Nuclear scientist, activist and Soviet dissident Valery Abramkin (66) died on Saturday according to friends. Abramkin was jailed for several years in Siberian Gulag for pushing prison reforms. He continued his activism for prison reforms during Vladimir Putin’s tenure also.
Putin’s condolence telegram according to Kremlin Press Service said, “(Abramkin) sincerely strove to contribute to the development and humanization of national legislation, the strengthening of the modern system of protecting human rights and freedoms of citizens,”
Abramkin headed Moscow Center for Prison Reform and was member of the Moscow Helsinki rights group and Presidential Rights Council of Putin. He raised his voice for civil liberties during 1970s and 80s and served for six years in a prison and soviet colony for allegedly taking up “anti-Soviet propaganda”. In 1985 he was on an exile to Tver Region.
Abramkin was fired from his job at Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology in 1976 for being part of the “anti-Soviet propaganda” after which he fell ill with tuberculosis during his stay in camps. As a result Abramkin struggled with the disease for the rest of his life.
It was in 1988 that Abramkin set up Moscow Center for Prison Reform which was known as Prison and Liberty Group back then with Nobel Prize winning and dissident Andrei Sakharov.