Mark Deitch, former Soviet dissident, dies in accident at 67

Mark Deitch, 67, a former dissident who became a well-known journalist in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, died in Bali, Indonesia, in early May while saving a young girl from drowning. Accounts didn’t give the exact date.

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Deitch was a prominent anti-Soviet journalist before the fall of communism and worked for Radio Liberty, “Svoboda” radio station, “Izvestia,” “Moskovsky Komsomolets,” and “Literaturnaya Gazeta.” In 2008, a Russian nationalist newspaper attacked Deitch and other human rights activists by publishing their names on an "enemies list" and putting detailed personal information about them in the paper.

Deitch’s wife Ksenia said that she and her family were on vacation when her husband took the daughter of friends to swim in the ocean. “Not far, just a dozen meters off the shore. There was a very strong current there, strong waves, and the ocean itself is quite unpredictable. They must have been knocked down by a wave and dragged out into the open ocean. I rushed off to call for lifeguards. Meanwhile, my husband managed to push the girl to the shore. She was saved. But when he was pulled out it was already too late,” she said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to Deitch’s family and friends, Putin press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said.

The Eulogizer highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Write to the Eulogizer at eulogizer@jta.org. Follow the Eulogizer on Twitter @TheEulogizer

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