Vyacheslav Bakhmin: What is interesting about the experience of Soviet dissidents?

7 February 2021

Co-chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group Vyacheslav Bakhmin (pictured above) has taken part in the project Scale of Values of the School of Civic Education.

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Школа гражданского просвещения]

Vyacheslav Bakhmin has lived a remarkable life: a dissident, a diplomat and a human rights defender. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bakhmin was arrested three times, and in the 1990s the former political prisoner became a high-ranking diplomat and represented Russia at the United Nations. Vyacheslav Bakhmin speaks about his experience of freedom, the founding of the Moscow Helsinki Group and the role of the academician Andrei Sakharov. He also talks about his impressions of Boris Yeltsin, the relations between dissidents with the authorities, the prospects that opened up in the new Russia and how the Russian Foreign Ministry in the early 1990s began to protect human rights. He reflects about what is more common in modern Russia, fear or fearlessness, as well as how a window of opportunity appears after the most difficult and apparently hopeless times.


01:30 First arrest at the age of 22

04:40 10 months in Lefortovo

08:10 How dissidents lived

11:00 The investigation of punitive psychiatry

17:40 Is it better or worse now?

23:20 Did the dissidents expect the end of the USSR?

25:50 The role of Gorbachev

28:00 How the mindset develops

31:05 On freedom in a country that is not free

33:20 What was good in the USSR

38:00 Why did dissidents not go into politics?

42: 40 What are the merits of Academician Sakharov

48: 30 How a dissident became a diplomat

51: 30 Were Russian diplomats respected in the 1990s?

56: 05 What kind of politician was Yeltsin

59: 20 Getting to know Soros

1:03: 35 Why is everything foreign restricted?

1: 10: 20 “It is impossible to return to the 1937.”

Translated by Ecaterina Hughes

Leave a Reply