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My thesis starts by looking at Lenin's interpretation of Marxism. The Leninist ideas of a tangible reality, the rejection of social democratic compromise and the importance of social responsibility as well as personal responsibility for political action. These ideas that facilitated the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia can be paralleled to the ideas later used by anti-government activists. I examine the sociopolitical environment of the Soviet Union following Stalin's death in 1953. With Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin a new era began across the Eastern Bloc. Using Václav Havel and his interpretation of Jan Patočka's phenomenology I create a wide schema for what is, and ultimately what creates a political "dissident." Phenomenology examines the way individuals interpret first person experiences, and what meaning they then apply to those experiences. Arguably the tyrannical environment of the Eastern Bloc shaped its own opposition. I then present the work of several Russian "dissidents" to first show the truly Leninist roots of their work, and then illustrate that this "dissidence" is not a national movement, rather it was shaped by oppression. Thus "dissidents" are forced to politically act because they have learned to from their own history. The foundations of the Bolshevik revolution necessitated radical political action because of an overwhelming social responsibility. The concept of a world unified proletariat revolution can be modernized to a concept of a world wide dissident movement against tyranny.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Russian and East European Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Nina Efimov, Professor Directing Thesis; Lisa Wakamiya, Committee Member; Jonathan Grant, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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