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英文解釈の思考プロセス 第175回


今回の題材は、2017年4月10日付の The New York Times 紙に掲載された、ギャル・ベッカーマン氏によるエッセイ、How Soviet Dissidents Ended 70 Years of Fake News  ”ソ連の反体制派は如何にして70年に及ぶニュース捏造を終わらせたのか”  です。ロシア革命から100周年を迎えた本年、そのロシア革命の歴史的意義について考察するシリーズの第5回となります。全文の和訳はオリジナルの次にあります。

The Opinion Pages

How Soviet Dissidents Ended 70 Years of Fake News


Gal Beckerman




Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990. Credit V. Armand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the summer of 1990, at a fulcrum moment when his country was tipping from reform to dissolution, Mikhail S. Gorbachev spoke to Time magazine and declared, “I detest lies.” It was a revolutionary statement only because it came from the mouth of a Soviet leader.

On the surface, he was simply embracing his own policy of glasnost, the new openness introduced alongside perestroika, the restructuring of the Soviet Union’s command economy that was meant to rescue the country from geopolitical free-fall. Mr. Gorbachev was wagering that truthful and unfettered expression — a press able to criticize and investigate, history books without redacted names, and honest, accountable government — just might save the creaking edifice of Communist rule.

For the Soviet leader, glasnost was “a blowtorch that could strip the layers of old and peeling paint from Soviet society,” wrote the Baltimore Sun’s Moscow correspondent (and now Times reporter) Scott Shane in “Dismantling Utopia: How Information Ended the Soviet Union.” “But the Communist system proved dry tinder.”

We in the West have always praised Mr. Gorbachev for his courage in taking this gamble — even though he lost an empire in the process — but he did it under pressure. The idea that a better relationship with facts might be liberating for a corrupt and ailing Soviet Union was not new. Mr. Gorbachev was echoing and appropriating the arguments of a dissident movement that, for decades, had made an insistence on truth its essential form of resistance.

If the Soviet Union was the 20th century’s greatest example of a regime that used propaganda and information to control and contain its citizens — 70 years of fake news! — the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution is an important moment to appreciate how it also produced a powerful countercurrent in the civil society undergrounds of Moscow and Leningrad.

True internal pushback against the Soviet regime began to emerge only in the 1960s, at the moment when the political temperature inside Russia was moving from post-Stalinist thaw back to chilly. The suppressions began with the trial of the satirical writers Yuli Daniel and Andrei Sinyavsky in early 1966. As protests and further trials followed, the dissidents were faced with an interesting dilemma: how to fight back most effectively in light of the information that was coming their way. Almost daily, they would hear the details of interrogations, stories passed around about life in the labor camps, and the drumbeat of searches and arrests.

The dissidents could have presented their own form of propaganda, hyping the persecution and turning that rich Soviet lexicon of “hooligans” and “antisocial elements” into bitter screeds against the state itself. But they didn’t. They chose instead to communicate it all as dispassionately and clinically as possible. They reached for what we might call objectivity.

Generations of Soviet citizens had trained themselves to think of factuality as a highly relative concept. The newspapers were read as a narrative meant to glorify the state and not as a reflection of reality. And people likewise felt split into authentic private selves that often had nothing to do with their public faces and utterances.

Given how much of Soviet society was built on this decadeslong duplicity, it is remarkable and reassuring that speaking truly and plainly still held such power for the dissidents by the 1960s. But it did. To hear Lyudmila Alexeyeva, one of the early organizers of a key underground journal engaged in this fact-gathering, A Chronicle of Current Events, describe it, the attraction was almost religious:

“For each of us who worked for the Chronicle, it meant to pledge oneself to be faithful to the truth, it meant to cleanse oneself of the filth of double-think, which has pervaded every phase of Soviet life,” she wrote. “The effect of the Chronicle is irreversible. Each one of us went through this alone, but each of us knows others who went through this moral rebirth.”

In its meticulous commitment to holding the Soviet Union accountable to its own laws and international treaties, A Chronicle of Current Events represented also a rebirth of civil society. It was a small community, and one that existed entirely on the onion-skin-thin pages of samizdat, the illegal, self-published writing of the dissidents, but this was where they could act as citizens, witnessing and reporting on violations of human and civil rights.

The Chronicle worked in a straightforward way. Issues were produced in Moscow and then passed from hand-to-hand. If someone had some piece of information to circulate, she could write it down on a slip of paper and pass it on to the person from whom she received her copy of the journal, who in turn would then keep it going along the chain. At the source were editors like Natalya Gorbanevskaya, the journal’s first “compiler,” as they preferred to call themselves. Eventually arrested by the state security agency, the K.G.B., in 1969, she was locked up in a psychiatric institution until 1972.

Over some 65 issues, from 1968 to 1983, the Chronicle became a catalog of abuses, noted in the most sparse, neutral tone possible. It was a painstaking effort to publish information that could never be obtained through the official Soviet media. Here, a citizen could read the details of closed political trials and the stories of what the Chronicle called “extrajudicial persecution,” understand what a K.G.B. search entailed, read secret documents meant only for those in power, learn about the constant religious and cultural persecution and get updates on political prisoners in the East.

