"The Yuri Orlov File" (National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 482 )


White House video of Yuri Orlov's meeting with President Reagan, October 7, 1986

Commemorating Yuri Orlov's 90th birth on August 13, the National Security Archive at George Washington University and the Memorial Society in Moscow have posted Electronic Briefing Book No. 482.  This extensive collection of formerly secret Soviet and U.S. documents includes the first English-language translation of his historic 1956 speech at his physics institute in Moscow, his 1976 founding of the Moscow Helsinki Group, and previously unreleased video of Orlov's White House meeting with President Ronald Reagan in 1986.  (Hat tip to H-Diplo).

Orlov's proiminence and the repressions that followed led his fate to be a key concern for successive US administrations.  As Christian Philip Peterson discusses in his article, "The Carter Administration and the Promotion of Human Rights in the Soviet Union, 1977–1981" in the current issue of Diplomatic History (June 2014), "Deifying diplomatic conventions against naming specific names, U.S. delegates described how the Soviet government’s imprisonment of dissenters such as Yuri Orlov and Ukrainian Helsinki monitors proved its inability to tolerate nongovernmental activities sanctioned by the Final Act."  Arrested by the KGB in February 1977 and then deported from the Soviet Union in 1986, Orlov would be received at the White House by President Reagan only days after his arrival in the US, as shown in the video embedded on this page from the National Security Archive YouTube channel.

Geographical Area: 
Soviet Union