The USSR’s voice of opposition

The World Today Updated 11 December 2020 Published 25 September 2015 1 minute READ

John Crowfoot

At their gatherings Soviet dissidents would share an ironic toast while raising their glasses, ‘To our hopeless cause!’ This reinforces the common view that opponents of the Communist regime were often intelligent people who did not expect their activities to change the system.

Such an assessment is confirmed by the fact that no opposition figure from before 1985 occupied a position of power in Russia or in the states that succeeded the USSR. The opening and sharing with western academics of certain official Soviet archives further supports the view that only the authorities were changing the direction of the USSR, and did so, most famously, under Mikhail Gorbachev.

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