Ilya Zaslavsky

Ilya Zaslavsky, a textile research scientist who lost both legs in childhood, was elected to the Soviet Union’s Congress of People’s Deputies in March 1989, easily defeating the candidate backed by the local Communist Party apparatus in Moscow’s Oktyabrsky District. Nominated by the city’s Society of Invalids, he quickly demonstrated such popular appeal that luminaries like Andrei Sakharov, Yuri Afanasyev, and cosmonaut Georgi Grechko all decided to drop out of the race in the Oktyabrsky District and seek nomination elsewhere. Within the Congress of People’s Deputies, Mr. Zaslavsky has been a prominent member of the Interregional Group and a leading advocate of radical reform. In the March 1990 local elections, he was chosen as chairman of the Oktyabrsky District Council, and he has turned the district into a home for new political parties and previously underground publications.