NIZHNY NOVGOROD, December 12 /TASS/. A monument to Andrey Sakharov, a Russian scientist and human rights activist, was unveiled in Nizhny Novgorod located on the confluence of the Volga and Ob Rivers in the southern part of European Russia. The monument created by sculptor Alexey Shchitov on voluntary donations stands next to Sakharov’s apartment museum where the scientist had lived in a political exile.
Andrey Sakharov (1921-1989) was a Soviet physicist who became an academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences at the age of 32. He worked on development of nuclear weapons at a secret military enterprise known as Arzamas-16 for 18 years. He is one of the scientists who created a thermonuclear bomb. Sakharov was the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
In 1980, Sakharov was stripped of all his titles and decorations for his human rights activities and criticism of the Soviet regime. He and his wife Yelena Bonner were exiled to the city of Gorky, now Nizhny Novgorod, which was closed to foreigners at that time.
Late in 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev allowed Sakharov to return to Moscow from exile. The world regarded Sakharov’s return as a milestone event in the cause of ending suppression of dissent in the Soviet Union.