The Soviet Union formed in 1922 after the Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian Provisional Government, which had lasted about eight months after the eradication of the Russian Empire. The Iron Curtain was placed in 1945 at the end of World War II and was lifted in 1991. According to Gal Beckerman, author of “Hijacking Their Way Out of Tyranny”, the Iron Curtain was an attempt to disguise Russia’s “orthodox communism” as a perfect utopia and to silence the voice of its citizens. “…[If] the Bolsheviks had built the perfect society, why would any well-adjusted citizens want to leave, let alone risk their lives to do so?”. Beckerman writes, “Jews were understandably at the forefront of the emigration battle. Even as they were forbidden to exercise any kind of Jewish identity, they also had no option to assimilate in Soviet society… But the doors were firmly shut; those who requested permission to leave were refused and then ostracized.” Yosef Mendelevich “attracted the eyes of the world” after his failed attempt to commandeer a plain and fly it to Sweden in order to leave Russia and move to Israel. He knew of the possibility of failure but decided that even if he was caught, it would be worth it to have brought the attention of other nations onto this issue. According to Beckerman, Mendelevich’s attempt to defy his government was the beginning to the end of so many people’s suffering. Gradually, more and more Jews were allowed to leave The Soviet Union until eventually, the Iron Curtain fell apart completely. Beckerman demonstrates how Mendelevich was a hero of sorts by risking his life to free himself and many others. In Xenophon’s Constitution Of The Laecidaemonians he writes; “[At] Sparta the most important men show the utmost deference to the magistrates: they pride themselves on their humility, on running instead of walking to answer any call, in the belief that, if they lead, the rest will follow along the path of eager obedience.” (8;2). In contrast to Beckerman, the act of defying one’s government is not something Xenophon approves of. He believes that authority must be revered and honored. I think I live in the same society as the author because I share his appreciation of defying a tyrannical government in order to free its people.
Beckerman, Gal. “Hijacking their way out of tyranny.” New York Times, 18 June 2010, p. A29(L). New York State Newspapers, login.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=SPN.SP01&sw=w&u=nysl_me_brookcol&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA229195999&it=r&asid=e36c4d77ec527c3fa0589eefd361f674. Accessed 17 Sept. 2017.