Chronicle of Current Events

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The Chronicle of Current Events (Khronika tekushchikh sobyty ) was a clandestine periodical of Soviet dissent. It reported on the activities of dissidents seeking to expand the sphere of civil freedom and political expression. It appeared at irregular intervals from 1968 to 1983.

The Chronicle was put together in Moscow by anonymous editors drawing on a network of informants throughout the Soviet Union. It was produced by samizdat ("selfpublishing") techniques. Typewritten texts with multiple carbon copies were compiled, the recipients of which retyped additional copies and passed them along in chainletter fashion. The Chronicle documented the views of the dissidents, reported on their arrests and trials, and described their treatment in prisons, labor camps, and mental asylums.

The compilers of the Chronicle, like most of the civil liberties activists, came from the educated, professional stratum of Soviet society. The Chronicle contained reports not only on their efforts, but on the activities of national minorities and religious groups as well. These included, among others, the campaign of the Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland in the Crimea, from which they had been deported in World War II; the efforts of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel; and the demands of Lithuanian Catholics, Ukrainian Uniates, and Baptists for religious freedom. Thus the Chronicle drew together hitherto isolated individuals and groups in an informal nationwide organization.

Though forced to publish by conspiratorial methods, the Chronicle was committed to the rule of law. It publicized repressive actions by the authorities and called on the government to observe the provisions of Soviet law and international agreements that guaranteed freedom of speech and association and other human rights. It served as an information and communication center for the dissident movement and linked its disparate strands. The publication's existence was always precarious, however, and it was ultimately suppressed.

See also: dissident movement; journalism; samizdat


Chronicle of Current Events. (19681984). London: Amnesty International.

Hopkins, Mark. (1983). Russia's Underground Press: The Chronicle of Current Events. New York: Praeger.

Reddaway, Peter, ed. (1972). Uncensored Russia: Protest and Dissent in the Soviet Union. New York: American Heritage Press.

Marshall S. Shatz

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Chronicle of Current Events

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