Human Rights activist and author.
His father was a member of the Soviet writers' union; his mother wrote children's programs for Radio Moscow.
He was a prominent dissident best known for exposing the Soviet practice of labeling dissidents (including himself) as "mentally ill" and incarcerating them in psychiatric hospitals that were de facto prisons.
He studied biophysics before he was expelled from Moscow University, and later continued his studies at King's College Cambridge and Stanford University.
He was expelled from his high school and from Moscow University for writings critical of the Soviet regime. His other youthful crimes included organizing public readings of the banned works of writers such as novelist Boris Pasternak and Osip Mandelstam, a prominent Russian poet who died in the gulag.