Jonathan Waterlow

Jonathan Waterlow is the author of ‘It’s Only a Joke, Comrade! Humour, Trust and Everyday Life under Stalin'.

The grim roots of ‘refusenik’

‘Vaccine refusenik’ is the latest catchphrase used to disparage anyone unwilling — for whatever reason — to roll up their sleeve for a Covid shot. Few are aware, however, that the word ‘refusenik’ could hardly be less fitting. The term ‘refusenik’ (the anglicised version of the Russian otkaznik), which spread across the globe in the