Natan Sharansky
Overview
 
Natan Sharansky ' onMouseout='HidePop("26629")' href="/topics/Refusenik">refusenik
Refusenik
Refusenik originally referred to citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.Refusenik or refusnik may also refer to:*An Israeli conscientious objector, see Refusal to serve in the Israeli military...

 and prisoner, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i politician, human rights activist and author.
Anatoly Borisovich Shcharansky (later Natan Sharansky) was born in Stalino, Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family.
Quotations

A lack of moral clarity is also the tragedy that has befallen efforts to advance peace and security in the world. Promoting peace and security is fundamentally connected to promoting freedom and democracy.

Preface, page xix.

The conviction that freedom is a universal desire is not the property of any political camp. ... Yet those who hold it remain a precious few, outnumbered many times over by the skeptics who don't.

Pages 18-19.

A simple way to determine whether the right to dissent in a particular society is being upheld is to apply the Town square test|town square test: Can a person walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm? If he can, then that person is living in a free society. If not, it's a fear society.

Pages 40-1.

Now we can see why nondemocratic regimes imperil the security of the world. They stay in power by controlling their populations. This control invariably requires an increasing amount of repression. To justify this repression and maintain internal stability, external enemies must be manufactured.

Page 88.

Freedom's skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you. Indeed, it is the absence of democracy that represents the real threat to peace.

Page 95.

Encyclopedia
Natan Sharansky ' onMouseout='HidePop("26629")' href="/topics/Refusenik">refusenik
Refusenik
Refusenik originally referred to citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.Refusenik or refusnik may also refer to:*An Israeli conscientious objector, see Refusal to serve in the Israeli military...

 and prisoner, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i politician, human rights activist and author.

Biography

Anatoly Borisovich Shcharansky (later Natan Sharansky) was born in Stalino, Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics
Applied mathematics
Applied mathematics is a branch of mathematics that concerns itself with mathematical methods that are typically used in science, engineering, business, and industry. Thus, "applied mathematics" is a mathematical science with specialized knowledge...

 from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 prodigy
Child prodigy
A child prodigy is someone who, at an early age, masters one or more skills far beyond his or her level of maturity. One criterion for classifying prodigies is: a prodigy is a child, typically younger than 18 years old, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding...

. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold
Blindfold chess
Blindfold chess is a form of chess play wherein the players do not see the positions of the pieces or touch them. This forces players to maintain a mental model of the positions of the pieces...

 displays, usually against adults. At the age of 15, he won the championship in his native Donetsk. When incarcerated in solitary confinement
Solitary confinement
Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff. It is sometimes employed as a form of punishment beyond incarceration for a prisoner, and has been cited as an additional...

, he claims to have played chess against himself in his mind. Sharansky beat the world chess champion Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 in a simultaneous exhibition
Simultaneous exhibition
A simultaneous exhibition or simultaneous display is a board game exhibition in which one player plays multiple games at a time with a number of other players. Such an exhibition is often referred to simply as a "simul".In a regular simul, no chess clocks are used...

 in Israel in 1996.

Natan Sharansky is married to Avital Sharansky and has two daughters, Rachel and Hannah. In the Soviet Union, his marriage application to Avital was denied by the authorities. They were married in a Moscow synagogue in a ceremony not recognized by the government.

Sharansky was released in February 1986 after serving 3 years of prison and 5 years of strict-regimen forced labor penal colony
Penal colony
A penal colony is a settlement used to exile prisoners and separate them from the general populace by placing them in a remote location, often an island or distant colonial territory...

 in Perm Oblast
Perm Oblast
Until December 1, 2005, Perm Oblast was a federal subject of Russia in Privolzhsky Federal District. According to the results of the referendum held in October 2004, Perm Oblast was merged with Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug to form Perm Krai.The oblast was named after its administrative center,...

, East Siberia. He was the first political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

 ever released by Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 due to intense political pressure from Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

. Sharansky immediately emigrated to Israel. In 1988, he wrote Fear No Evil
Fear No Evil (book)
Fear No Evil is a book by the Russian-Israeli activist and politician Natan Sharansky about his struggle to immigrate to Israel from the former Soviet Union. The book tells the story of the Jewish refuseniks in the 1970s USSR, his show trial on charges of espionage, incarceration by the KGB and...

, his memoirs of his time as a prisoner.

Political activism

He was denied an exit visa to Israel in 1973. The reason given for denial of the visa was that he had been given access, at some point in his career, to information vital to Soviet national security and could not now be allowed to leave. After that Sharansky became a human rights activist and spokesperson for the Moscow Helsinki Group
Moscow Helsinki Group
The Moscow Helsinki Group is an influential human rights monitoring non-governmental organization, originally established in what was then the Soviet Union; it still operates in Russia....

