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Eastern Europe Dissent

Poland mourns its Smolensk dead - members of Solidarnosc perished in the crash

Among the 96 dead there were some dissidents who were prominent figures of Solidarnosc and fought against totalitarianism, for freedom and democracy in the Country. Their biographies will soon be published on Gariwo.

Czechoslovakia: pro-freedom demonstrations

After the Second World War Czechoslovakia, like the rest of Soviet-occupied eastern Europe, came under Moscow’s heel. The ruling communist party brutally stifled all forms of dissent and repressed religious organizations, industrial strikes and farmers’ protests.

Beyond the Wall: 1989 - 2009 - special 20th anniversary of the end of Communism

Special on the 20th anniversary of the end of Communism including historical overviews of each country, exemplary figures of moral resistance, testimonies, articles, and chronology. 

Bulgaria's road to freedom

A look at Bulgaria's road to freedom from the USSR. Bulgaria did not have any formal resistance movements, but was inspired by the movements and protests of other Soviet controlled countries.

To remember Jan Palach - a call and a trip to Prague

On 16th January 1969, the 21-year old Czech youth Jan Palach turned into a human torch to protest against the Soviet military occupation and bloody repression of the Prague Spring.
On the fourtieth anniversary of his sacrifice for freedom and democracy we remember him with words from his spiritual will.

Eastern Europe dissent

the truth against the lies of totalitarianism

The so called dissent in Eastern European communist regimes cannot be downplayed to a simple connotation of "opposition" as its definition would suggest, but must be viewed above all as the attempt to build a parallel polis based on every citizen's responsibility and aimed at occupying the spaces of cultural, social and human freedom wrought from the totalitarian regime into the social fabric.  The members of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakya and Solidarnosc in Poland, like Vaclav Havel, Radim Palous, Jacek Kuron, Adam Michnik, have always underlined that "the power of the powerless" consists in defeating fear through the strength created by coilectively assuming one's responsibilities, as proven by the exhortation to "live the truth" in a society based on lie. Their "dissent" has very often consisted in calling for the enforcement of the laws, such as the one about freedom of conscience, and the international accords subscribed by their countries, such as the Helsinki Accords
These stances have given rise to a broad movement which was able to condition the behaviour and mentality of the public opinion, up to the point in which - except in Romania - the totalitarian system was overturned in a peaceful way, without shedding blood, by a new leading class recognized by the majority of the population which is ready to take up the responsibility for public affairs.


The power of the powerless

Not only dissent - the "parallel polis" in Eastern Europe

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Wolf Biermann

musician and poet who criticized East Germany for militarism and totalitarianism