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Dissident Memories

Yesterday the Associated Press published a pretty interesting profile of the former Soviet dissident Sergei Kovalyov, who laments the lack of interest in this side of Russian history.  Just got around to reading it this morning, and found some interesting quotes worth checking out.

Wistfully fingering the red lapel ribbon that signifies his membership in the French Legion of Honor, 79-year-old Kovalyov feels honored abroad but marginalized by the very society he and his fellow dissidents struggled to set free.

In a country that claims to be democratic and open to differing views, he isn’t seen on major TV networks, which are all either state-controlled or owned by Kremlin-friendly businesses. Many Russians view Putin as the man who restored their country to greatness, and Kovalyov knows that few are likely to mourn his passing. (…)

But Kovalyov argues that the West should be ratcheting up the pressure, even if it means a new Cold War.

“You fear the Cold War, but you won it!” he said. “And now you allow this dragon to grow new heads. I absolutely don’t understand why you are doing this.”