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MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally visited human rights defender Lyudmila Alexeyeva in Moscow and congratulated her on her 90th birthday before flying to Yoshkar-Ola. The president presented her with a bouquet of flowers and an engraving depicturing Crimea’s Eupatoria, Alexeyeva’s birthplace.
"Thank you for (dedicating your) life for the sake of people," the head of state said. As Alexeyeva admitted, the president’s visit came as a surprise to her. "I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of things all my life, and now a president comes to congratulate me. It was not usual earlier," she said.
"Earlier were other times," the state leader noted, adding, "You are doing the main thing. Solzhenitsyn talked of ‘saving people.’ He was doing it his way, and you are doing it your way."
The head of state also sent a greeting telegram to human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva in which he stressed the importance of her activity. "Following your heart, you devoted your whole life to serving society and asserting human rights and freedoms in a steadfast and consistent manner. Thanks to extraordinary moral strength and loyalty to your principles, you’ve achieved substantial results in human rights activities and made an outstanding contribution to improving the institutions of democracy and civil society," the telegram, published on the Kremlin’s web site, says.
Lyudmila Alexeyeva was born on July 20, 1927, in Eupatoria, Crimea. In 1952, she became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, from which she was expelled in 1968 for participation in dissident activities. In 1976, she became one of the founders of the human rights organization "Soviet Public Support Group for Implementation of Helsinki Accords" (later renamed the Moscow’s Helsinki Group).
From November 2004 to June 2012 she was a member of the Russian Presidential Council of Support for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights Institutions (from February 2011, the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights Development). On June 22, 2012, she stated she would leave the Council because she disagreed with the new procedure for its organization. Following President Vladimir Putin’s order, on May 26, 2015, Alexeyeva rejoined the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights Development.