Biographies of Honorees, 2004 Democracy Award

Ludmila Mikhailovna Alekseeva
Ludmila Alekseeva was a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group and has served as president of the International Helsinki Foundation since 1998. She graduated from the history faculty of Moscow State University in 1950 and, following the death of Stalin in 1953 and the exposure of Beria’s crimes, turned down the opportunity to move into Komsomol work. From 1956 on, her apartment was a meeting place for Moscow intelligentsia and a center for the distribution of Samizadat. In the following years, she worked to offer material assistance to political prisoners and their families while writing extensively on human rights in the USSR. In 1976, she accepted the invitation of Yuri Orlov to join the ranks of the nascent Moscow Helsinki Group where she became the editor and archivist of the group’s documents until Orlov’s arrest, after which she was exiled to the United States. She returned to Russia in 1993. Since 1989, she has been a member of the restored Moscow Helsinki Group of which she was elected chairman in 1996. 

Mara Fyodorovna Polyakova
Mara Polyakova is a leading lawyer in the field of human rights and the current director of the Independent Council of Legal Expertise. She is also a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, the leader of the expert council in the office of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, and a member of the Russian section of the International Commission of Lawyers. Between 1979 and 1997 she served as dean of the Institute of Higher Qualifications of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. Since 1994 she has been a professor at the Russian Legal Academy of the Ministry of Justice. During the 1990’s, she also served staffs of State Duma Deputies Yuri Chernichenko, Galina Starovoitova, and Sergei Kovalev. She is the author of many textbooks and academic articles on legal subjects. 

Arseny Borisovich Roginsky
Arseny Roginsky is a co-founder of the Memorial Historical, Educational and Human Rights Society, member of its board since 1988, and the current Chairman of the Board of the Memorial International Society. He was born in 1946 and graduated from the School of Philology at the University of Tartu in Estonia. In the 1970’s he edited and compiled a samizdat collection of materials on the history of political repression in the USSR for publication in Paris. From 1981 until 1985 he was political prisoner in a Soviet camp, sentenced for his publication of historical, literary and political writing. He has been a member of the board of Memorial since its re-creation in 1988, as well as the editor of the historical almanac, Zvenia, and many other periodicals issued by Memorial. He has been the author of numerous publications on the history and statistics of repression and papers on the human rights situation in Russia. 

Alexey Kirillovich Simonov
Alexey Simonov currently serves as president of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, working on the issues of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Born in 1939, he completed Moscow State University in 1964. In 1970, he completed a graduate degree in cinematography and began working for the Ekran film collective. Between 1970 and 1991 he directed 20 musical and documentary films. From 1991 to 1995 he worked as a dean and professor at the Institute of Cinematography. Since 1991, he has been the chairman of the board and president of the Glasnost Defense Foundation. He is the author of many articles on issues relating to the freedom the press.