Viktor Kogan-Yasny was born in 1959 in Kharkov, the year his family moved to Moscow where he has since lived. He graduated from the Chemistry faculty of Moscow State University, where he went on to complete a PhD. Since 1988 he has been an active participant in public life. He began as an activist with Moscow Tribune and Memorial, and also worked with the Voters’ Club of the Academy of Sciences and with the Inter-regional Group of Deputies of the First Congress of USSR People’s Deputies. In 1990-91 he was an aide to the chair of the human rights committee of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. Since 1992 he has been chair of the board of the Society Against the Death Penalty and Torture, which later became the NGO Regional Civic Initiative for the Right to Life and Civic Dignity, and has since been renamed Civic Continuity for Law, Life and Dignity. At present, the organisation is primarily engaged in publishing and educational projects. Viktor Kogan-Yasny was one of the founders of Memorial Human Rights Centre. He has been a participant in observer and peacemaking missions to Chechnya and other ‘hot spots,’ and has made a study of conflicts. Since 1995 he has worked as a consultant for the Yabloko political party and is an adviser to the chair of the party’s federal political committee.