Yuri Afanasiev was a historian specializing in France. Active in the Komsomol, he later joined the Communist Party and became a member of the editorial board of the magazine, Communist. He was elected to the Congress by the people of Moscow Oblast and was renowned for his criticism of the Congress’ “aggressive-submissive majority.” In 1996 he founded the Russian State University for the Humanities, which for a long time was perceived as the country’s most progressive institution of higher education. Ten years later, he was succeeded as rector of RSUH by Leonid Nevzlin, an executive of YUKOS, which was planning to invest large sums of money in developing the university. When the campaign against YUKOS started and Nevzlin left the university, Afanasiev assumed the honorary post of RSUH president. He is an active scholar.
Anatoly Sobchak was a well-known Leningrad lawyer. He became a Communist Party member in 1988 at a time when the Party was being torn apart by conflict between proponents and opponents of reform. Along with Afanasiev and many others, he joined the liberal Inter-Regional Group, headed by Andrei Sakharov and Boris Yeltsin. Later, he became mayor of St. Petersburg. In 1997, he was accused of numerous crimes and irregularities, but claimed that the accusations were politically motivated. He left for France to receive medical care, but later returned, and in 2000 died in a sanatorium in Kaliningrad Oblast. Today, his daughter Kseniya Sobchak is infamous as an outrageous and unscrupulous show business personality, and one of his aides, Vladimir Putin, went on to become president and now prime minister.
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