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European Solidarity with Chile – 1970s – 1980s

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Edited By Kim Christiaens, Idesbald Goddeeris and Magaly Rodríguez García

The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and the coming to power of a military regime led by Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973 drew worldwide attention towards Chile. The political repression shook the world and ignited one of the largest social movements of the 1970s and 80s. Hundreds of solidarity committees and a gamut of human rights and justice organizations mobilized thousands of people. This volume offers a compelling insight into the exceptional impact that the Chilean crisis made in Western and Eastern Europe. In doing so, it provides a new and broader perspective into the history of the Cold War, transnational activism, and human rights.
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The Soviet Union: ‘Chile is in Our Hearts.’ Practices of Solidarity between Propaganda, Curiosity, and Subversion

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Yulia Gradskova

The Soviet Union was among the countries that immediately after the military coup in Chile in 1973 protested against the new regime and advocated international solidarity with those fighting Pinochet.1 The solidarity campaign continued through the entire period of the authoritarian regime in Chile (up to the democratic elections in 1989) and ended with the period of glasnost and perestroika - the period of political openness and reforms indicating the sunset of the Soviet regime. Soviet solidarity with Chile was from the beginning a state-led campaign, portrayed by the state propaganda as enjoying the unanimous support of the Soviet people. While now one would be skeptical of any ‘unanimous’ and ‘unconditional’ support from the general Soviet population, the question of how to assess the involvement of citizens in solidarity with Chile, as well as what solidarity meant to its (in)voluntary participants seems to be more complex and in need of investigation. Indeed, it is easy to suppose that, like many other official propaganda campaigns and slogans constructed from above,2 the campaign for Chile provoked feelings, actions, and results that went beyond those planned by the Soviet authorities.

Historians of communism and the Cold War have extensively analyzed the Soviet Union’s attempts to expand its military and economic influence over countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, including the ideological justification of these moves by references to ‘proletarian internationalism.’ According to Archie Brown, from 1955 the international department of the Central...

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