Valery Chalidze

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Valery Nikolayevich Chalidze
Native name Валерий Николаевич Чалидзе
Born 1938
Moscow, USSR
Nationality Russian
Fields physics
Alma mater Moscow State University, Tbilisi State University
Known for human rights activism with participation in dissident movement in the Soviet Union

Valery Nikolayevich Chalidze (Russian: Вале́рий Никола́евич Чали́дзе; Georgian: ვალერი ჭალიძე, born 1938) is a Georgian-American author and publisher, and a former Soviet dissident and human rights activist.

Chalidze was born in Moscow. He was educated as a physicist at the universities of Moscow and Tbilisi. In the mid-1960s, he joined the Soviet human rights movement and published a samizdat periodical Social Issues (Obshchestvennye problemy).[1]

The Moscow Human Rights Committee

On 4 November 1970 Chalidze, along with Andrei Sakharov and Andrei Tverdokhlebov, became one of the three founding members of the Moscow Human Rights Committee. On 21 December 1970 Newsweek, the US weekly magazine, published Chalidze’s replies to questions from its Moscow correspondent about the Committee’s aims and the prospects for its activities.[2]

The Committee was among the first non-governmental organizations in the history of the Soviet Union (cf. "Action Group for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR", set up in May 1969),[3] and eventually became affiliated with the United Nations. Its purpose was to offer free legal advice to persons whose human rights had been violated by the Soviet authorities, and also to advise those authorities on their legal obligations in regard to human rights under international and Soviet law.

Life and activities in USA

In 1972, Chalidze was invited to deliver a lecture in the United States. Once there he was deprived by the USSR authorities of his Soviet citizenship and prevented from returning to the Soviet Union.

Soon he established Khronika Press in New York City, to publish Russian-language books and important human-rights periodicals such as the Chronicle of Current Events, which detailed with scrupulous accuracy human rights violations in the USSR. In 1979, he founded Chalidze Publications in New York City, which published primarily Russian-language non-fiction books of cultural importance that were otherwise unavailable to Soviet readers due to censorship. Chalidze Publications issued: original memoirs of historically important figures, including Nikita Khrushchev; memoirs of Soviet dissidents whose work was banned in their home country; Russian translations of classic Western works of political philosophy; and original analyses of social problems.

After marrying Lisa Leah Barnhardt, he and his wife moved in 1983 to Benson, Vermont which became the new home of Chalidze Publications and Khronika Press. Chalidze published several journals, among them the Moscow-compiled Chronicle of Current Events (Khronika tekushchikh sobytij), and edited others such as Internal Contradictions (Vnutrennie protivorechija).

Chalidze Publications would publish close to one hundred books in Russian and in English before it ceased to exist.

Trotsky, Stalin, Hamilton and Madison

Among the works issued by Chalidze Publications were hitherto unpublished material retrieved from the Trotsky archive at Harvard University, as well as the memoirs of Trotsky, and Chalidze's own works – on the Trotskyite opposition of the 1920s and 1930s and on the post-Stalin Soviet dissident movement.[4]

In his book Conqueror of Communism (New York, 1981), Chalidze depicted Joseph Stalin as a counterrevolutionary leader who destroyed socialism in Russia. Stalin, he argued, "restored the Russian empire although in a more despotic form"[5] using Marxist ideology to mask his real aim.

From 1985 to 1990 Chalidze received a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his work in international human rights.

Chalidze Publications also organized and published the first-ever Russian translation of The Federalist Papers (1788), at the request of the U.S. Administration. It was an official presidential gift from George H.W. Bush to Gorbachev at one of their three summit meetings in 1990. The translator of Amerikanskie Federalisty was Gregory Freidin of Stanford, advised by Leon Lipson of Yale Law School; Chalidze and Lisa Barnhardt Chalidze edited the work. It was quoted by both Gorbachev and Yeltsin in their historic debates in the Russian parliament after August 1991 during the final months of the Soviet Union.




  1. A Chronicle of Current Events No 16, 31 October 1970 — 16.11 "Samizdat update – item 2 Social Issues No 6".
  2. A Chronicle of Current Events No 17, 31 December 1970 — 17.4 "The Committee for Human Rights in the USSR".
  3. A Chronicle of Current Events No 8, 30 June 1969 — 8.10 "An Appeal to the UN Commission on Human Rights".
  4. Chalidze, Valeriĭ (1984). The Soviet human rights movement: a memoir. Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, American Jewish Committee. ISBN 0874950643.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. See Medvedev, Roy Aleksandrovich (2003), The Unknown Stalin, p. 262. I. B. Tauris, ISBN 1860647685.
  6. (Russian) Валерий Николаевич Чалидзе. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.
  7. (Russian) Валерий Николаевич Чалидзе Retrieved on July 17, 2007
  8. Wertsman, Vladimir F., Multicultural America.Georgian Americans. Every Culture. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.

External links

Further reading

  • De Boer, S. P.; Driessen, Evert; Verhaar, Hendrik (1982). "Čalidze, Valerij Nikolaevič". Biographical dictionary of dissidents in the Soviet Union: 1956–1975. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 80–82. ISBN 9024725380.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>