Captive Nations Week - Third Week in July
(Last Updated On: November 9, 2022)


During the third week in July each year, we bring awareness to Captive Nations Week. This observance raises public awareness about oppression in communist nations across the world.

During the Cold War, a captive nation was any nation under communist domination, primarily Soviet rule. Even though the Soviet Empire no longer exists, there are still many oppressed nations around the world today. In fact, countries like China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba still rule with an iron fist. Unfortunately, those who live under communist regimes are not given the choice to leave. Because of this, it’s important to keep dialogue open, especially during the entire week.

Well-known anti-communist advocate Lev E Dobriansky (1918-2008) receives credit for creating the language for this week’s observance, respectively. As the son of Ukrainian immigrants, Dobriansky spent his life advocating freedom for people under communist rule. His extensive career consisted of U.S. ambassador, distinguished professor of economics, prolific writer, renowned lecturer, and a global strategist, respectively. On July 17, 1959, he created text that was later became Public Law 86-90. This law would eventually translated into Captive Nations Week.

Learn about #CaptiveNationsWeek

Educate yourself on communist nations. Start by visiting Oxford University Press’s blog, then expand your knowledge by viewing the official proclamation on the Federal Registrar’s Office website.

Share your support for this important week by using #CaptiveNationsWeek as you continue the conversation with others online.


Captive Nations Week was declared by a Congressional resolution and signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, during the Cold War. The law not only compels every President to proclaim the third week of July as Captive Nations Week, but it also encourages Americans to show support “with appropriate ceremonies and activities, demonstrating America’s support for those who seek national independence, liberty, and human rights.”

Although many countries have since been removed from the original list, Public Law 86-90 referred to the following nations living under communist rule:

  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Lithuania
  • Ukraine
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • White Ruthenia
  • Romania
  • East Germany
  • Bulgaria
  • Mainland China
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia
  • North Korea
  • Albania
  • Idel-Ural
  • Tibet
  • Cossackia
  • Turkestan
  • North Vietnam


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