Vladlen Pavlenkov

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Vladlen Igor Konstantin Pavlenkov (4 May 1929 – 31 January 1990) was a political dissident in the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence, noted for his activities related to Soviet-American postal communications during the Cold War.


He was a decorated soldier in the Soviet Army during World War II, having been given a medal for his volunteer work as a boy during the war. Vladlen Pavlenkov became a history teacher in Soviet-bloc East Germany, but was arrested in 1969, accused of propaganda and agitation. He served seven years in a Soviet labor camp, and upon his release was only able to find work as a street sweeper.

Pavlenkov emigrated to the United States in 1979 and, speaking little English, found work as a security guard. In 1982 he founded the non-profit organization Freedom of Communications Committee (FC), whose aim was to promote personal communications between Americans and Soviets through postal mail, telephone and telegraph.


Through his FC organization, Pavlenkov published Advice to Mailers in both English and Russian, to help ordinary citizens assure that their personal communications were delivered as intended, as well as a periodical newsletter Mail to the USSR. Pavlenkov and his organization were also instrumental in introducing five amendments to the Universal Postal Union Congress of 1984, and four more amendments in 1989.