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Putin pays last respects to human rights activist

Vladimir Putin has paid his last respects to human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva, who passed away on December 8

MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has paid his last respects to human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 91, attending a final farewell ceremony at Moscow’s Central House of Journalists.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Putin very much valued Alexeyeva’s contribution to the development of civic society in Russia and highly respected her principled position on many domestic matters.

Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Human Rights Council Chairman Mikhail Fedotov also attended the ceremony, along with other politicians, public figures and common people.

After paying his last respects to the venerated human rights activist, the Russian president attended the unveiling ceremony of a monument to Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the Tagansky District.

The president noted that Solzhenitsyn was not only a writer and a thinker, but also "a true patriot of Russia." According to Putin, Solzhenitsyn’s centennial anniversary provides an opportunity to once again pay attention to his legacy, "which is woven into the fabric of the 20th century and remains up-to-date both for Russia and the entire world." Putin added that he remembered well all his meetings with the writer, as well as "his wisdom, balanced approaches and mastery of words." "His heart and soul ached for the country and were full of boundless love for it," the president said.

Later in the day, Putin is expected to chair a meeting of the Presidential Commission for Human Rights.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva

Alexeyeva was born on July 20, 1927. After graduating from Moscow State University’s Department of History in 1950, she worked as a history teacher and an editor at the Science publishing house, she was also a staff member of the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences at the Soviet Academy of Sciences. She became a human rights activist in 1966, and had to emigrate from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1977. Alexeyeva returned to Russia in 1993 and took the helm of the Moscow Helsinki Group in 1996. In 2002, she joined the Russian Presidential Commission for Human Rights, which was transformed into the Human Rights Council in 2004.