Russian samizdat and photo negatives of unofficial literature
“Samizdat (Russian: самиздат, lit. ‘self-publishing’) was a form of dissident activity across the socialist Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by hand, and passed the documents from reader to reader. The practice of manual reproduction was widespread, because most typewriters and printing devices required official registration and permission to access. This was a grassroots practice used to evade official Soviet censorship. Etymologically, the word samizdat derives from sam (сам, ‘self, by oneself’) and izdat (издат, an abbreviation of издательство, izdatel’stvo, ‘publishing house’), and thus means ‘self-published’. The Ukrainian language has a similar term: samvydav (самвидав), from sam, “self”, and vydavnytstvo, ‘publishing house’. … The techniques used to reproduce these forbidden texts varied. Several copies might be made using carbon paper, either by hand or on a typewriter; at the other end of the scale, mainframe computer printers were used during night shifts to make multiple copies, and books were at times printed on semiprofessional printing presses in much larger quantities. Before glasnost, most of these methods were dangerous, because copy machines, printing presses, and even typewriters in offices were under control of the organization’s First Department (part of the KGB); reference printouts from all of these machines were stored for subsequent identification purposes, should samizdat output be found. … Samizdat originated from the dissident movement of the Russian intelligentsia, and most samizdat directed itself to a readership of Russian elites. While circulation of samizdat was relatively low, at around 200,000 readers on average, many of these readers possessed positions of cultural power and authority. … The first full-length book to be distributed as samizdat was Boris Pasternak‘s 1957 novel Doctor Zhivago. …”
NY Times: Samizdat Is Russia’ Underground Press (March 1970)
Samizdat: How did people in the Soviet Union circumvent state censorship
Russian Newspaper Turns To Samizdat To Reach Readers ‘Poisoned By Propaganda’
Reblogged this on dean ramser.