008.ucoz.ru/news/2007-07-12-26 On judicial aspects of nominating Vladimir Bukovsky a candidate for president of Russian Federation] ru icon, Bukovsky nomination initiative group, July 12, 2007. [http://google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://bukovsky2008.ucoz.ru/news/2007-07-12-26 Computer translation] .] .

More than 800 participants nominated Bukovsky for president on December 16, 2007 in Moscow. Bukovsky secured the required turnout and submitted his registration to the Central Election Commission on December 18, 2007. [http://www.echo.msk.ru/news/413021.html The candidature of Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky nominated for president] ru icon, Echo of Moscow, December 16, 2007. [http://google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://www.echo.msk.ru/news/413021.html Computer translation] .] [http://www.newsru.com/russia/18dec2007/buk.html Bukovsky was on time to submit documents to CEC for registration as a candidate for Russian president] ru icon, Newsru, December 18, 2007. [http://google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://www.newsru.com/russia/18dec2007/buk.html Computer translation] .] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/russia/newsid_7150000/7150634.stm CEC received documents from Vladimir Bukovsky] ru icon, BBC Russian Service, December 18. 2007. [http://google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/russia/newsid_7150000/7150634.stm Computer translation] .] .

The Initiative Group refuted pro-government media's early claims of Bukovsky's failure in the presidential race and Constitution court appeals. [http://en.rian.ru/russia/20071219/93216214.html Soviet dissident Bukovsky pulls out of presidential race] , RIA Novosti, 19 December 2007.] [ [http://bukovsky2008.ucoz.ru/news/2007-12-20-43 Media spread incorrect information on refusing Bukovsky's run for president] ru icon, the official site of the Bukovsky for President Initiative Group, December 20, 2007. [http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://bukovsky2008.ucoz.ru/news/2007-12-20-43 Computer translation] .]

The Election Commission turned down Bukovsky's application on December 22, 2007, claiming that he failed to give information on his activity as a writer when submitting documents to the Election Commission, that he was holding a British residence permit, and that he has not been living on Russian territory over the past ten years. [ [http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?id_issue=11945464 Interfax news agency: Refusal to register Bukovsky's initiative group is legal - court] ] Bukovsky appealed the decision in Supreme Court on December 28, 2007, then in its cassation board on January 15, 2008. [ [http://bukovsky2008.ucoz.ru/news/2008-01-15-54 Supreme Court completely rejected Bukovsky's registration] ru icon, Bukovsky's Initiative group, January 15, 2008. [http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=ru|en&u=http://bukovsky2008.ucoz.ru/news/2008-01-15-54 Computer translation] .] [ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
] ru icon, December 28, 2007.


* [http://www.bukovsky-archives.net/ Soviet Archives] , collected by Vladimir Bukovsky, prepared for electronic publishing by Julia Zaks and Leonid Chernikhov.
* [http://www.thegratitudefund.org/buk-publ.html List of publications] of Vladimir Bukovsky at The Gratitude Fund.
* "EUSSR: The Soviet Roots of European Integration", 2004. ISBN 0-9540231-1-0
* Vladimir Bukovsky. "To Build a Castle", "Samizdat", 1978 ("И возвращается ветер", in Russian), http://www.vehi.net/samizdat/bukovsky.html
* "Soul of Man Under Socialism", 1979. ISBN 0-89633-029-X
* "Soviet Hypocrisy and Western Gullibility", 1987. ISBN 0-89633-113-X
* "Judgement in Moscow" (Московский процесс) based on his 1992 visit to Russia and the "Soviet Archives".
* "To Choose Freedom" Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 1987. ISBN 0-8179-8442-9
* [http://www.evene.fr/livres/livre/vladimir-boukovsky-l-union-europeenne-une-nouvelle-urss--16197.php Vladimir Boukovsky. L’Union européenne, une nouvelle URSS ?] Editeur: Le Rocher, Publication: 1/9/2005, ISBN 2268055469, 180 pages.
* [http://www.amazon.fr/dp/2268055469 Vladimir Boukovsky (Auteur), Pavel Stroilov (Auteur), Pierre Lorrain (Traduction). L'Union européenne, une nouvelle URSS ?] , 2005. [http://www.librairiecatholique.com/livres/societe/leurope/lunion_europeenne_une_nouvelle_urss__.asp A review at Librairie Catholique] .


External links

* [http://bukovsky2008.org/ Official Presidential campaign site]
* [http://bukovsky2008.ru/ Unofficial Presidential campaign site]
* [http://www.thegratitudefund.org/bukov.html Bio] at The Gratitude Fund
* [http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/sakharov/Exhibit/bukovsky.html Faces of Resistance in the USSR: V. Bukovsky] . The Andrei Sakharov Archives and Human Rights Center at Brandeis University
* [http://psi.ece.jhu.edu/~kaplan/IRUSS/BUK/GBARC/pdfs/dis70/dis70-r.html Dissidents, 1970-1979] contain materials concerning activities, arrests and exchange of Bukovsky
* [http://www.rjews.net/maof/article.php3?id=2405&type=s&sid=37 An Open Letter to President G.W. Bush by Vladimir Bukovsky and Elena Bonner] (2003-03-27)
* [http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=3263 The West Lost The War: Vladimir Bukovsky] (2001)
* [http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=8132 A Conversation With Vladimir Bukovsky] - by Jamie Glazov, FrontPageMagazine.com May 30, 2003
* [http://hnn.us/articles/834.html Conservatives Debate: Is the Threat of Islamic Terrorism More Dangerous to America than Communism Was?] By Vladimir Bukovsky, Daniel Pipes, Paul Hollander, and Michael Ledeen
*ru icon [http://antology.igrunov.ru/authors/bukovsky/ Bio and writings]
*ru icon [http://www.hro.org/editions/karta/nr21/bukov1.htm Press-conference in Warsaw] 1998
* [http://www.voicesofdissent.com Voices of Dissent] An expose film of alleged human rights abuse presented by Vladimir Bukovsky (2006)
*http://www.hro.org/editions/karta/nr21/bukov1.htm PressConference, Warsaw, 1998

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