There are Russian intellectuals and human rights activists that it is never possible to get a hold of.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva. She answered always in the phone.

several years ago, I interviewed her in her home, which is located in the centre of Moska next to the pedestrian street, Arbat. The interview was interrupted constantly by calls from people who needed her help. One of the calls came from people who were threatened by eviction – they lived in a former student dorm, which had changed owner and now he wanted to get rid of all the old tenants.

Alexeyeva listened patiently to their story. Then she put the phone down and said politely to me:

” I’m very sorry, but I need to make a call.

She called up an official. I do not remember exactly what she said, but I remember her old-fashioned ornament, and at the same time crystal-clear way to express themselves. Alexeyeva was a man who did not abort or throw the handset in the ear. Her natural commanding presence, everyone had to listen, including opponents of the Kremlin.

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Lyudmila Ultrabet Alexeyeva 2012. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/TT

a classic soviet intellectual and dissident. She abandoned a promising career as an archaeologist and founding the helsinki group, a group of soviet intellectuals who observed that the soviet authorities followed the helsinki agreement of 1975. It was the only international agreements the Soviet union had signed where you agreed to respect citizens ‘ fundamental freedoms and rights.

of Course, had further soviet leaders of any intention to comply with the agreement. But by the agreement they had given the country’s dissidents an opportunity to legally claim their rights.

Lyudmila Aleksejva had to move to the united states in the year 1977. She returned to Russia in 1993 after the fall of communism and then proceeded vigorously with the exact same work as before – to highlight and protest against human rights violations.

She protested against the war in Chechnya, against the law that obliges Russian NGOS to register as foreign agents, she went in the marches, where her distinctive, curved figure was folkhavet to divide as if by magic. Her commanding presence and advanced age made that the police do not always know what they would do with her. When she in 2009 was arrested at a demonstration, dressed as the Russian sagofiguren Snöflickan, there was an outcry not just internationally. Also in Russia, where public opinion is rarely compassionate very much for the democracy activists, was upset big.

” It was Lyudmila Alexeyeva.

Lyudmila Aleksejva during a demonstration in Moscow in 2009. On the sign it says ”Respect the constitution!”. Photo: ALEXEY SAZONOV

last year, she received the visit of Putin himself, who toasted her in champagne. The Russian human rights activist, who at any time had been compromised by such an image. But not Alexeyeva. Next to her shrank Putin.

Alexeyeva said, is always clear and stringent. Never hateful. She had an unerring ability to always highlight the essentials and an internal formation which made her a sharp and at the same time naturally well mannered person.

There are few people like her. Her legacy is general in a time of hatred and threats.