Умер Эдвард Клайн

Эдвард Клайн. Фото Ивана Ковалева


24-го июня в Нью-Йорке умер Эдвард Клайн – американец, посвятивший всю свою жизнь защите прав человека в СССР и постсоветской России. Он был нашим верным и преданным другом, много сделавшим для нас, особенно в период становления «Мемориала». Глубоко скорбим и выражаем соболезнования его вдове и дочери. Мы всегда будем его помнить.

Правление Международного Мемориала


Ниже мы публикуем некрологи друзей и коллег Эдварда Клайна – из личной переписки, страниц в соцсетях:


This is probably the first time Ed made it to social media. When you type in the name of Ed Kline on Internet, you will hardly find anything, except when you know where to look. There is only one photo in an ocean of pictures of an American author with the same name, and this is probably the way Ed wanted it.

Ed Kline was the dream of any oral historian. Yet every time I thought of proposing to interview him I stopped in my tracks, because I knew it would be hopeless to ask. I knew he was in his early eighties, that he had fought in the Korean War, and for the rest I knew he had been owner of a chain of department stores in the United States, because that was where we first met. It must have been 1980 or 1981. It was my first trip to New York, and one of the first addresses was Ed Kline. He was sitting in his office on Eighth Avenue, and nothing in his office actually indicated he was running a business. All his shelves were full of Soviet dissident publications, in Russian and in English, all published by Chalidze Publications and Khronika Press, two publishing houses he personally financed, as I later found out.

Ed remained mostly in the shadows, but anybody of any importance within the dissident movement knew who he was. He was a towering figure, both intellectually and physically, and those who knew him invariably remember the way he laughed and the way he would fold his arm over his head to feel his thin hair on the other side of his head. He was a very generous man, in his own special way. During the first years of my visits to New York he would let me stay at his company’s flat on Seventh Avenue, thereby greatly reducing my living costs, and throughout the 36 years that we knew each other my first night in town would invariably be going to see Ed at home and then being taken out to his favorite Italian restaurant to discuss dissidents, human rights, Russia, Putin…

And Sakharov. Ed was all about Andrei Sakharov, the 1975 Nobel Peace laureate and moral leader of the Soviet dissident movement who passed away in 1989. Any conversation with Ed would lead to Sakharov. Noteworthy is how physicist Henry Lipkin described Ed in his book about Sakharov: «I asked Sid [Drell, a famous physicist] if he knew someone named Ed Kline. ‘Of course,’ he said. ‘He is a wonderful person, a business man who is interested in human rights and has looked after the Sakharov children ever since their arrival.’» Sakharov himself wrote in a letter to US President Jimmy Carter in 1977: «It is very important to continue the struggle to aid people who are seriously ill and female political prisoners. I produce the list of those needing urgent release but it is very important to remember that many others are in the same difficult conditions: Kovalyov, Romanyuk, Dzhemilev, Svetlichny, Gluzman, Ruban, Shtern, Fyodorov Yuri, Makarenko, Sergienko, Ogurtsov, Pronyuk, Semenova Maria, Vins, Moroz, Fedorenko, Superfin. Detailed information about every person is in the „Khronika Press“ (Ed Kline knows all!).»

Indeed, Ed knew them all, and that was one of the factors that made conversations with him so endlessly interesting. Dinners with him in the 1980s were like chess matches. The Soviet émigré dissident movement was then basically split into two camps; he belonged to one, he believed I belonged to the other (which I actually didn’t). So meetings were attempts to extract something from the other – information of course, and in my case funding for my human rights activities. He always had his own perspective, stubbornly so, but after each and every conversation I walked back with an extra bit of wisdom or insight, and the wish to come back soon and have another discussion round.

The last years Ed was becoming frail, yet his mind remained fresh and clear, and his inquisitiveness unaltered. The last time we met was two months ago, and it was the first time we could not go out to dinner because of ill health.

Ed will be sorely missed, and for me New York will never be the same. The Soviet human rights movement should be eternally indebted to this great man. The sad thing is that most dissidents do not even know, partially because he did so much in silence, partially because many of those who did know and benefitted from his kindness and generosity already passed away to the other world. Robert van Voren Facebook)


Ed was a publisher, editor, author and reviewer of books, articles and magazines. Russian literature and work in defense of Human Rights in the Soviet Union were his main interest. Ed saved financially one of the oldest Russian emigrant publishing houses (Chekhov publishing), was one of the founders and editor of Khronika Press which published in Russian and in English hundreds of books and magazines. He wrote original articles, translated from Russian, contributed his own money and raised funds. He personally helped numerous human rights activists and dissidents to survive in emigration and continue their Human rights activity. He was an active member of the Board of Amnesty International, International Human Rights League. Ed regularly spoke in support of persecuted dissidents. He was the founder and President of Andrei Sakharov Foundation. I cannot even try here to mention names of people whom he and his wife Jill helped, and he never tried to get any public recognition for his activity. I have to stop now. Pavel Litvinov


This is terribly sad and unexpected news. Ed played a such a unique and inspiring role in so many lives, in Russia and here.

He was a generous, supportive friend, a mentor, an activist, an insightful, committed supporter of human rights in the former Soviet Union and in today's Russia as well. He will always be remembered as Andrei Sakharov's foremost supporter in the West. Andrei Dmitrievich was Ed's hero, and he never spared himself in lending his support to him and the Sakharov family. Ed first reached out to me over forty years ago when I was just starting to publish book reviews on Soviet themes and was beginning my work as a volunteer and then an organizer for Amnesty International USA. He and Jill welcomed me to their home many times. I join their wide and deep community of friends as our hearts go out to Jill and Carole at this difficult, inconsolable time. Joshua Rubenstein (Amnesty International, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies)


Конечно, Ваша скорбь несравнима ни с чьей, но вы должны знать, что Эд Клайн был безмерно дорог нам. Дорог совсем не только тем, что он сделал ради добра и справедливости в мире, но и может быть еще больше его мудрым талантом теплоты, участия, сочувствия. Пусть помогут Вам перенести скорбь утраты строки хорошего русского поэта Жуковского
Не говори с тоской: их нет,
Но с благодарностию: были.
Простите за дилетантский перевод хорошей поэзии.

Всегда ваши 
Сергей Ковалев
Иван Ковалев
Татьяна Ковалева (Осипова)

Of course, your sorrow is incomparable to anyone, but you should know that Ed Kline was immensely dear to us. Dear not only for what he did for the sake of kindness and justice in the world, but even more for his wise talent of warmth, participation, sympathy. Let the lines of the good Russian poet Zhukovsky help you to endure the sorrow;
Do not say in anguish: they are not,
But with gratitude: they were.
Sorry for the amateurish translation of good poetry.
Always yours,
Sergey, Ivan, Tanya