Saturday, February 16, 2019

Samizdat Played an Important Role Beyond Moscow’s Ring Road, New Book Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 15 – Most histories of samizdat under the Soviets focus on materials produced and disseminated in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but a new study by a Urals historian suggests that samizdat in the regions of the RSFSR was also important as a reflection and catalyst of change in the last decades of Soviet power.

            The full text of the book, Yuliya Rusina’s Samizdat in the USSR (in Russian; Yekaterinburg: Urals University, 2019, 195 pp.), is available on line at   It is reviewed this week by Regnum’s Andrey Martynov (

                The book’s chapter on samizdat in Russian regions, pages 132-172, the reviewer notes, are particularly interesting. There, Rusina finds that student and publicistic periodicals were the most important forms, including the almanac Nashe tvorchestvo which arose in 1946, the journal Vskhody and V poiskakh which appeared a decade later, and the wall newspaper, BOKS.

            Rusina gives details and even texts from these and stresses that they showed that while their authors shared many of the same views as the samizdat producers in Moscow, they also displayed important regional differences reflecting the concerns of people in “the provinces” (Martynov’s term).

            As such, this book deserves to be integrated into studies of samizdat and the evolution of public opinion in Russia in the last decades of Soviet times.

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