Truth-telling, conscience and dissent in late Soviet Russia: Evidence from oral histories

Boobbyer, Philip (2000) Truth-telling, conscience and dissent in late Soviet Russia: Evidence from oral histories. European History Quarterly, 30 (4). pp. 553-585. ISSN 0265-6914. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


To succeed in Soviet society, it was necessary to speak in politically correct terms. The system had its rituals and 'rules of the game'. Yet in the Brezhnev era, intellectuals started to challenge the official propaganda, and a culture emerged which emphasized the importance of 'truth-telling'. This article explores this culture through oral history. Based on forty-one interviews with dissidents and reformist intellectuals, it shows how the consciences of dissidents were formed in Soviet Russia, and gives examples of the strategies which were adopted to avoid lying and breaking free of fear. Behind the Soviet state's broader relationship with the intelligentsia, it conducted a more intimate negotiation with the conscience of each individual. In each person's life, there was a kind of moral contract with the state, and its terms were continually changing. Even the smallest things could be considered acts of dissent if the circumstances were comprehended. The potential for the outburst of 'truth-telling' which took place under Gorbachev is very evident.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: conscience; dissent; oral history; reform; Soviet
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: P. Ogbuji
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2009 19:23
Last Modified: 12 May 2014 12:37
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year