Before World War II, worked in a factory. During World War II, on active service. Afterwards studied at Moscow University in the physics faculty, 1946-1952.
Research worker at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1952-1956. During the Khrushchev thaw in 1956, at a party meeting at his institute, openly demanded reforms. Dismissed from his job and expelled from the party.
Lived in Armenia. Elected corresponding member of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1968. Returned to Moscow and his former job, but was again dismissed after writing a letter to Brezhnev defending academician Sakharov. A prominent member of the dissident movement, one of the founders of the Helsinki Monitoring Group in Moscow.
Arrested and exiled for his human rights work. Allowed to go abroad, after the Daniloff affair, and in connection with the Reykjavik summit meeting in 1986. Settled in the USA.