35 Harv. Int'l. L. J. 461 (1994)
Battling Authoritarianism through Treaty: Soviet Dissent and International Human Rights Regimes

handle is hein.journals/hilj35 and id is 467 raw text is: VOLUME 35, NUMBER 2, SPRING 1994

Battling Authoritarianism Through
Treaty: Soviet Dissent and International
Human Rights Regimes
Michael F. Rinzler*
In the minds of Russians, insufficient distinction exists between
norms of law and norms of ethics; they are mixed together.
-V.V Kistyakovski
Vekhi [Landmarks], 1907
I. INTRODUCTION
On its most general level this Comment examines the utility of
international regimes to dissident movements in nations under authori-
tarian rule.' More specifically, the Comment undertakes a case study
of the interplay of multilateral human rights agreements and group
dissent in the post-Stalin Soviet Union.
The case study is used to survey (1) the aspects of international
regimes that increased their utility to Soviet dissidents and (2) the
characteristics of dissident groups that made them more likely or better
able to exploit existing regimes. The immediate purpose of the study
is to observe the distinctive interaction of selected regimes with a
particular movement at a unique place and time. The more over-arch-
ing (and certainly more normatively driven) goal is to draw implica-
* M.P.P., J.D., Harvard University, Class of 1995. Partial funding for this research was provided
by grants from the Goldsmith Awards Program of the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center for the
Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government
and by the Kennedy School's Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions. Grateful acknow-
ledgement is made as well to the Memorial Society in Moscow, which allowed access to its archive
of dissident literature, and to Professor Abram Chayes of the Harvard Law School, who provided
substantial guidance in the preparation of the original version of this Comment.
1. 1 use the word dissident in this Comment to refer to those who oppose either the form
of rule in a state or its specific policies. This includes the human rights movement, various
national movements (e.g., Crimean Tatars, Jews, Volga Germans), and environmentalists. As will
be discussed below, various individuals and groups sought to associate with or disassociate from
the Soviet dissident movement, and such choices were themselves reflective of their politics.
The word dissident, it is worth noting, entered the Russian language only in the mid-1970s over
Radio Liberty and other foreign sources. Until that time, the word of choice was generally
inakomyslyashchi, otherwise-thinker.

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