The Development of Dissent and Opposition

  • Peter Reddaway


Under Stalin Soviet society was effectively atomised by the application over two decades of mass terror. In an important if paradoxical sense, it was depoliticised? Since his death in 1953 a process of incipient repoliticisation has begun, affecting both the apparat which rules the country and many groups outside it. The process was encouraged in various deliberate and non-deliberate ways by Khrushchev, but has developed much faster under his successors. This has been partly in reaction to their tendency to try to discourage it and, in important respects, to reverse it. One could also perhaps say that in the absence of a return to mass terror such a process has been inevitable. In any case, most of the groups outside the apparat have developed increasingly dissenting features, a trend which seems sure to continue.


Idealistic Style Political Prisoner National Movement Labour Camp Russian Nation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    e.g. the Leningrad ‘Social-Christians’, a group of anti-Soviet revolutionaries, or ‘The Democrats’, a Moscow-Leningrad-Baltic group. On the former see P. Reddaway, Uncensored Russia (London, 1972) pp. 376–80.Google Scholar
  2. also a forthcoming study by John Dunlop, The New Russian Revolutionaries, Nordland Press, Mass. On the latter see the trials of Davydov, Petrov, Bolonkin and Balakirev in A Chronicle of Current Events, no. 29, 30, Amnesty International Publications (London, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    See e.g. R. Conquest, Power and Policy in the USSR (London, 1961 ).Google Scholar
  4. and Carl Linden, Khrushchev and the Soviet Leadership, 1957–64 (Baltimore, 1966).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    The most penetrating discussion of most of the issues raised in this section is to be found in Valery Chalidze, To Defend These Rights: Human Rights and the Soviet Union (New York, 1974; London, 1975).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    On the Khrushchev period see especially the documentary collections of Hugh McLean and Walter Vickery (eds), The Year of Protest, 1956 (New York, 1961).Google Scholar
  7. and Priscilla Johnson, Khrushchev and the Arts: The Politics of Soviet Culture,1962–64 ( Cambridge, Mass., 1965 ).Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    The most useful books on the mainstream in the second half of the 1960s are: the collection edited by Max Hayward and Leopold Labedz on the Sinyaysky-Daniel trial, On Trial (London, 1967); the two collections edited by Pavel Litvinov, The Demonstration in Pushkin Square (London, 1969), and The Trial of the Four (London, 1972);Google Scholar
  9. the collection edited by Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Red Square at Noon (London, 1972).Google Scholar
  10. A. Amalrik, Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? (London, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  11. and A. Brumberg’s anthology, In Quest of Justice (London, 1970).Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    The first eleven issues of the Chronicle appear in full in P. Reddaway, Uncensored Russia: the Human Rights Movement in the Soviet Union (London, 1972 ).Issues 16–27 have been published as individual booklets by Amnesty International Publications, 53 Theobald’s Road, London, WC1, 1971–3, and issues 28–32 are due in 1975, as two books, from the same publishers. When the Chronicle was silenced in late 1972, the journal A Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR, ed. V. Chalidze, P. Litvinov, E. Kline and P. Reddaway began to be published in early 1973 by Khronika Press, 505 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018, operating on lines very similar to those of the Moscow Chronicle. It appears six times a year in separate but identical Russian and English editions.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    This was the area of activity of the Human Rights Committee, founded in 1970 by Dr A. Sakharov, V. Chalidze, and A. Tverdokhlebov. See Dokumenty Komiteta pray cheloveka: Proceedings of the Moscow Human Rights Committee, International League for the Rights of Man, 777 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017, 1972; also A Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR, no. 5–6 (1973) pp. 51–4.Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    Apart from the Chronicle’s extensive materials, the most important sources on the contemporary forced labour camps are A. Marchenko, My Testimony (London, 1969 ).Google Scholar
  15. and Edward Kuznetsov, Prison Diaries (London, 1975).Google Scholar
  16. On the mental hospitals see United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Abuse of Psychiatry for Political Repression in the Soviet Union (New York, 1973).Google Scholar
  17. and Zh. Medvedev, A Question of Madness (London, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  18. 13.
    The most useful book on this subject is M. Dewhirst and R. Farrell (eds), The Soviet Censorship ( Metuchen, New Jersey, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  19. 15.
    Two useful collections of their writings and documents are George Saunders (ed.), Samizdat: Voices of the Soviet Opposition (New York, 1974) and Samizdat I (Paris, 1969).Both books should be used with caution as regards their editorial interpretations, which wrongly suggest that Trotsky and Trotskyism are popular among dissenters and also give an exaggerated impression of the level of organised working class dissent in the USSR.Google Scholar
  20. 17.
    Grigorenko’s collection of writings, Mysli sumasshedshego (Thoughts of a Madman), Herzen Foundation, Amsterdam, 1973, due for publication in English in 1975.Google Scholar
  21. 20.
    See the latter’s Sakharov Speaks (London, 1974), an important collection of writings and documents with an autobiographical essay. See also Daniel Weissbort (ed.), Selected Poems by Natalya Gorbanevskaya with a Transcript of her Trial and Papers Relating to her Detention in a Prison Psychiatric Hospital ( South Hinksey, Oxford, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Other important source books on Ukrainian dissent in the 1960s are Michael Browne (ed.), Ferment in the Ukraine (London, 1971).Google Scholar
  23. and Ivan Dzyuba, Internationalism or Russification? 1st ed. (London, 1968) and 2nd rev. ed. (London, 1970).Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    Two useful and similar collections have appeared in English: J. Kolasky (ed.), Report from the Beria Reserve (Toronto, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  25. and Y. Bihun (ed.), Boomerang: The Works of Valentyn Moroz, Smoloskyp, PO Box 6066, Patterson Station, Baltimore, Md 20231 (Baltimore, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  26. 32.
    The most useful book on the Jewish movement up to 1973 is Leonard Schroeter, The Last Exodus (New York, 1974). Also the Chronicle has reported on it extensively from no. 8 onwards. Since 1972 a weekly bulletin of documents and information has been published, Jews in the USSR, Contemporary Jewish Library, 31 Percy Street, London W 1.Google Scholar
  27. 33.
    No. 1, dated January 1974 and 110 pages long, has been published as document AS 1776 in Radio Liberty’s Samizdat Archive series, which had registered by late 1974 nearly 2000 items. For a useful account of the Germans’ history since 1941 see Ann Sheehy’s study, The Crimean Tatars, the Meskhetians and the Volga Germans Minority Rights Group, 36 Craven Street, London WC2 (London, 1973).On the 1974 developments see Chronicle, no. 32, and A Chronicle of Human Rights, no. 7, 10 (1974), and for an important document of 1965 see Politicheskiy dnevnik (Amsterdam, 1972) pp. 92–6.Google Scholar
  28. 43.
    see Zhores Medvedev, Ten Years after Ivan Denisovich (London, 1973) ch. 19.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Reddaway 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Reddaway

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations