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Entries / Dissident Movement

Dissident Movement

Categories / Social Life/Social Organizations and Unions

DISSIDENT MOVEMENT, a term used to define ideologically heterogeneous trends of the opposition in the USSR in the 1960-80s (since 1969, the term has been used in the foreign official press, first appeared in the Soviet press in the 1970s; due to the foreign publications (so-called tamizdat, by analogy with samizdat, as foreign press was often in the opposition to the Soviet regime) the notion has become widely used in the society), identical to the notions of "human rights movement", "nonconformity". The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on 10 December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly served as the ideological base of the movement. Participants of the movement radically rejected the elaboration of the general pattern of state rearrangement and foundation of structured underground groups with regulations and written programmes (the place of the latter was taken by informal associations of like-minded people). They put forward civil demands (such as freedom of speech, the right to emigrate etc.) and made for overt actions, which in its turn didn't exclude the clandestine distribution of samizdat (self-published media or literature forbidden by the state), publishing texts anonymously or using pseudonyms. The citizen position of dissidents is characterized by the repudiation of the appeal to the Soviet law, reference to the human rights, officially acknowledged by the Soviet government, free access to the international community and Western mass media. Dissident movement in Leningrad was manifested by protest actions, like V.I. Gomelsky's appeal to the Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (he was arrested in 1967), open letters and complaints of E.S. Orlovsky, distribution of published materials of Moscow Initiative group on human rights in the USSR by the group of Y.L. Gendler - L.B. Kvachevsky (5 members of the group were arrested in 1968), the work of V.E. Borisov, a member of the Initiative group on human rights in the USSR (he was arrested in 1969); protests against bringing of the troops of the Warsaw Pact countries into Czechoslovakia (these protests took the shape of the collection of signatures, overt distribution of letters, the inscription on Anichkov Bridge which read "Get out of Prague, Brezhnev!" (I.I. Bugoslavsky was arrested in 1968); the establishment of the Individual Freedom Struggle Union (the group of V.A. Dzibalov; 6 members were arrested in 1971); distribution of leaflets summoning the ballot strike (Y. E. Minkovsky was arrested in 1973), and in defence of A.I. Solzhenitsyn (L. L. Verdi was arrested in 1974); work of the Circle of Supporters of Socialist Legal Order (O. N. Moskvin was arrested in 1977); protests against bringing of the Soviet troops into Afghanistan (B.S. Mirkin was arrested in 1981); demonstrations in commemoration of Decembrists' uprising beside the Bronze Horseman (14 December 1975), demonstration of artists and men of letters by Peter and Paul Fortress (May - June of 1976), demonstration for defence of human rights on December 10 (1977, 1978, 1979); inscription on the wall of Gosudarev Bastion of Peter and Paul Fortress which read, "You crucify freedom, but human soul has no fetters" (Y.A. Rybakov, O.A. Volkov were arrested in 1976); inscription on the wall of Trubetskoy Bastion of Peter and Paul Fortress which read, "Freedom to Sakharov!" (V.S. Khromenkov, was arrested in March of 1986). Another type of dissident movement activities was reflected in the work of different independent associations: the Leningrad Department of the Russian Social Fund, the Fund for the Assistance to the Families of Political Prisoners (1974-83, V.I. Isakova, V.T. Repin and V.N. Gaenko were in charge of the fund), independent union activity (Free Interprofessional Association of Working People, founded in 1978; L.Y. Volokhonsky was arrested in 1979, V.E. Borisov was deported from the country in 1981, V.I. Sytinsky was arrested in 1984); seminar on General Systems Theory (1968-82, at S.Y. Maslov's apartment), Maria Women's Club [1979-80, Y.N. Voznesenskaya (Okulova), T.A. Mamonova and others were deported in 1980, N.M. Lazareva was arrested in 1980, arrested again in 1982]; a religious and philosophic seminar of T.M. Goricheva (1974-80); Christian Discussion Group and publishing of Community Journal (1974-79, V.Y. Poresh was arrested in 1979); editing of historical collection Memory (A.B. Roginsky was arrested in 1981); the distribution of Seventh Day Adventists' publications (I.S. Zvyagin was arrested in 1980, as was L.K. Nagritskayte in 1981 and others); home art exhibitions (G.N. Mikhailov was arrested in 1979); organisation of hatha yoga training groups (A.I. Ivanov was arrested in 1977). Special significance for dissident movement should be given to Jewish national associations, like Leningrad Zionist Organisation (G.I. Butman, M.S. Korenblit and others, arrested in 1970); the seminar of Jews-Refuseniks (those who were denied the right to leave the country) (1979-81, E. Lein was arrested in 1981). The characteristic feature of the dissident movement was the appearance of literature which was not cleared by Soviet censorship. Its authors included writer K.V. Uspensky (arrested in 1960), poet I.A. Brodsky (arrested in 1964), M.A. Naritsa (the author of the novel The Song Unsung, arrested in 1961), M.R. Kheyfets (the author of the foreword to Brodsky's book of poems, arrested in 1974), D.E. Axelrod (the author of the novel Krasovsky Brothers, arrested in 1982), poet K.M. Azadovsky (arrested in 1982). Publishing and distribution of samizdat and tamizdat editions served the reason for the arrest of G.V. Davydov - V.V. Petrov's group (1973), M.M. Klimov (1982), M.B. Meylakh (1983), G.A. Donskoy (1983), M.V. Polyakov (1983), B.O. Mityashin (1984); E.G. Etkind (1976), L.S. Druskin (1980), S.V. Dedyulin (1981) and others were forced to emigrate. V.V. Ioffe assisted with the developing of a personal behaviour strategy during KGB questioning and searches of members of the dissident movement; Orlovsky arranged consultations, made comments to the USSR Constitution, the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and other laws, which helped arrested dissidents to retain their independent stand during trials. Many regulations of ideological and ethical legacy of dissident movement were adopted by the society, thus contributing to the guarantee of the ideological basis of the post-communist period, while several features of dissident movement served as prototypes to different public organisations and associations (human rights, social, cultural, and educational organisations).

