Andrey Dmitriyevich Sakharov was born on May 21st, 1921, in Moscow in the Soviet Union. The family was a member of the intelligence. Besides, the family also valued principles and held a strong bond. Further, His father was a teacher of physics in schools and universities in the city.
Inspired by his father, young Andrey studied physics as well. He started his studies in Moscow. Three years into his studies, World War II. broke out. However, he did not enlist due to poor health. Instead, he fled to Turkmenistan, where he continued to study. Besides that, he also worked in a laboratory. He returned to Moscow in 1945.
In 1948, Andrey Sakharov joined a research team. Their goal was to design a thermonuclear bomb. His design proved successful, and he immediately rose to fame. But, over time, he started to understand the risks of such bombs. In 1967, he challenged the Soviet leaders to agree with the USA to stop reckless arming. Soon, the secret police KGB was in his steps.
Fight for Human Rights
In May 1968, he published an essay called “Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom.” In this work, he once again warned of the dangers of nuclear bombs. Besides, he advocated for human rights. That only made the Soviet leaders angrier.
In 1975, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the hostile communist regime did not allow him to travel to the ceremony. Further, he criticized the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They arrested him and forced him to live under KGB watch in distant Gorky.
In 1985, a six-month hunger strike forced the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to release his wife, Yelena Bonner, for medical reasons. She traveled to the USA but later returned to her husband. Finally, in December 1986, both Sakharov and his wife were cleared to return to Moscow.
Andrey Sakharov continued his fight for human rights. He also traveled the world and met the president of the USA, Ronald Reagan. He died on December 14th, 1989, in his sleep from a heart condition. The European Union awards a prize in his name for human rights activism.
“Both now and for always, I intend to hold fast to my belief in the hidden strength of the human spirit.”Andrey Sakharov