The Dissident Movement in the Soviet Union took place in the 1960s and 1970s and was created by opposition of the citizens to Soviet government policies. Although participation wasn’t quantitatively huge, the protests made by a few leaders made great impacts for human rights and peace.
(Andrei Sakharov speaking for human rights and against the nuclear bomb in Russia; Source: Russiapedia.)
One of the major human rights leaders to emerge from this time period and movement was Andrei Sakharov. Sakharov began his work in the Soviet Union as a nuclear physicist and would later be know as the “father of the hydrogen bomb.” However this profession led him towards the Dissident Movement and becoming an activist. He began to see the harmful sides of his work in nuclear physics and began to question the effects of these bombs.
“When you see all of this yourself, something in you changes. When you see the burned birds who are withering on the scorched steppe, when you see how the shock wave blows away buildings like houses of cards… How not to start thinking of one’s responsibility at this point?”
From there on out he advocated for human rights, expressed his discontent with the arms race, and challenged Moscowand the Soviet nuclear program through his books, protests, and speeches. Consequently, he was fired from his job and the faced major consequences from his country and was exiled. However, his actions and faith in human rights led him to win two huge honors; the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 (which his wife had to accept for him because he wasn’t allowed to leave the USSR) and the International Humanist Award in 1988.
“I’ve always thought that the most powerful weapon in the world was the bomb and that’s why I gave it to my people, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the most powerful weapon in the world is not the bomb but it’s the truth.”
(Andrei Sakharov on the Cover go Time Magazine in 1972 for his opposition to the nuclear bomb; Source: Time Magazine)
Today, there is a museum dedicated to Sakharov in Nizhny Novgorod (where Sakharov was exiled) that shows a history of human rights issues through out Soviet and Russian history.
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