By now everyone knows about the death of acclaimed cellist Mstislav Rostopovich at age 80. Funny enough, I knew of him first as a strong figure in the anti-Soviet movement before I realized he was also a incredible musician.
He was a friend of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and helped investigative biographer Edvard Radzinsky get ahold of some technically off limits documents. (For those of you who don't know Radzinsky's work, I would recommend his The Last Tsar, by far the best biography of Nicholas II I have ever read. He also has written great works on Rasputin and Stalin.) Rostopovich also performed Shastakovich's unmistakably rebellious symphonies with relish.
With Boris Yeltsin dead, Russia has lost two products of the Soviet dominated 2oth century, men who were willing to stand up and fight against injustice. Not too encouraging, given the troubling inclinations of her current president.
From Catherine_Creagan - 29.4.07