SOVIET UNION: Killing the Spirit of Helsinki

A tough new crackdown on dissidents

Five years ago, at the 35-nation Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (C.S.C.E.), the Kremlin leadership pledged to respect "fundamental freedoms" and assure a freer movement of people and information. That formal commitment has never amounted to more than a gesture, grudgingly given and speedily withdrawn. Nonetheless, the spirit of Helsinki briefly lifted hopes of Soviet dissidents, encouraging the emigration of Jews from the U.S.S.R. and spawning a host of human rights groups. Those hopes now lie in ruins. Arrests of dissidents have soared,...

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