Elena Bonner's father and uncle were executed while her mother and aunt were exiled to labor camps during Stalin’s Great Purge. She subsequently became active in the Soviet human rights movement, eventually marrying fellow activist Andrei Sakharov in 1972. When Sakharov won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975, Bonner traveled to Oslo to represent him as he was restricted from leaving his country. She continued as his lifeline to the outside world into the 1980’s until she too was arrested and exiled in 1984. Her dedication won her the prestigious Rafto prize in 1991. She was an outspoken critic of the Chechen war and of Vladimir Putin’s increasing authoritarianism. Elena died June 19, 2011 of heart failure at the age of 88.