"My Experiences as a Religious Dissident in Russia"
Friday, March 28, 2014
1:30pm - 2:30pm
Michael Bourdeaux Research Center
Carroll Library, Room 316
Sponsored by the Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society
Alexander Ogorodnikov, longtime Russian religious dissident and Gulag survivor, was born in 1950 and raised "as a normal Soviet child" in an atheist family. However, he questioned the materialistic ideology and as a university student became a Christian. Sent to a psychiatric hospital and later to a prison for dangerous political criminals for his religious activities, Ogorodnikov was released only after Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan intervened. However, the KGB continued harassing him because he refused to compromise his convictions.
Since 1987, Ogorodnikov has continued his religious and human rights activities. He has spoken at international congresses and before parliaments in the United Kingdom, United States, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Germany about the situation in the USSR. He established a Moscow-area soup kitchen and a non-governmental Christian shelter called Island of Hope for girls and under-aged mothers who are victims of drug or domestic abuse. Alexander collected and managed humanitarian aid to Abkhazia, Chechnya, and other regions of Russia.
Ogorodnikov continues work on a book about his experiences. Because special police destroyed his personal archive during one of their searches at his residence, the Keston Archive is the only location of his Christian Seminar documents and underground journals published in the 1980s.