This is a book about dissidents and the terminal crisis of Soviet totalitarianism. It seeks to illuminate the ways in which dissidents and their ideas influenced the course of Gorbachev’s reforms, and laid important foundations of a democratic political order. Its central contention is that what happened in dissident circles during Brezhnev’s era of stagnation had a profound impact upon the Russian public mind. On the one hand, dissident defiance of the regime violated long-standing taboos and set new standards of courage. On the other, the samizdat debates of the 1970s formulated new definitions of some of the most contested terms in the lexicon of liberalisation. When the official reformers, the so-called ‘foremen of perestroika,’ extolled the virtues of glasnost or pluralizm, they were appropriating terms that had radical connotations, terms which had been shaped by decades of dissident protest. As Lev Timofeev, who had just been released from the camps, warned in a 1988 samizdat essay: ‘Remember, our esteemed, bold intelligenty, you repeat alien words, whilst continuing to hold under lock and key those who pronounced those words, those who pronounced them at the right time.’1