In addition to the major uprisings in Eastern Europe, there was widespread unobtrusive, indirect, symbolic and in some periods open dissent and protest in both the USSR itself and Eastern Europe. Indeed opposition within the bloc provides a very wide range of tactics, for a variety of causes, used by very different types of people: disaffected youth, students, dissident intellectuals, artists and scientists, workers, farmers, oppressed nationalities, religious believers, reformist Communists, prisoners and families of the unjustly persecuted. The rigorous censorship of news and communications sparked extensive use of samizdat (underground news sheets, essays and artistic works, often typed and re-typed when passed around). Reformers in the 1950s and 1960s often worked from within officially-sanctioned writers’ unions, scientific bodies, student unions and worker unions and churches, but from the 1970s there was also a proliferation of autonomous organizations from below – such as the ‘Flying University’ in Poland. This development was celebrated by East European intellectuals as the creation of a ‘parallel polis’ or the evolution of vibrant civil society.
Our earlier bibliography – People Power and Protest since 1945 – provided detailed references for each country. Here we have restricted references to a revised list of comparative studies.