Russian reformist politician. She was known for her political independence and passionate belief in democracy. Her outspoken criticism of the corruption afflicting modern-day Russian politics and society led to her being assassinated outside her home.
Starovoitova was an ardent supporter of minority interests and was a forceful advocate of self-determination; she was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies as the representative of an Armenian constituency in 1989 on the basis of her support of these issues. In 1990 Starovoitova was elected to the Russian parliament as an independent candidate representing a constituency in the recently renamed St Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). She aligned herself with other independents in Boris Yeltsin's Inter-Regional Group of People's Deputies. After the failed coup of August 1991 and the departure of Gorbachev, Starovoitova worked closely with Boris Yeltsin on nationality issues but was later sacked for criticizing government policy over ethnic clashes in the North Caucasus. She was politically sidelined for the next three years – taking a strong moral line on the invasion of Chechnya, over which she fell out with Yeltsin – and spent her time working and lecturing in the USA and the UK. Late in 1995 she returned to Russia to take up a seat in the State Duma, again representing a St Petersburg constituency. She continued to build a solid political reputation, with her social concerns remaining uppermost; she now began to speak out against the growing nationalist domination of the Duma and the ominous revival in Russia of anti-Semitism and fascism.
Galina Starovoitova grew up in the Urals and studied social psychology and anthropology in Leningrad, USSR. She worked for 17 years in the Soviet Academy of Sciences.