There Is Always Room in Life for a Valorous Deed

Boris Fishman

Tablet | 2022

“Not many human-rights advocates in corrupt countries with a history of abuse by law enforcement have the kinds of relationships with local military commanders that allow the former to put the latter ‘on their ears’ in requesting a highly dangerous rescue mission. But Boris Zakharov, whose wispy beard, clipped bangs, and curly-haired mullet invoke a cross between Matisyahu and Travis Tritt, is not a typical human-rights advocate.

Zakharov was born in Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, the son of Yevgeny Zakharov, a Soviet dissident who formed the first human-rights organization in independent Ukraine. In his early twenties, Zakharov turned to the same work as his father. ‘I almost didn’t have a choice,’ he said. As the host of a hard-charging program on national television, Zakharov brought attention to abuses by the security services and the mistreatment of inmates in Ukrainian prisons. In one case, having to do with a serial domestic abuser who had managed to pay off the local police and judiciary, Zakharov’s investigation prompted the intervention of the national deputy minister of Internal Affairs.”

View More