Sakharov Center

The Sakharov Center (Russian: Са́харовский центр) is a museum and cultural center in Moscow devoted to protection of human rights in Russia and preserving the legacy of the prominent physicist and Nobel Prize winning human rights activist Andrei Sakharov. It was founded by the "Public Commission to Protect the Legacy of Andrei Sakharov", an international non-governmental organization established in 1990 through the efforts of Sakharov's widow Yelena Bonner and other Sakharov's friends and colleagues.[1][2][3]

The Sakharov Center
Сахаровский центр
The Sakharov Center
FounderYelena Bonner
HeadquartersHouse 57, building 6, Zemlyanoy val street, 105120
Moscow, the Russian Federation
Fieldshistory of human rights movement and political repression in the Soviet Union
Sergei Markovich Lukashevsky


In 1994 the Public Commission opened the Sakharov Archives[4] in the three-room apartment where Andrei Sakharov lived. The archives’ contents were donated by Yelena Bonner, and include files donated by Russia's Federal Counterintelligence Service.[5]

In 1996 the Sakharov Commission opened the Sakharov Museum and multi-functional social center for Peace, Progress and Human Rights (renamed in 2012 as the Sakharov Center).[6] The main building of the museum is a two-story manor that houses a library, and a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of the dissident movement in the USSR, and to the life and works of Andrei Sakharov.[7][8] The exhibition was designed by Evgeny Asse.[9] An installation made from a piece of the Berlin Wall stands in the park belonging to the museum.[10][3]


The Sakharov Center provides a space for open expression in an increasingly-restrictive political climate. In 2003, the Sakharov Center was vandalized after organizing a contemporary art exhibition titled “Caution, Religion!”.[11] In 2013 Cossacks stormed the Sakharov Center and interrupted “Moscow Trials,” a play based on the trial of Pussy Riot directed by Milo Rau.[12] In 2014 the Center was attacked by Orthodox fundamentalists during events advocating tolerance for the LGBT community.[13] The memorial service for opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was also held in the Sakharov Center.[14][15]

On December 26, 2014 the Sakharov Center was declared a “foreign agent” under Russia's foreign agent law.[16] This law has been criticized both in Russia and internationally as representing a violation of human rights and having been designed to counter opposition groups.[17][18][19] In fact, the court cited the Sakharov Center's political activity as the main reason for designating it as a “foreign agent”.[20] In January 2015, the Tagansky District Court fined the Sakharov Center 300,000 rubles for not voluntarily declaring itself a “foreign agent”.[21] The Sakharov Center denies this designation and has appealed the decision.[22][23] On September 30, 2015 the Sakharov Center was fined again for failing to label itself as a foreign agent in an article it posted online.[24]


  1. ^ "Мемория. Андрей Сахаров - ПОЛИТ.РУ". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  2. ^ "Биография Андрея Сахарова". РИА Новости. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  3. ^ a b "Sakharov Centre - Lonely Planet". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  4. ^ Chebotarev, Tanya (2014). Russian and East European Books and Manuscripts in the United States. 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10017, USA, 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN: Routledge. p. 130. ISBN 978-0789024053.CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. ^ BOUDREAUX, RICHARD (1994-05-22). "Soviet Dissident Sakharov's Widow Inaugurates Library : Russia: Yelena Bonner opens archives in building where writer lived. Yeltsin, secret police donate files". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  6. ^ "Сахаровский центр". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  7. ^ "Sakharov Museum Inaugurated | News". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  8. ^ Richardson, Dan (February 16, 2009). The Rough Guide to Moscow. Rough Guides; 5 edition. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-1858280615.
  9. ^ "Сахаровский центр". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  10. ^ "The Fall of the Berlin Wall: 25 Years Later". VOA. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  11. ^ "'Orthodox Bulldozer' | ARTnews". Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  12. ^ "Russian Officials Hassle Pussy Riot Play Director". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  13. ^ "International Coming Out Day event in Moscow besieged by homophobes, ransacked by police for underage teens". Queer Russia: Live LGBTQ News & Views Feed. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  14. ^ White, Gregory L.; Kolyandr, Alexander. "Mourners Pay Their Respects to Slain Kremlin Critic Boris Nemtsov in Moscow". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  15. ^ "В Сахаровском центре пройдет прощание с Борисом Немцовым". НТВ. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  16. ^ "Russian Center Honoring Victims of Soviet Regime Branded 'Foreign Agent' | News". Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  17. ^ Lally, Kathy (2013-04-15). "Putin pushes NGO foreign agent law". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  18. ^ Barry, Ellen (2012-07-02). "Russia Introduces Law Limiting Aid for Nonprofits". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  19. ^ "Europe - Russian MPs pass controversial bill to label NGOs 'foreign agents'". France 24. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  20. ^ Lyons, Kate; Rice-Oxley, Mark. "Harassed and shunned, the Russians labelled foreign agents by Kremlin". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  21. ^ "Russian Court Fines Sakharov Center Under 'Foreign Agent' Law". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 2015-03-23. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  22. ^ "Сахаровский центр отказался работать как "иностранный агент"". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  23. ^ Козлов, Вячеслав. "Сахаровский центр оштрафован за нарушение закона об НКО". Коммерсантъ. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  24. ^ "Sakharov Center Fined For Violating 'Foreign Agents' Law". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2016-01-18.

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