Dissent & the New Cold War. Stephen F. Cohen, @nyu @princeton EastWestAccord.com



(Photo: Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (Russian: Андре́й Дми́триевич Са́харов; 21 May 1921 – 14 December 1989)




Twitter: @batchelorshow

Dissent & the New Cold War. Stephen F. Cohen, @nyu @princeton EastWestAccord.com

"...In 1973 and 1974, the Soviet media campaign continued, targeting both Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. While Sakharov disagreed with Solzhenitsyn's vision of Russian revival, he deeply respected him for his courage. Only a few individuals in the Soviet Union were willing to defend 'traitors' like Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, and those who had dared were inevitably punished.[14]

Sakharov later described that it took "years" for him to "understand how much substitution, deceit, and lack of correspondence with reality there was" in the Soviet ideals. "At first I thought, despite everything that I saw with my own eyes, that the Soviet State was a breakthrough into the future, a kind of prototype for all countries". Then he came, in his words, to "the theory of symmetry: all governments and regimes to a first approximation are bad, all peoples are oppressed, and all are threatened by common dangers."[14]

After that he realized that there is not much "symmetry between a cancer cell and a normal one. Yet our state is similar to a cancer cell – with its messianism and expansionism, its totalitarian suppression of dissent, the authoritarian structure of power, with a total absence of public control in the most important decisions in domestic and foreign policy, a closed society that does not inform its citizens of anything substantial, closed to the outside world, without freedom of travel or the exchange of information."[14] Sakharov's ideas on social development led him to put forward the principle of human rights as a new basis of all politics. In his works he declared that "the principle 'what is not prohibited is allowed' should be understood literally", defying the unwritten ideological rules imposed by the Communist ruling elite on the society in spite of the seemingly democratic (1936) USSR Constitution.

In no way did Sakharov consider himself a prophet or the like: "I am no volunteer priest of the idea, but simply a man with an unusual fate. I am against all kinds of self-immolation (for myself and for others, including the people closest to me)." In a letter written from exile, he cheered up a fellow physicist and human rights activist with the words: "Fortunately, the future is unpredictable and also – because of quantum effects – uncertain." For Sakharov the indeterminacy of the future supported his belief that he could, and should, take personal responsibility for it.[14]..."


Mar 29, 03:55 AM
You need to be to post a comment

Autobot117 - 5 months ago

I see the Russia hysteria from the Democrats as the strategy to handcuff Trump. The Democrats used it against Bush when they kept daily repeating how he was illegitimate because, they said, the Supreme Court gave him FL when Gore, they said, actually won it. It wasn't until 9/11 when Bush finally broke free of the prison the Democrats had put him in. I also think the Russia hysteria gives Democrats political cover for not altering their platform, which has caused the party to be annihiliated across the country. The Democrats nationally are as weak as they were in the 1920s. How do you go forward under these conditions without making radical ideological platform changes? You blame Russia for your catastrophic losses.


drexelhill - 5 months ago

It would be nice if transcripts of Stephen Cohen's comments were made. I realize this is an effort but the payout might be great as search engines would then pick it up. Listening to Cohen's broadcast is a must even for someone like myself who is against nearly everything "The Nation" represents.


CurtCarpenter - 5 months ago

"Increasingly, the American people are being asked to choose between two unpalatable versions of events: abuse of power by one president or treason that put another in the White House.

It cannot be both. "