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Speaking Truth is Power: 'Glasnost' as a Weapon of Dissent In Late Soviet Russia

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Title: Speaking Truth is Power: 'Glasnost' as a Weapon of Dissent In Late Soviet Russia
Author: Held, Elizabeth
Advisor: Gerstein, Linda
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: In 1968, a group of Soviet dissidents began to print their own newspaper, the Chronicle of Current Events, and to work with western reporters to spread their message about the illegality of the ruling regime. By using their own media forms, the dissidents were able to break the government's monopoly on information. More importantly, they used the media technologies to advocate for their two key, interconnected goals of glasnost, or openness, and the rule of law. The dissidents made two main arguments. First, that glasnost was integral to creating an equitable and fair justice system. Second, that speaking truth was legal and not something the government could prosecute. Glasnost served as both a rallying cry and as a weapon. The dissidents called for openness, but also used their media outlets to expose events the government wished to keep quiet. In choosing the two mantras of legality and glasnost, the dissidents consciously put themselves in the shadow of previous groups of Russian reformers who had the same demands. They placed themselves in a historical debate. The dissidents also sought to differentiate their version of glasnost, complete openness, from various government leaders' definitions of the term. This thesis seeks to explore the way dissident media outlets forced the dual goals of glasnost and respect for the rule of law. It will examine the causes and forms of dissident media, and their relationship to the idea of legality. It will also look at the dissidents' calls for glasnost in a historic context, seeking to understand how the dissidents interpreted the term differently than previous generations.
Subject: Dissenters -- Soviet Union
Subject: Soviet Union -- Politics and government -- 1985-1991
Subject: Soviet Union -- Intellectual life -- 1970-1991
Subject: Glasnost
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Held, Elizabeth. "Speaking Truth is Power: 'Glasnost' as a Weapon of Dissent In Late Soviet Russia". 2012. Available electronically from

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