Whatever Happened to the
Soviet Dissidents?

From the mid-1960s onward, the US government and media publicized the cases of many dissidents brutally repressed by Soviet authorities. Americans got the impression that the dissidents represented the majority of Soviets who were anxious to throw off the yoke of communism.

The dissidents themselves tell a very different story. They admit they had little popular support, reflected in the fact that almost none hold political office today. And the United States stopped promoting the dissidents when Yeltsin came to power, in part because it was inconvenient to hear about human rights abuses in the new, supposedly democratic Russia. These same dissidents denounce human rights violations in today's Russia, but are virtually ignored by the West.

Why were the Soviet dissidents ignored?
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