Copyright © 2021

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Tribute to Valeria Novodvorskaya

Tribute to Valeria Novodvorskaya

By Katya Kazbek

Let me tell you about a remarkable woman who passed away today in Russia. Her name was Valeria Novodvorskaya, and, I’m sure you’ve never heard of her. But it’s a loss, really, because this woman started riots long before they could go viral and she kicked major ass when Wendy Davis was only in pre-school. In 1969, 19-year old Valeria came to the Kremlin Palace of Congresses (the place where the Communist Party of USSR held all their conventions) to distribute leaflets with her own poems that opposed the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. For this bold move she was arrested and placed in a psychiatric ward for ‘sluggish schizophrenia’ — the fake diagnosis that was used by the KGB to subdue dissidents. When Valeria finally walked free, she was 22 and her hair had turned grey.

In the following years, Valeria’s circumstances altered and but she never ceased fighting against the regime. Unfortunately for her, and for all of us, the regimes changed but this change never served to alleviate the suffering of the people. Valeria was a strong advocate of Chechnya’s independence, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, and was said to have survived 9 counts of dry hunger strikes. I can’t say that I agreed with Valeria on every single issue — no, far from it. But I’ve always tried to pay attention to what she was saying ever since my father pointed at Valeria speaking on TV when I was about 8 and told me that she was the most intelligent woman in Russia. Even now, two decades later, it’s kind of hard to counter that.

Today Valeria died of toxic shock at the age of 64. I’m not going to speculate about the government’s involvement in this, we can’t know anything for sure anymore. But I really want for this truly great woman’s death to not go unnoticed. She was a brave, honest person who never failed to fight for the truth as she saw it. She was the most tender daughter — acquaintances claim she would immediately call her mother whenever she arrived to work, just to let her know she was ok. She was by her own admission asexual, – and never gave a flying fuck about the media never failing to make fun of her for that, or for her standard-defying beauty, because, you know, professional journalism. She was a delight, she was a powerhouse, and for me, growing up, she was a real feminist hero. May she rest in peace.

Source: Katya Kazbek’s FB

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Related Posts