. Sharansky was one of the founders of the Refusenik
Refusenik (Soviet Union)
Refusenik was an unofficial term for individuals, typically but not exclusively, Soviet Jews, who were denied permission to emigrate abroad by the authorities of the former Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc...

 movement in Moscow. In 1977 Sharansky was arrested on charges of spying for the United States and treason and sentenced to 13 years of forced labor in Perm 35, a Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n labor camp
Labor camp
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

.

As a result of an international campaign led by his wife, Avital Sharansky (including assistance from East German lawyer Wolfgang Vogel
Wolfgang Vogel
Wolfgang Vogel was a German lawyer active in East Germany at the time of the Cold War who had brokered some of the most famous swaps of spies or exchanges against ransom of political prisoners between the Soviet bloc and the West...

, New York Congressman Benjamin Gilman and rabbi Ronald Greenwald
Ronald Greenwald
Rabbi Ronald Greenwald is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who is a businessman and an educator.Born in New York City, he has made a career of spy trading, international hostage mediation, and other forms of high stakes, high intrigue diplomacy. He served as presidential liaison of President Richard Nixon...

) Sharansky and three low-level Western spies (Czech citizen Jaroslav Javorský and West German citizens Wolf-Georg Frohn and Dietrich Nistroy) were exchanged for Czech spies Karl Koecher
Karl Koecher
Karel František Koecher is the only mole known to have penetrated the CIA.-Early life:Born in Czechoslovakia, he became a radio comedy writer and was allegedly frequently scrutinized by the Communist security forces for his satire that mocked the regime...

 and Hana Koecher held in the USA, Soviet spy Yevgeni Zemlyakov, Polish spy Jerzy Kaczmarek
Jerzy Kaczmarek
Jerzy Kaczmarek is a Polish fencer. He won a gold medal in the team foil event at the 1972 Summer Olympics.-References:...

 and GDR spy Detlef Scharfenorth (the latter three held in Western Germany) in 1986 on Glienicke Bridge
Glienicke bridge
The Glienicke bridge is a bridge on the edge of Berlin that spans the Havel River to connect the cities of Potsdam and Berlin near Klein Glienicke...

.

Sharansky made aliyah
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

 to Israel, i.e. he emigrated to Israel, adopting the Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 name Natan. In 1988 Sharansky founded the Zionist Forum, an organization of Soviet emigrant Jewish activists dedicated to helping new Israelis and educating the public about absorption
Absorption
Absorption may refer to:- Chemistry and biology :* Absorption , absorption of particles of gas or liquid in liquid or solid material* Absorption , a route by which substances can enter the body through the skin...

 issues. Sharansky also served as a contributing editor to The Jerusalem Report
The Jerusalem Report
The Jerusalem Report is a biweekly print and online newsmagazine that covers political and social issues in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world...

and as a Board member of Peace Watch. In 1986, Congress granted him the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2006 US President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, which the The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy denounced as the celebration of a racist.
On 17 September 2008,the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about northwest of...

 awarded Sharansky its 2008 Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
The Ronald Reagan Freedom Award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the private Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The award is given to "those who have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide."...

.

Israeli political career

In 1995 Sharansky and Yoel Edelstein founded the Yisrael BaAliyah ("Israel in aliya
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

", or a pun, "Israel on the rise") party, promoting the absorption of the Soviet Jews into Israeli society. The party won seven Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 seats in 1996. It won 6 seats in the Israeli legislative election, 1999, gaining two ministerial posts, but left the government on 11 July 2000 in response to suggestions that Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

's negiotations with the Palestinians would result in a division of Jerusalem. After Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 won a special election for Prime Minister in 2001, the party joined his new government, and was again given two ministerial posts.

In the January 2003 elections the party was reduced to just two seats. Sharansky resigned from the Knesset, and was replaced by Edelstein. However, he remained party chairman, and decided to merge it into Likud (which had won the election with 38 seats). The merger went through on 10 March 2003, and Sharansky was appointed Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.

From March 2003 – May 2005, he was Israel's Minister without portfolio
Minister without Portfolio
A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister that does not head a particular ministry...

, responsible for Jerusalem, social and Jewish diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 affairs. Under this position Sharansky chaired a secret committee that approved the seizure of East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 property of West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 Palestinians. This decision was reversed after an outcry from the Israeli left and the international community. Previously he served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Minister of Housing and Construction since March 2001, Interior Minister of Israel (July 1999 – resigned in July 2000), Minister of Industry and Trade (1996–1999). He resigned from the cabinet in April 2005 to protest plans to withdraw Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s from the Gaza Strip. He was re-elected to the Knesset in March 2006 as a member of the Likud Party. On 20 November 2006, he resigned from the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 to form the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies. Since 2007, Sharansky has been Chairman of the Board of Beit Hatefutsot
Beit Hatefutsot
Beth Hatefutsoth or Diaspora Museum — the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, is located on the Tel Aviv University campus in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel...

