A lesson for our times: Tatiana Plyushch, the woman who faced down the KGB


Were it not for his wife Tatiana, Ukrainian mathematician and Soviet dissident Leonid Plyushch would almost certainly never have survived the special psychiatric hospital were he was locked up in 1973. Thanks to her endless, uncompromising campaigning, aided by strong international support, this Ukrainian intellectual eventually forced the Soviet regime to give way, and Leonid Plyushch and his family were freed into exile in January 1976. Leonid died in 2015 but Tatiana Plyushch still lives in their adopted village in the south of France, where Mediapart's François Bonnet went to meet her.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

The history of Soviet dissidents still speaks to us today. Theirs is not some long-forgotten tale from a world which vanished when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. For their story stands as a lesson, or at least a possible instruction manual, for people who continue to fight for basic rights in Russia, Turkey, China, Algeria and many other countries.