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Richard Raznikov

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Richard Alan Raznikov

Attorney, novelist, musician, and political activist, passed away peacefully on April 28 at his Sonoma home after a long illness. He was 68 years old.

He will be dearly missed by the many people whose lives were touched by his fierce passion for social justice and concern for the human condition.

Richard came of age in the 1960's in the tide of social and political revolution. Impressed by the prose of John Kennedy and the poetry of Bob Dylan, he began to find his voice as an activist.

After graduating from San Rafael High School, where he served as SB President, Richard matriculated to U.C. Berkeley in 1964, where much to the consternation of his parents, he became actively involved in the Free Speech Movement. While at Cal, he became deeply suspicious of government explanations of the JFK Assassination. He began to do meticulous research, spoke publicly, and published several articles on the matter. By 1967, against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, Richard authored a position paper outlining a strategy of how Robert Kennedy could unseat President Johnson in the coming election. Six months later, he moved to New York to work full time for Senator Kennedy and became the youngest delegate to the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968.

Shortly thereafter, Richard entered Boalt School of Law at the University of California.
He worked his way through school by teaching political science classes in the Marin Community Colleges and writing for several bay area publications.
Upon graduation, he began a 35 year career as a plaintiff's attorney, often representing the most marginalized citizens. Although never driven by material success, Richard considered himself quite wealthy. He valued family and friends and understood how truly fortunate he was to be born in a time and place of unfettered opportunity. He took great satisfaction in simplest of pleasures: a good book, a round of golf, a Giants game, or an old movie.

As a longtime Marin County resident, Richard became immersed in several progressive political causes. He ran for state office and served on several high profile commissions, most notably as President of the first Marin Nuclear Free Commission. After being elected to the Tamalpais School Board, Richard encouraged students to develop their own political voices and he worked tirelessly to deemphasize the importance of standardized testing in measuring academic achievement.

In his later years, Richard fulfilled a lifelong ambition by penning his first novel, the critically acclaimed, News From a Parallel World, which has been described as a "page turning thriller and a crash course in the US History of the 1960's". Concurrently, he began writing a political blog of the same name. Within a short period of time he had hundreds of subscribers who looked forward to his insightful, humorous and often angry treatises on the current state of political affairs.

In addition, despite the advise of his music teacher who once lamented at the sad state of his singing voice, Richard taught himself to play guitar, wrote dozens of songs, and with the help of several musician friends, published 3 CDs with a distinct personal and political tone.

Richard is survived by his daughter, Jessica Raznikov, his siblings Constance Raznikov Roth and Charles Raznikov, and his grandsons Phaedrus Raznikov and Jacob Clein. His voice is silent now, but his spirit lives on in the hearts of those he touched. Rest well, Richard.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on May 5, 2015
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