Samizdat

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Template:Alternateuses Samizdat (self-published, in Russian самиздат) was a grassroots strategy to evade officially imposed censorship in the Soviet-bloc countries wherein people clandestinely copied and distributed government-suppressed literature or other media. The idea was that copies were made a few at a time, and anyone who had a copy and access to any sort of copying equipment was encouraged to make more copies.

The term was coined in an analogy with the names of Soviet publishing houses, such as Politizdat (Politicheskoe izdatelstvo, Политиздат, Государственное издательство политической литературы, State Publishing House of Political Literature), Detizdat (literature for children), etc.

Etymologically, the word "samizdat" is made out of "sam" (сам, "self") and "izdat" (издательство, izdatel'stvo, "publisher").

Essentially, the samizdat copies of text, such as Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita, were passed from one person to another. The techniques used to print the forbidden literature and newspapers varied from copying the content by hand in several copies using carbon paper to printing the books on semi-professional printing presses in large quantities. Before Glasnost, the practice was dangerous, since copy machines, printing presses and even typewriters in offices were under control of the First Departments (KGB outposts): for all of them reference printouts were stored for identification purposes.

Even today there are writers who publish in samizdat, for example Jan Galka.

In Poland during the 1970s and 1980s several books (sometimes as long as 500 pages) were printed in quantities often exceeding 5000 copies.

Related concepts

Magnitizdat refers to the passing on of taped sound recordings (magnit- alluding to the magnetic tape), often of "underground" music groups, bards or lectures.

Tamizdat refers to literature published abroad (там, "tam" means "there"), often on the basis of smuggled manuscripts.

See also

eo:Samizdato fr:Samizdat it:Samizdat pl:samizdat lt:Samizdat

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