Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Discussion about Russia having more political prisoners than USSR misleading | Letters

Discussion about Russia having more political prisoners than USSR misleading | Letters

Regarding your post Russia now has more political prisoners than USSR did in 1976.

I greatly respect Paul Goble and his important work over the years.  I also respect the other individuals he mentions in his article about political prisoners in the USSR and Russia. Nonetheless, the discussion in the above-noted article about political prisoners in the USSR/Russia is misleading, since it significantly misrepresents what Sakharov originally said about political prisoners in the Soviet Union.

In his Nobel Peace Prize speech of 1975 Sakharov lists the names of over 100 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the Soviet Union.  However, he clearly states in this speech that these are only “some of the names known to me,” and that many more could be listed.  In the same speech, with reference to the Soviet Union, he talks about “hundreds and thousands of prisoners of conscience.”

An official version of Sakharov’s speech can be found here.

I fully agree that Russia’s current human rights record is atrocious and deserves to be thoroughly criticized.  And just as to this day we have no thoroughly reliable figures concerning the number of political prisoners, or prisoners of conscience, in the Soviet Union, we have only incomplete information of a similar nature about present-day Russia.

This does not excuse, however, simplistic distortions of the Soviet Union’s terrible human rights record, and misrepresentations of what Andrei Sakharov, a very fine and honorable person, originally said about the plight of political prisoners in the Soviet Union.  Those attempting to compare state repression in the Soviet Union and Russia should be careful when making this comparison, and not “play politics” when it comes to discussions of such important issues.

Ivan (John) Jaworsky, Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo (Canada)

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Stay informed with Kompreno.
    • Get quality journalism from across Europe.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts