The Continuing Struggle for Human Rights October 18, 1981

Alexander Ginzburg, October 18, 1981
“A totalitarian government usually arises with the help of one factor, namely mass terror. The human rights movement in the USSR began in the mid-1950s; it could not have come into being earlier because right before this, in the Soviet Union, there was a 40-year period of bloody, mass terror; approximately 66 million people were killed.
“After the October 1917 revolution, the number of intellectuals who remained could be counted on your fingers. The next victims were the peasants because they were the best carriers of the nation’s historical memory. By the mid-1940s, entire national groups were exterminated.”
“Stalin’s death in `953 ended the most severe and bloodiest repressions in the country. By 1956, people began to feel that they could no longer live under repression and wanted to be heard by the government.
“I had written a lot and was published a great deal but became frustrated with government censorship. The Soviet Secret Police arrested me after I had put out three issues of a magazine called Syntaxis. This ‘childish amusement’ cost me two years of my life spec in a labor camp.
“The human rights movement in the Soviet Union has attempted to form free trade union, much as the Solidarity movement in Poland. But so far Solidarity has not been successful in becoming a mass trade union movement. In 1977 the trade union leaders were placed in insane asylums (by the KGB) and still are sitting there”

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