Among the many documents released one way or another during the early 1990s, there are two that open the window into the perception of samizdat by the top Soviet authorities. The first of them was signed by Yuri Andropov, then the head of the KGB, in the last days of December 1970. It was a memo addressed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union reporting on the status of samizdat in the country and suggesting some practical steps that would diminish the spread and impact of uncontrolled publications in the USSR. The second document, dated in the last days of April 1971, was compiled in response to Andropov's memo. It was a statement by the Central Committee regarding samizdat. The Central Committee document for the most part accepted the KGB recommendations but took a broader view of the samizdat phenomenon and for the first time offered a definition of samizdat, which was missing in the KGB memo. The differences between the two documents allow a glimpse of their respective institutional thinking about samizdat. Andropov's document implied that the samizdat phenomenon was so widespread that the repressive apparatus could not cope with it in the framework of its current charter. In response, the Central Committee document expanded the responsibility of the party apparatus with respect to suppression of uncontrolled publications.
Research Article|March 01 2009
Samizdat according to Andropov
Poetics Today (2009) 30 (1): 89-106.
Alexander Gribanov, Masha Kowell; Samizdat according to Andropov. Poetics Today 1 March 2009; 30 (1): 89–106. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2008-004
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