This was self-consciously an attempt to create a valid and verifiable news source. The Chronicle demanded that its contributors be “careful and accurate” with any information they passed along and even ran regular corrections to previous items (pioneering a practice some Western media organizations only adopted years later). As the scholar of Soviet dissidence Peter Reddaway, writing in 1972, put it, “the Chronicle’s aim is openness, non-secretiveness, freedom of information and expression. All these notions are subsumed in the one Russian word, glasnost.”

This was in direct opposition to the diktat the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin had issued for newspapers, back in pre-revolutionary Russia in 1901. The press was to be “not only a collective propagandist and collective agitator, but also a collective organizer” — a tool, in other words, for shoring up the power of the state. For the compiler Alexeyeva, the Chronicle represented something very different and without precedent in the Soviet Union: “A source of honest information about the hidden layers of our society.”

The K.G.B. did not take kindly to this business, and Gorbanevskaya was only the first of many editors to be arrested and imprisoned. By the 1970s, though, this fact-based evidence-gathering had become the central modus operandi of the dissidents, especially among its most prominent figures like Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet physicist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. These were men and women who, in some cases, were professionally inclined toward facts — many of them were scientists, a vocation they adopted, even before they embraced dissidence, out of a conscious effort to move away from any field that could be distorted by Communist ideology.

In 1975, the Soviet Union, thinking it was outsmarting the West, signed on to the Helsinki Final Act. The pact offered international recognition of its territorial gains following World War II, but it also demanded adherence to international human rights norms. Moscow dissidents saw this as an opportunity: They could use this commitment against the apparatchiks, by claiming the right to publish every violation.

The Moscow Helsinki Watch Group, as the monitoring organization became known, followed the style of the Chronicle, producing a range of reports, all scrupulously researched and running sometimes to hundreds of pages. Among the first were investigations of the persecution of Crimean Tatars and the poor caloric intake of prisoners. The reports were delivered to Western embassies, as well as circulated in samizdat form. Soon, copycat watchdog groups popped up in other Eastern bloc countries, and even in the United States. The one based in New York, Helsinki Watch, became the organization we know today as Human Rights Watch.

Did this underground quest for truth based on scrupulous, objective reporting hasten the downfall of the Soviet Union?

That is hard to say, since so many other factors, economic ones especially, also contributed to the collapse of Russian communism in the late 1980s. But it did impact the way the Soviet Union ended. Unlike China, which also faced a major challenge to its authority in 1989, the Soviet Union could not hope to reform itself through perestroika alone. As Mr. Gorbachev’s adoption of the word “glasnost” conceded, there had to be change in civil society as well.

The dissidents had created an expectation that a different kind of language was possible, one that expressed a reality not filtered through Soviet imperatives. They craved honesty and transparency in a country where even the suicide rate was considered a state secret. Samizdat provided the outlet.

And facts, relentlessly stacked one on top of another, became the dissidents’ way of building the different Russia they hoped might one day emerge and overcome all the lying.

Gal Beckerman is the author of “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone,” a history of the Soviet Jewry movement, and a forthcoming book on social media before the internet.

This is an essay in the series Red Century, about the history and legacy of communism 100 years after the Russian Revolution.

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< 全文和訳例 >


表面的には、彼は単に、ソヴィエト社会主義共和国連邦の地政学的低下傾向に歯止めをかける為の構造改革として、ペレストロイカ(政治改革、刷新)と伴に導入された新たな情報公開政策である、グラスノスチについて抱負を述べていたに過ぎません。ゴルバチョフ氏は、真実と政府の検閲に束縛されない表現 ― 政府を批判し調査出来る報道機関、人物が改変されていない歴史書、そして誠実で説明責任を果たす政府 ― こそが機能不全に陥っていた巨大な共産主義国家を救う可能性があると請負ました。

ゴルバチョフ書記長にとって、グラスノスチは、”ソ連の社会から、古くなり落剥しつつあった表層を剥がすことの出来る(溶接用の)トーチランプ” である、とボルティモア・サン紙のモスクワ特派員(現在はニューヨーク・タイムズ紙の記者)であったスコット・シェインは、彼の著作  ”Dsimantling Utopia(ユートピアの解体):How Information Ended Soviet Union (如何にして情報がソ連の終焉をもたらしたのか)において記しました。”しかし、共産主義は発火性でした(表層を剥がすのではなく、本体自体が燃焼してしまった)。”

我々の様な西欧の人間は、ゴルバチョフ氏が勇気を持って一か八かのギャンブルに出たことを常に称賛してきましたが ― 彼は、その過程でソ連という帝国を喪失させたにせよ ― 彼はそれを大いなるプレッシャーの下で遂行したのです。事実に対して良好な関係を築くことが、腐敗し苦悩するソ連を解放するかも知れないという考えは、それ以前から存在していました。ゴルバチョフ氏は、過去の数十年に渡り事実にこだわる姿勢を抵抗の最も重要な形態としてきた、反政府活動の主張を模倣し追従していたのでした。

