Friday, April 14, 2006

# Posted 10:22 AM by Patrick Porter  

CHEERED BY THE MORNING STAR: As a Soviet political prisoner, Natan Sharansky found inspiration in an unlikely source from his school days. He had regularly bought and read The Morning Star, an English-language Communist daily newspaper. The Soviets permitted their citizens to read the paper because they approved of the content of its dissent, namely its criticism of the democratic and capitalist world. For Sharansky, however, it was the fact of dissent that mattered most:
its effect would be highly subversive. What left a lasting impression was not the content of the criticism but the very fact that people outside the Soviet Union were free to criticise their own government without going to prison. The stronger the criticism, the more impressed I was by the degree of freedom enjoyed elsewhere.
(Natan Sharansky, The Case for Democracy, 2004, xii).
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That's great, thanks for the quote. I once read (and just tried to confirm through google and can't, dammit!) that when The Grapes of Wrath came out as a movie, Stalin allowed it to be shown in the USSR because he thought it would show the Russian people the suffering caused by capitalism. Instead they were amazed that, in the US, even the poorest of the poor had cars.
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