The political outlook of Natan Sharansky developed within the old Soviet Union such that he
considered that the two hundred million inhabitants of that country formed the core population of a
doctrinaire empire where the peoples involved were effectively slaves.
Sharansky held the view that the Soviet Union could not possibly hope to keep pace with the technological,
economic, or scientific developments that had been taking place in the West but that it had been
effectively supported by western governments seeking to appease the Soviet Union in the interests of peace
rather than attempting to force it to compete with the West.
Hopes were raised for such detainees as Sharansky when they learned from an article in Pravda
or Izvestia that found its way into the prison that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union to be an
Evil Empire before the entire world. Following this proclamation there was a long list of most of
the Western leaders who lined up
to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire but for Sharansky
it was the bright and most glorious day.
Finally a spade had been
called a spade. Finally, Orwell's Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it
impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.
For Sharansky Reagan's Evil Empire speech was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations
of all time and he subsequently saw it as the moment that really marked the end for the Soviet system, and the
beginning for dramatic changes. A lie had been exposed
that could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin's "Great October Bolshevik Revolution" and
the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution - Reagan's Revolution.
Sharansky actually attributes the collapse of the Soviet Union not to Ronald Reagan alone but to three men who brought
moral clarity to the conflict and started the chain of events which led to the end of Soviet communism.
These men were Andrei Sakharov whose dissidence encouraged those amongst the Russian people who were
dissatified with the Soviet system, Senator "Scoop" Jackson who helped the American government to end its
appeasive co-operation with the Soviet system whilst Ronald Reagan on behalf of the American people
encouraged greater moral clarity in the world and thus in
to the Soviet Union.
A policy of linkage had effectively been created that insisted that international relations
and human rights
must be linked. That insisted that how a government treats its own people cannot be separated from how that government
could be expected to treat other countries. That how governments honor commitments they make at home will
show the world how they will honor their commitments abroad.
Sharansky holds that it was a
linkage of international relations and human rights that worked to bring down the greatest,
most totalitarian empire in all history and continues to hope that it can surely work today against enemies
no less dangerous
but far less powerful.
"The two most important things that can be done to promote democracy in
the world is first, to bring moral clarity back to world affairs and second,
to link international policies to the advance of democracy around the globe."
"When we are unwilling to draw clear moral lines between free societies
and fear societies, when we are unwilling to call the former good and the
latter evil, we will not be able to advance the cause of peace because peace
cannot be disconnected from freedom."
Return to start of
Natan Sharansky Political Outlook page