(p. B11) Yuri Orlov, a Soviet physicist and disillusioned former Communist who publicly held Moscow accountable for failing to protect the rights of dissidents and was imprisoned and exiled for his own apostasy, died on Sunday [September 27, 2020] at his home in Ithaca, N.Y.
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A credulous Communist Party member since college, Professor Orlov began having doubts about the party based on a growing foreboding under Stalin over what he later described as “slavery without private property.” He was further alienated by the subsequent Soviet repression of civil liberties movements in Hungary and what he called the “savage suppressions of workers’ unrest” in Czechoslovakia.
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In 1956, after publicly advocating democratic socialism, Professor Orlov was fired as a research physicist at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics and expelled from the Communist Party. In 1973, in a letter to Leonid Brezhnev, the general secretary of the party, he denounced the stultifying effect of repression on scientific research and presciently proposed “glasnost,” or openness, long before that word was in common use.
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Professor Orlov was arrested in 1977 and, after a show trial, sentenced to seven years in a labor camp, followed by five years in Siberian exile, for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.”
For the full obituary, see:
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Oct. 1, 2020, and has the title “Yuri Orlov, Bold Champion of Soviet Dissidents, Dies at 96.”)