Friday, July 3, 2020

The Dissidents: A Memoir of Working with the Resistance in Russia, 1960-1990 (Peter Reddaway)

Peter Reddaway's The Dissidents is his account of working with Soviet dissidents over a thirty year period. Reddaway is a professor emeritus of political science and international affairs who first visited the Soviet Union in the early 1960’s as a student. In this book, he chronicles his work in Soviet and Russian affairs and his relationships with those who spoke out against the Communist regime of the Soviet Union.

One of the most intriguing and interesting parts of the book is when Reddaway discusses how the Soviet Union treated dissenters in means that went beyond mere jail time. While one can easily assume that there were human rights abuses in the repressive Soviet state, The Dissidents goes into detail and depth on its effects on those who dared speak out for reform and democracy behind the Iron Curtain and how the Soviet regime would wax and wane between tolerance and crackdown depending on the balance of power in Moscow.

Reddaway’s work is solidly researched. It is not necessarily captivating but is very informative and detailed, especially for those who have an interest in or are doing work in the field of Russian and Soviet history.