In broad terms, a dissident is someone who actively challenges an established political regime, policy, or institution. In the Soviet Union, the notion was used during the Brezhnev era to refer to citizens who overtly or subtly criticized the authority of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. They did so through protests and production and dissemination of samizdat literature. Dissidents would often find themselves demonized in the official media and unable to publish their works or seek official employment in the Soviet Union. Furthermore, they often suffered from harassment, persecution, and imprisonment by the KGB. Eventually, the term began to connote a nonconformist who attempted to inform the public, at home and abroad, of the violation of human rights in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
   Historically, there were a number of types of dissidents in the USSR: “true Communists,” who maintained that Soviet ideology presented a case of perverted Marxism; “Western liberals,” who believed that capitalism and political pluralism were the only acceptable systems; Russian nationalists, who supported the view that Russia had its own unique trajectory of development with emphasis on Eurasianism and Russian Orthodoxy; minority activists, who fought for the rights of national minorities and the titular populations of the union republics; religious activists, who demanded freedom to observe their faith without prejudice or hindrance; and artists and authors, like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose views were a combination of different strands of the dissident movement.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.


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  • dissident — dissident, ente [ disidɑ̃, ɑ̃t ] adj. • 1539, rare av. 1752; lat. dissidens, de dissedere « être en désaccord » ♦ Qui est en dissidence, qui fait partie d une dissidence. ⇒ hérétique, hétérodoxe, non conformiste, opposé, rebelle, révolté,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Dissident — Sm Abweichender, Andersdenker per. Wortschatz fach. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. dissidēns ( entis), dem PPräs. von l. dissidēre getrennt sein, anders denken, eigentlich voneinander getrennt sitzen , zu l. sedēre (sessum) sitzen und l.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Dissident — Dis si*dent, a. [L. dissidens, entis, p. pr. of dissidere to sit apart, to disagree; dis + sedere to sit: cf. F. dissident. See {Sit}.] No agreeing; dissenting; discordant; different. [1913 Webster] Our life and manners be dissident from theirs.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Dissident — Dis si*dent, n. (Eccl.) One who disagrees or dissents; one who separates from the established religion. [1913 Webster] The dissident, habituated and taught to think of his dissidenc? as a laudable and necessary opposition to ecclesiastical… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dissident — dissident, ente (di ssi dan, dan t ) adj. 1°   Qui est en dissidence sur un point de doctrine avec le plus grand nombre, ou avec une église officielle. Secte, faction dissidente. 2°   Substantivement. Les presbytériens sont des dissidents en… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • dissident — [adj] disagreeing, differing discordant, dissentient, dissenting, heretical, heterodox, nonconformist, schismatic, sectarian, unorthodox; concept 403 Ant. agreeing, conforming dissident [n] person who holds different belief agitator, dissenter,… …   New thesaurus

  • dissident — [dis′ədənt] adj. [L dissidens: see DISSIDENCE] not agreeing; dissenting n. a dissident person; dissenter dissidently adv …   English World dictionary

  • dissident — I adjective antagonistic, at odds with, at variance with, challenging, clashing, contrary, differing, disagreeing, discontented, discordant, discrepant, disinclined, disobedient, dissatisfied, dissentient, dissenting, dissentious, divergent,… …   Law dictionary

  • dissident — DISSIDENT, s. m. se dit Des sectaires qui ne sont pas de la religion dominante. Les Dissidens de Pologne. Les Presbitériens sont des Dissidens en Angleterre …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • dissident — • dissident, överlöpare, desertör, förrädare …   Svensk synonymlexikon

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