The Universe behind Barbed Wire

Reflections on the Human Rights Movement in Soviet Ukraine
Panels and Discussions

In the 1970s, the notion of human rights transformed the landscape of dissent in the Soviet Union. Buoyed by the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975, dissidents embraced this new framework, holding the Soviet regime to account and asserting their right to live in such a way that their outer conduct reflected their inner convictions. The regime found this new challenge to the worldview it sought to impose on its citizens deeply threatening and responded with harsh repressive measures, including the arrest of many of the movement's leaders. 

Myroslav Marynovych was a founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and spent a decade in the Soviet penal system because of his involvement in the human rights movement. To mark the publication of the English translation of his memoirs, Marynovych and Timothy Snyder discussed what it means to live in freedom, how human rights relate to national expression, and the legacy of the Soviet-era human rights movement in contemporary Ukraine. 

Myroslav Marynovych is a Ukrainian social and political activist and commentator. He is Vice-Rector for University Mission at Ukrainian Catholic University. 

In discussion with Timothy Snyder, IWM Permanent Fellow. 

Moderated by Katherine Younger, Ukraine in European Dialogue Research Director.