Dr Yelena Bonner

Dr Yelena Bonner

Birth
Turkmenistan
Death 18 Jun 2011 (aged 88)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia
Memorial ID 71638286 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Russian Political Dissident. She is remembered as the wife of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Andrei Sakharov and as a strong opponent of the Soviet regime in her own right. Raised in what was then Soviet Central Asia, both of her parents were active Communists. Bonner was essentially orphaned in 1937 when her father Gregori Alikhanov was murdered in one of Stalin's purges and her Jewish mother was sent to a labor camp; though she had been expelled from the Young Communist League for refusing to denounce her parents she was allowed to join the Red Army during World War II in which she served as a nurse and was twice wounded in combat, suffering eye injuries that were to plague her for the rest of her days. After the war she earned her M.D. from the First Leningrad Medical Institute, trained in pediatrics, and worked for a time in Iraq. Though long active in trying to obtain better treatment for Soviet political prisoners Dr. Bonner joined the Communist Party in 1965, reasoning that she could do more good from the inside than from the outside. Around 1970 she met physicist Andrei Sakharov, once the leading light of Soviet nuclear weapons development but by then an advocate of disarmament as well as of social and prison reform. After the couple married in the early 1970s Bonner dropped her Party membership and saw their Moscow apartment become a gathering place for those of like mind. When Dr. Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 he was not allowed to attend the award ceremony and thus Dr. Bonner, who was in Italy for medical care at the time of the announcement, received it in his stead. In the early 1980s the pair found themselves exiled to Gorky over Dr. Sakharov's opposition to the Afgan invasion though they were ultimately returned to Moscow on the personal orders of Mikhail Gorbachev. Dr. Bonner underwent heart surgery in Boston after her release then following Dr. Sahharov's 1989 death divided her remaining years between Moscow and Boston. Maintaining an interest in the politics of her native land even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, she earned multiple human rights awards and spoke out against the policies of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin when she felt it necessary, though in later years she suffered a progressive worsening of her chronic cardiac and ophthalmologic problems. Dr. Bonner died after an extended hospitalization for heart failure.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


Family Members

Spouse

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Dr Yelena Bonner?

Current rating:

27 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 19 Jun 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 71638286
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Yelena Bonner (15 Feb 1923–18 Jun 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 71638286, citing Vostryakovskoe Cemetery, Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .