‘The conscience of mankind’ Photographs from the life of Andrei Sakharov, the nuclear physicist and human rights advocate who fought to make the Soviet Union a free country
One hundred years ago today, on May 21, 1921, Andrei Sakharov was born in Moscow. He went on to become a renowned nuclear physicist and one of the Soviet Union’s top developers of thermonuclear weapons — then he joined the fight against nuclear weapons, advocating for disarmament in the midst of the Cold War. Later still, he became one of the main opponents of the Soviet Union’s communist dictatorship. After a decades-long confrontation with the Soviet authorities, which included living in exile and going on several hunger strikes, the physicist ultimately won — albeit at the expense of his health. Indeed, Sakharov only lived to see the early signs of a new era. Meduza looks back on the life of the Soviet Union’s most famous scientist, human rights activist, dissident, and Nobel Peace Prize winner — in photographs.