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Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution

Solidarity and the Struggle Against Communism in Poland


Jack M. Bloom

In 1980 Polish workers astonished the world by demanding and winning an independent union with the right to strike, called Solidarity--the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire. Jack M. Bloom's Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution explains how it happened, from the imposition to Communism to its end, based on 150 interviews of Solidarity leaders, activists, supporters and opponents. Bloom presents the perspectives and experiences of these participants. He shows how an opposition was built, the battle between Solidarity and the ruling party, the conflicts that emerged within each side during this tense period, how Solidarity survived the imposition of martial law and how the opposition forced the government to negotiate itself out of power.
Prague Spring '68
Dailies and periodicals covering all spheres of social life

Features dailies and periodicals including two communist party dailies Rude Pravo (Czech) and Pravda (Slovak), economic publications such as Hospodarske Noviny or Zemedelska Ekonomika, and a number of military periodicals such as the A-Revue. Also includes publications of all legal political parties and cultural publications. Includes regional dailies as well as Prague publications.
Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty

Research bulletins, background reports and other information from the research departments of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. Collection includes previously unpublished source material. Also includes the RFE / RL Research Report, which provides topical analyses of political, economic, security and social developments in an area extending from the Baltic to the Balkans and from Oder to the Pacific.

Various Authors & Editors

Sobranie Dokumentov Samizdata – Materialy Samizdata

Although the word samizdat (from samizdat = self-publishing) first appeared in written material from the USSR early in 1966, the phenomenon to which it refers has a very long history. In its broadest sense, as written material circulated in circumvention of the censorship system, samizdat is a tradition dating back to the eighteenth century. Since the early 1 960s the proliferation of material and the development of new methods for overcoming official censorship indicate that samizdat has become a medium of communication of increasing and undeniable importance, not only to observers and scholars outside the USSR, but more especially to the tens of thousands of people inside the Soviet Union who write, type, distribute, and read this unpublished written material. The material which filters out of the USSR represents only a small part of the total circulating inside the country.

The definition of the word samizdat and the description of the phenomenon vary with the point of view of the observer. Inside the USSR the element of circulation seems to be crucial, that is, of reproduction and distribution via an underground network. Western observers would see the technical process as less important than the fact of actual publication, whether in the USSR or abroad. Again, inside the USSR samizdat may include translations into Russian of kinds of texts written and published abroad as well as translations of radio programs and newspaper and magazine articles from Western newspapers and international journals. A distinction is frequently made between literary works not yet published and unlikely to be published and non-literary materials (newsletters, petitions, essays, articles, observers, samizdat has generally come to mean any writing from inside the Soviet Union which has not been or could not be published there. Observers know more about dissenting opinion in the USSR than was known a decade ago, but samizdat is only one indication of the social, political, and intellectual ferment which has developed in USSR; is dissent, which is much broader and more complex.

Samizdat touches upon many themes and subjects including politics, economics, science, religion, life, and for example, comes from virtually all churches, denominations, and sects active in the USSR today. theological but deals primarily with church-state relations and derives from the common experience of religious groups in the face of official hostility persecution. The official Soviet posture that full religious freedom exists is belied by the hundreds of pages of samizdat picturing the anguish of parents whose children have been taken away and confined in state orphanages, of families of believers whose husbands and fathers have been sentenced to prison, of congregations whose priests have been exiled. Religious samizdat presents a degree of persecution almost unprecedented in its ferocity and scope.

It is estimated that more than 40,000 manuscript pages of samizdat have been received in the West in the last decade. Most of these have been collected by the Arkhiv Samizdata, a research archive created in 1968 by the Research Department of Radio Liberty in Munich. Many samizdat texts have been published in book form, especially major literary works, autobiographies, documentary collections, and essays. But almost half of the samizdat found in the West has not been published or, in some cases, only printed once in a Russian language newspaper or journal not normally subscribed to by most libraries. In 1971, the Arkhiv Samizdata began to reproduce all of the samizdat material registered in its files (with the exception of works already available in book form) in mimeographed volumes for distribution to the Western academic community via eight well-known repository libraries in Europe and the United States. These volumes are issued under the title Sobranie Dokumentov Samizdata [Collected Documents].