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Lyudmila Mikhailovna Alexeyeva (Russian: Людми́ла Миха́йловна Алексе́ева, IPA: ; born July 20, 1927) is a Russian historian, human rights activist and one of the few veterans of the Soviet dissident movement still active in modern Russia.
Alexeyeva was born in Yevpatoria, Crimea, then part of Russian SFSR (now part of Ukraine). She was trained as an archeologist, graduating from the History Department of the Moscow State University in 1950 and finishing the graduate school of the Moscow Institute for Economics and Statistics in 1956. In 1952, Alexeyeva joined the Communist Party of the USSR. In 1959-1968, she worked as a editor in the ethnography and archeology section of the publishing house “Science”. During 1970-1977 Alexeyeva worked at the Institute of Information on Social Sciences affiliated with the Science Academy of the USSR. Having become completely disillusioned with the Soviet ideology, Alexeyeva decided not to defend her Candidate of Sciences (roughly equivalent to a PhD) thesis and forgo the career as a scholar.
Alexeyeva’s worldview was significantly affected by the Khrushchev Thaw that lasted from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. She belonged to the group of people, mostly intellectuals, who formed the dissident movement in the USSR in the 1960s. In 1966, Alexeyeva campaigned in defense of Daniel and Siniavsky, the writers who were arrested and tried for publishing their works abroad. In the late 1960s she signed petitions in defense of other dissidents who were prosecuted by the Soviet authorities, including Alexander Ginzburg and Yuri Galanskov. In April 1968, Alexeyeva was expelled from the Communist Party and fired from her job at the publishing house. Nonetheless, she continued her activities in defense of human rights. In 1968-1972 she worked clandestinely as a typist for the first underground bulletin “The Chronicle of Current Events” devoted to human rights violations in the USSR.