References: Иофе В. В. Границы смысла: Статьи, выступления, эссе. СПб., 2002.

I. A. Flige.

Axelrod Dmitry Efimovich
Azadovsky Konstantin Markovich
Borisov Vladimir Evgenievich
Brodsky Iosif Alexandrovich
Bugoslavsky Igor Ivanovich
Butman Gilel Izrailevich
Davydov Georgy Valentinovich
Dedyulin Sergey Vladimirovich
Donskoy Gely Alexandrovich
Druskin Lev Savelievich
Dzibalov Vyacheslav Anisimovich
Etkind Efim Grigorievich
Gaenko Vladimir Nikolaevich
Gendler Yury Lvovich
Gomelsky Vladimir Ilyich
Goricheva Tatyana Mikhailovna
Heifets Mikhail Ruvimovich
Iofe Veniamin Viktorovich
Isakova Valeria Ivanovna
Ivanov Anatoly Ivanovich
Khromenkov Viktor Sazonovich
Klimova Margarita Mikhailovna
Korenblit Mikhail Semenovich
Kvachevsky Lev Borisovich
Lazareva Natalia Mikhailovna
Lein Evgeny
Mamonova Tatyana Arsenievna
Maslov Sergey Yurievich
Meylakh Mikhail Borisovich
Mikhaylov Georgy Nikolaevich
Minkovsky Yury Eduardovich
Mirkin Boris Savelievich
Mityashin Boris Olegovich
Moskvin Oleg Nikolaevich
Nagritskaite Leta Kazevna
Naritsa Mikhail Alexandrovich
Orlovsky Ernest Semenovich
Petrov Vyacheslav Valentinovich
Polyakov Mikhail Vasilievich
Poresh Vladimir Yurievich
Repin Valery Timofeevich
Roginsky Arseny Borisovich
Rybakov Yuly Andreevich
Solzhenitsyn Aleхander Isaevich
Sytinsky Vladimir Igorevich
Uspensky (Kostsinsky) Kirill Vladimirovich
Verdi Leonid Lvovich
Volkov Oleg Alexeevich
Volokhonsky Lev Yakovlevich
Voznesenskaya Yulia Nikolaevna (nee Tarapovskaya)
Zvyagin Ilya Solomonovich

Иофе В. В. Границы смысла: Ст., выступления, эссе. СПб., 2002

The subject Index
St. Peter and Paul fortress
St. Peter and Paul fortress
Trubetskoy Bastion


Political Persecution

POLITICAL PERSECUTION refers to large-scale punitive measures organized by the Soviet Government from October 1917 on with a purpose of physical removal of real or potential political opponents