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Banned books in Russia

A presentation about censorship in the soviet union

Jem Drennan

on 25 February 2013

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Transcript of Banned books in Russia

In the late 80s the censorship officially ended
The books from the Spetskhran were put back in libraries
People are able to have more freedom of speech in their literature
“In the library I'm working in, it was a physical action of opening the doors of the department, which in former days used to be 'for official use only'” 9 Post censorship “The simple fact is that the Soviet power has brought the work of the spetskhrans as mechanisms of censorship to perfection with the spetskhran functioning like clockwork and with special collections of prohibited books accessible to a very restricted number of persons built up within libraries.” 8
In russian Spetskhran is spelt Спецхран (which sounds exactly the same) The Spetskhran (cont.) The Spetskhran was a place where “harmful” or “offensive” books were kept
Books that were “ideologically dangerous” were taken there, also secret or private documents were kept at the Spetskhran.
To access the Spetskhran you needed to write for special permission, which is still very difficult.
The Spetskhran was kept secret, no one spoke about or really knew about it. The Spetskhran Because of the harsh censorship, the selection in libraries were very limited, you couldn't find any good books
You wouldn't be allowed to read ANY books that were in any way, “harmful”
The stocks in libraries were low (as I said earlier) Effect on Libraries They would burn books in public
They would lock them up in a “special storage” place called the spetskhran
“Also minute 'defects' in seemingly quite innocent books could be placed in the closed storage.” 6
They would look through the books and re-write or take away “offensive” parts
Some books that were from a different country were purposely mistranslated. What kinds of things did they do to censored books? Books can be banned for the following reasons:
Political unreliability of an author
Violence or Terror
Books that are anti soviet
Use of pornography
Use of prohibited subjects
If they contain “themes, subjects, facts, events which caused or might have caused undesirable thoughts, associations or illusions not in favour of the Soviet state” 3 What kind of books were banned? It was so bad, that in the 1930s the stocks in the libraries were reduced by 60% (on top of the stocks lost earlier)
At least 779,579 books were lost due to banning in just one year
They didn't allow any books that were considered “harmful” to communism
“These purges dramatically changed what books could be found at libraries and which ones were censored” 2 How strict was the Censorship? Book banning in russia occurred from about 1917 through the 80s
This happened in the Bolshevist Revolution
This was a time of strict censorship
“Following the formal separation of church and state in 1918, a new, long and extensive era of strict censorship began, now executed by the revolutionary rulers of the USSR, lasting until the end of the 1980s” 1 When did they ban books in Russia? Jem Drennan Banned Books in Soviet Union [1, 6] Russia: Forbidden books and newspapers. Mette Newth, Olsolo 2002.
[2, 4] Censorship of Books in the soviet union from 1920–1940, Tim's Post. Sept 21, 2010
[3, 9] Censorship in the soviet Union and its Cultural and Professional Results for Arts and Art Libraries, Olga Sinitsyna, Moscow, Russia
[5] Wikipedia: Censorship in the Soviet Union http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_the_Soviet_Union
[7, 8] Censorship in the USSR and the Russian State Library; Nadezhda Ryzhak, Russian State Library, Moscow, Russia Citation page It's important to learn about banning in russia because the information has been kept secret for a while, it's come to light
I guess it shows how lucky we are in the united states, we don't have to worry about the government watching over our shoulders all the time Why is it important to learn about censorship in Russia? Writers couldn't really have freedom of speech in their books
They had to constantly worry whether their books will be taken away to the spetskhran
They couldn't express their feelings about how communism was effecting everyone in a negative way
“The Glavlit composed an authors’ list embracing 651 names. All writings by the authors included in the list were to be completely removed from open stocks of the libraries” 7 Effect on writers In 1932 a book called “Russia Washed in Blood” a book that shows an account of devestation from the October revolution was banned.
“Also, excisions in the 1941 novel ‘Cement’ were made by eliminating Gleb’s spirited exclamation to English sailors: 'Although we’re poverty-stricken and are eating people on account of hunger, all the same we have Lenin’ ” 5 What specific literature was banned? Books and libraries were used as tools of propaganda
Books were used “for the purpose of communism and for party political education work.” 4
They were not for use of enlightenment
They were used to promote and encourage communist thinking. Use of books
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