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SUB-SERIES Identifier: MS Russ 79

II.2. Political activities, 1964-1989.

Scope and Contents

Speeches, statements, and interviews in manuscript, typescript, clippings, and one audiotape, 1964-1989. Drafts and photocopies of Sakharov's speeches and political statements are chiefly from the 1970s and 1980s as a member of the small Human Rights Committee, alone or in co-authorship with Elena Bonner. Covers the period from Sakharov's standing as a respectable academician with seditious ideas to the period of his exile, to his return to Moscow as a member of the Parliament. Statements concern political prisoners, emigration rights, the war in Afghanistan, internal Soviet politics, help to the victims of catastrophic events, and political refugees from many countries.

Interviews of Sakharov during this period were initially sought by the Western press in the wake of his winning the Nobel Prize in 1975; journalists managed to reach Sakharov in exile in Gorky though he and Bonner were under constant surveillance by the KGB and contact with the media was blocked. The bulk of the interviews date from his return to Moscow from exile (1986-1989); Soviet press coverage of Sakharov grew consistently after his return from exile. Interviews are represented in manuscript drafts of Sakharov's answers to interviewers' questions, as well as transcripts of his appearances on television and of phone conversations with journalists. Frequent subjects of the interviews included human rights, the dissident movement, Soviet internal politics, and the ethics of science; and later, Sakharov's thinking on political trends, perestroika, reforms, and his participation in Parliament.

Some material is in Dutch, German, Hungarian, and Polish.


  • 1964-1989.

Language of Materials

The collection is predominantly in English and Russian; there is also material in Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Ukrainian.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to most of this material. Collection is open for research.

RESTRICTION: Series I.7, Family correspondence, is restricted until July 2021.

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33.3 boxes

Physical Location

b, Harvard Depository

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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