In the early years of the America’s existence, the party in charge at the time, the Federalists, passed two very infamous acts into law. The Alien and Sedition Acts were created to try to save the Federalist’s image. The press at the time was not saying the best things about the party, criticizing many of their actions at the time. This was one of the first attempts to censor the press in American history. These acts would not last long due to all of the backlash since it directly opposed the very foundations that made America. Russia’s history with censorship is very different of that from the United States.
On February 11, 1966, Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuly Daniel were put on trial for breaking “crimes specified in Part I of Art. 70 of the Russian Republic Criminal Code, charged with anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.” Both Sinyavsky and Daniel for years wrote under pseudonyms agsinst the Sviet Government. Under Abram Tertz and one Nikolai Arzhak, the two wrote very popular books abroad about the “truth about the USSR.” An artickle titled “From the Courtroom: SLANDERERS” briefly talks about their writing history which “immediately attracted the attention of bourgeois ideological circles.” The article goes on to speak about,” the harm they have done our state, party, people and literature.”
The article was very critical about the image the two authors created internationally. Obviously, the 60’s was not a nice time for Russia’s international relations. 62 itself had both the Cuban Missile crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall. These authors big works were published in 1956 and 1961, and both times did not help Russia either. The U2 crisis erupted in 1960! Around all of these critical times, these two men were making it worse by spreading “lies” throughout the world. These writings may have been true, but obviously, the Russian government saw it as libel.
So why is this such a big deal? Censorship has been present in Russia for years up till 1966. But Under Brezhnev’s regime, the constant persecution of groups shifted to the Intelligentsia. Brezhnev used the KGB’s “prophylactically” to intimidate these artists and writer from not producing Anti-Soviet products. This time of Russia’s history saw the greatest time of exile towards the Intelligentsia. Famous Russian names like Alesksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky were among this group. But something unique to these people were that they flocked to the United States more than any other exiled group before them. These people, educated Russians with Anti-Soviet minds, were valuable to the West. They would help the West combat the Soviet ideals while the Soviets would use newspapers like this article to combat the ways of the West. But these exiles were just one example of Brezhnev’s growing war against “expression.”
Freeze p. 437
Barker, Adele. The Russian Reader. p. 572
Russian Digest: http://dlib.eastview.com/browse/doc/13762269