The Legacy of Soviet Dissent: Dissidents, Democratisation and Radical Nationalism in Russia
During the 1970s, dissidents like Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn dominated Western perceptions of the USSR, but were then quickly forgotten, as Gorbachev's reformers monopolised the spotlight. This book restores the dissidents to their rightful place in Russian history. Using a vast array of samizdat and published sources, it shows how ideas formulated in the dissident milieu clashed with the original programme of perestroika, and shaped the course of democratisation in post-Soviet Russia. Some of these ideas - such the dissidents' preoccupation with glasnost and legality, and their critique of revolutionary violence - became part of the agenda of Russia's democratic movement. But this book also demonstrates that dissidents played a crucial role in the rise of the new Russian radical nationalism. Both the friends and foes of Russian democracy have a dissident lineage.