, the Jewish diaspora museum, and since June 2009 is the chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel
Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel , also known as the Sochnut or JAFI, served as the organization in charge of immigration and absorption of Jews from the Diaspora into the state of Israel.-History:...

.

NGO work

In June 2009 Sharansky was elected to the Chair of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel
Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel , also known as the Sochnut or JAFI, served as the organization in charge of immigration and absorption of Jews from the Diaspora into the state of Israel.-History:...

 by the Jewish Agency Board of Governors. In September 2009 Sharansky secured $6 million from the Genesis Philanthropy Group for educational activities in the former Soviet Union.

Media recognition and awards

Before his rise to power in Israel, Sharansky appeared in the March 1990 edition of National Geographic in Mike Edward's article "Last Days of the Gulag". In the article he describes his life in the Soviet prison system and is shown in Israel looking at photos of the Gulag taken for the article. In 2005, Sharansky participated in "They Chose Freedom
They Chose Freedom
They Chose Freedom is a four-part TV documentary on the history of political dissent in the USSR from the 1950s to the 1990s. It was produced in 2005 by Vladimir V...

", a four-part television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident movement, and in 2008, he was featured in the Laura Bialis documentary Refusenik
Refusenik (2008 film)
Refusenik is a 2008 documentary film by Laura Bialis that chronicles the struggle of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union in the 1960’s and 70’s...

. He was number eleven on the list of TIME
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine's 100 most influential people of 2005 in the "Scientists and thinkers" category.

Published works

Sharansky is the author of three books. The first is the autobiographical Fear No Evil
Fear No Evil
Fear No Evil is a made for television movie. It and Ritual of Evil are both unsold pilots for a proposed television series which would have been called Bedeviled. Both starred Louis Jourdan as David Sorrell, a psychologist and authority on the occult who became involved in supernatural...

, which dealt with his trial and imprisonment. His second book, "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror
The Case for Democracy
The Case for Democracy is a foreign policy manifesto written by one-time Soviet political prisoner and former Israeli Member of the Knesset, Natan Sharansky. Sharansky's friend Ron Dermer is the book's co-author...

" was co-written with Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer is an American born Israeli political consultant. He serves as senior advisor to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He formerly served as Israel's Minister for Economic Affairs in the United States, a position requiring him to give up his American...

. George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 offered praise for the book:
"If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky's book, The Case for Democracy... For government, particularly – for opinion makers, I would put it on your recommended reading list. It's short and it's good. This guy is a heroic figure, as you know. It's a great book."


His book Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy
Defending Identity
Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy is a book by Natan Sharansky published in June 2008.In "Defending Identity," Sharansky presents nationalism and religious commitment as a "force for good," not merely an ideology of evil. "Strong identities are as valuable to a...

, is a defense of the value of national and religious identity in building democracy.

Political views

Sharansky has argued that there can never be peace between Israel and the Palestinians until there is "the building of real democratic institutions in the fledgling Palestinian society, no matter how tempting a 'solution' without them may be."
In a Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 interview, he maintained the “Jews came here 3,000 years ago and this is the cradle of Jewish civilization. Jews are the only people in history who kept their loyalty to their identity and their land throughout the 2,000 years of exile, and no doubt that they have the right to have their place among nations—not only historically but also geographically. As to the Palestinians, who are the descendants of those Arabs who migrated in the last 200 years, they have the right, if they want, to have their own state... but not at the expense of the state of Israel.” In the wake of the Arab uprisings of 2011, he told Moment Magazine, "To sign an agreement you must have a partner who is dependent on the well-being of his people, which is what democracy means."

See also

  • Refusenik (2008 film)
    Refusenik (2008 film)
    Refusenik is a 2008 documentary film by Laura Bialis that chronicles the struggle of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union in the 1960’s and 70’s...

  • New anti-Semitism
    New anti-Semitism
    New antisemitism is the concept that a new form of antisemitism has developed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, emanating simultaneously from the far-left, radical Islam, and the far-right, and tending to manifest itself as opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel.The concept...

  • Refusenik (Soviet Union)
    Refusenik (Soviet Union)
    Refusenik was an unofficial term for individuals, typically but not exclusively, Soviet Jews, who were denied permission to emigrate abroad by the authorities of the former Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc...

  • Gulag
    Gulag
    The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

  • List of people who have beaten Garry Kasparov in chess

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK