Igor Aleksandrovich Dashkevich was a political activist from Saint Petersburg who was involved in establishing independent trade unions and independent political and trade union publications during and immediately after the collapse of the Soviet system.
His papers include personal and biographical documents, correspondence, and published and unpublished manuscripts. The collection documents the changing nature of samizdat publishing during the final years of Soviet rule and the emergence of an independent press, with a wealth of materials on dissident life in Leningrad in the 1980s, reflected in memoirs, interviews, samizdat publications, and other documents collected by Dashkevich. As representative of the AFL-CIO in Saint Petersburg from 1993 to 1996, Dashkevich played an important role in uniting independent labor unions in the mid-1990s: so many had sprung up by that time that no one could keep track of them. Through his periodical, Nezavisimyi rabochii vestnik (Independent Worker’s Herald), Dashkevich maintained contact with those trade unions and published a field guide to them, making it possible for their leaders to contact one another other and seek ways to create a united labor front in Saint Petersburg. The collection also includes information on workers’ protests in the early 1990s, including Saint Petersburg teachers’ strikes (1991-92). Another side of his activity is seen in the materials relating to the Rubicon Library as he attempted to document the newly burgeoning free press and publications by independent organizations and preserve their printed material in Western libraries. The latest documents in the collection relate to Dashkevich’s arrest for participating in political protests in 2007.