Russian bloggers outdo Soviet dissidents

Russian Bloggers Play a Much Larger Role than Soviet-Era Dissidents Did

Russian bloggers, many Moscow commentators have suggested, are today’s version of the dissidents of Brezhnev’s time. But on the occasion of Internet Free Speech Day, one Moscow analyst is arguing that blogs already play a larger role than the dissidents ever did and that they could serve as the seedbed for the growth of a Russian civil society.

Azer Mursaliyev writes that he finds it “difficult to agree” with those who assert that “dissidents in Brezhnev’s time played the role of a genuinely authoritative counter-elite.” The average Soviet citizen “frequently did not even suspect” that such people existed or know anything about them.

Now, thanks to the rise of the Internet with its blogosphere, he argues, there is the possibility as yet not fully realized that those who make use of it can not only formulate ideas in opposition to the authorities but ensure that those ideas reach a large or at least a critical audience quickly and effectively.

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