Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR

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The Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR was a journal devoted to the Soviet dissident movement. It was published in New York in English and Russian editions. Forty-eight issues appeared from 1972 to 1983. It was similar in nature to the Chronicle of Current Events, a samizdat ("self-published," meaning clandestine) periodical compiled by dissidents within the Soviet Union, which was subject to suppression by the Soviet authorities.

The editor of the Chronicle of Human Rights was Valery Chalidze, who had been a rights activist in Moscow. Allowed to travel to the United States in 1972, he was deprived of his Soviet citizenship and could not return home.

The Chronicle reflected a juridical approach to Soviet dissent, reporting the Soviet government's violations of its own laws in suppressing free expression. It documented arrests and trials of dissidents, conditions in the labor camps and mental asylums where some dissidents were held, and repression of movements defending the rights of national and religious minorities, among other topics. Citing Soviet laws, the Constitution of the USSR, and international covenants to which the Soviet Union was a party, the Chronicle sought to persuade the Soviet government to uphold its own guarantees of civil liberties.

For ten years the Chronicle of Human Rights gave dissidents a voice the Soviet authorities could not silence. By exposing repressive governmental actions that would otherwise not have come to light, it anticipated the policy of glasnost, or openness, which Mikhail Gorbachev introduced in the late 1980s.

See also: dissident movement; samizdat


Chalidze, Valery. (1974). To Defend These Rights: Human Rights and the Soviet Union, tr. Guy Daniels. New York: Random House.

Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR. (November 1972-March 1973October 1982-April 1983). Nos. 1-48. New York: Khronika Press.

Marshall S. Shatz

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Chronicle of Human Rights in the USSR

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