もし、ソ連が、市民を統制し封じ込める目的でプロパガンダと情報を活用した政体の、20世紀における最も素晴らしい事例であるならば ― 70年に及ぶニュース捏造の歴史 ― ボルシェヴィキ革命(10月革命)から100周年となる本年は、その反動的政体が、如何にしてモスクワやレニングラード(現在のサンクトペテルブルク)の地下組織において強力な逆流(反政府活動)をも生み出したのかについて理解する重要な時期となるのです。




ソヴィエト社会の大半の部分がこの数十年に及ぶ二重性の上に構築されてきたこと考慮すると、1960年代に入った時点においても、真実を率直に語るということが、尚も反体制派の間で力を失っていなかったことは注目すべきであり、安堵の気持ちを抱かせます。しかし、実際にそうだったのです。この事実の収集に専念した主要な地下出版誌の一つである、クロニクル・オブ・カレント・イヴェント(A Chronicle of Current Event) の初期の編集者である、リュドミラ・アレクセーエワに当時の話を聞くと、その活動の魅力はあたかも宗教的と言えるレベルに達していました:



クロニクル誌は、シンプルな方法で機能していました。冊子はモスクワで発行され、手渡しで流通して行きました。もし、皆に伝えたい情報を持つ人がいれば、その者は、紙の切れ端にそれを書いて、クロニクル誌を直接手渡してくれた者に委ね、それ以降、発行元に向かい逆の順序で伝達されました。発行元には、自らは”編纂者” と称することを好んだナタリア・ゴルバネフスカヤの様な編集者達がいました。1969年に、彼女は終にソ連の国家保安機関であるK・G・Bに逮捕され、1972年まで精神病院に幽閉されました。

1968年から1983年にかけて、およそ65巻が発行されたクロニクル誌は、可能な限り客観的かつ中立的な立場で記載された人権侵害のカタログとなりました。政府の公式なメディアからは絶対に入手出来ない情報を暴露することは、神経をすり減らす作業でした。このクロニクル誌を読むことで、一般の市民は、非公式の政治裁判、クロニクル誌が、”裁判を受ける機会を与えられない当局による迫害” と呼んだ一連の人権侵害の詳細を知り、K・G・Bによる捜査はどの様な結果を伴うのかを理解し、権力者専用の報告書を読み、絶え間ざる宗教的、文化的迫害についての知識を得、他の東欧諸国における政治犯に関する最新情報を知ることが出来たのです。

これは、正統かつ検証可能なニュース源を創設しようという自らの意識に根差した企てでした。クロニクル誌は、その協力者達に、彼らが提供する情報は何であれ ”念入りな取材と事実の正確性” を要求し、以前に掲載した記事を(新たに判明した事実に基づいて)定期的に訂正していました(西欧のいくつかの主要メディアでさえ、それを実施するのは数年後となった習慣の先駆者となりました)。ソ連の反政府活動の研究をしている学者であるピーター・レダウェイが1972年の著作で述べた様に、”クロニクル誌の目的は、率直性、秘密性の排除、及び、情報の流通と表現の自由でした。これら全てが、ロシア語の単語である、グラスノスチ(情報公開)という上位の概念に包摂されます。”

この点については、革命に先立つ1901年に、ボルシェヴィキのリーダーだったウラディミール・レーニンが新聞に一方的、独善的な声明を発していたことと対照的になっています。レーニンにとって報道機関は、集合体としての宣伝媒体、扇動者、そしてボルシェヴィキの勧誘員”  ― 換言すると、国家の総力を結集する為のツール ― となるべき存在でした。情報編纂者のアレクセーエワにとって、クロニクル誌は、ソ連においてこれまでとは全く違う、そして前例のない活動の象徴でした:即ち、”我々の社会の隠された部分についての誠実な情報源” なのです。

K・G・Bはこの仕事に好意的になるはずもなく、ゴルバネフスカヤは、逮捕され投獄された編集者の内の最初の一人に過ぎませんでした。もっとも、1970年代までには、この様な事実に立脚した証拠の収集は、とりわけ1975年にノーベル平和賞を受賞した理論物理学者のアンドレイ・サハロフの様な、最も著名な反体制派の知識人の間における中心的な活動となっていました。これらの反体制派の男女の知識人の多くは、いくつかの事例では仕事柄事実に立脚することに傾倒していました ― その多くは科学者でしたが、その職業は、反政府活動に身を投じる以前でさえ、何であれ共産主義の教義によって歪曲され得る分野から遠ざかろうとする意識的な努力によって選択した天職でした。




経済情勢を含む他の多くの要素も1980年代末のロシア共産主義の崩壊に貢献したこともあり、この疑問に答えることは困難です。しかし、それがソ連終焉の態様に影響を与えたことは事実です。1989年に一党支配体制への大規模な抗議活動に直面した中国とは異なり、当時のソ連はペレストロイカ(政治改革)だけでは国家全体の変容を望むことは不可能でした。ゴルバチョフ氏が採用した ”グラスノスチ” という言葉が暗示している様に、市民社会も刷新される必要がありました。



To be continued.