On the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain about 200,000 people were involved in the production, distribution and consumption of Samizdat “dissident” literature.
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader.
This grassroots practice to evade official Soviet censorship was fraught with danger, as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials.
Vladimir Bukovsky summarized it as follows:
“Samizdat: I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend jail time for it myself.”
While circulation of samizdat was relatively low, at around 200,000 readers on average, many of these readers possessed positions of cultural power and authority.
On the Western side of the Iron Curtain anything vaguely approaching the definition of a “dissident” idea had to be masked in Satire and Black Comedy.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 political satire black comedy film that satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the USSR and the USA.
Dr. Strangelove takes passing shots at numerous contemporary Cold War attitudes, such as the “missile gap”, but it primarily focuses its satire on the theory of mutual assured destruction (MAD), in which each side is supposed to be deterred from a nuclear war by the prospect of a universal cataclysmic disaster regardless who “won”.
Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement.
Although the West notionally enjoys Freedom of Speech this “freedom” has always had to be exercised with great caution and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law.
Freedom of speech and expression are not absolute, and common limitations to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury.
Blasphemy law is a law limiting the freedom of speech and expression relating to blasphemy, or irreverence toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, or beliefs.
Section 5(3) Criminal Law Act 1977 preserved the common law offence of conspiracy to corrupt public morals or of conspiracy to outrage public decency.
Incitement to racial or ethnic hatred is a crime under the laws of several countries.
Holocaust denial, the denial of the systematic genocidal killing of millions of ethnic minorities in Europe by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, is illegal in 14 European nations.
Generally, in-camera describes court cases, parts of it, or process where the public and press are not allowed to observe the procedure or process.
A publication ban is a court order which prohibits the public or media from disseminating certain details of an otherwise public judicial proceeding.
Anti-terrorism legislation are laws with the purpose of fighting terrorism.
Because of this suspension of regular procedure, such legislation is sometimes criticized as a form of lois scélérates which may unjustly repress all kinds of popular protests.
Critics often allege that anti-terrorism legislation endangers democracy by creating a state of exception that allows authoritarian style of government.
Hate speech is speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation.
In the law of some countries, hate speech is described as speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it incites violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.
Fake news websites (also referred to as hoax news) deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation, using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect.
Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act is a bipartisan bill, introduced to the 114th United States Congress.
The bill said this inter-agency effort should: “counter foreign propaganda and disinformation directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests.”
On December 24, 2016, President Obama signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act into law.
Therefore, even after the fall of the Iron Curtain the Western mainstream masks anything that vaguely approaches a “dissident” idea in Satire and Editorial Cartoons.
Nor can it help that western cartoonists so often ridicule Obama as out of his depth in comparison to Putin.
A Loser’s Malice: What’s Behind Obama’s Attacks on Putin
Strategic Culture Foundation – Michael Jabara Carley – 23 Dec 2016
An editorial cartoon, also known as a political cartoon, is an illustration containing a commentary that usually relates to current events or personalities.
They typically combine artistic skill, hyperbole and satire in order to question authority and draw attention to corruption and other social ills.
However, the internet [for the moment] is awash with Samizdat and one of the more curious examples [ironically] concerns an “historical essay” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Two Hundred Years Together is a two-volume historical essay by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
It was written as a comprehensive history of Jews in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and modern Russia between the years 1795 and 1995, especially with regard to government attitudes toward Jews.
Solzhenitsyn published this two-volume work on the history of Russian–Jewish relations in 2001 and 2002.
The book stirred controversy, and many historians reported it as unreliable in factual data. Some historians classified it as antisemitic.
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (11 December 1918 – 3 August 2008) was a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer.
He was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and communism and helped to raise global awareness of its Gulag forced labor camp system.
He was allowed to publish only one work in the Soviet Union, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), in the periodical Novy Mir.
After this he had to publish in the West, most notably Cancer Ward (1968), August 1914 (1971), and The Gulag Archipelago (1973).
Solzhenitsyn was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”.
Solzhenitsyn was afraid to go to Stockholm to receive his award for fear that he would not be allowed to reenter.
He was eventually expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but returned to Russia in 1994 after the state’s dissolution.
Likewise, the circulation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous work detailing the horrors of the gulag system, The Gulag Archipelago, promoted a samizdat revival during the mid-1970s.
Although Two Hundred Years Together has been translated into French and German only a “partial” translation [“several chapters” – Amazon.com review] has appeared in English.
The book was published in French and German in 2002–2003.
A partial English translation is found in “The Solzhenitsyn Reader”.
This literary vacuum has been [again] partially filled by an English language Samizdat version of Two Hundred Years Together which is labelled as “A Simplified Partial English Reading Copy”.
The Editor’s Foreword [written by L.T. Kizhe] to this Samizdat version of Two Hundred Years Together provides some interesting background details which [amongst other things] includes a damning condemnation of the American public education system.
Even if he or she desires to read Solzhenitsyn’s great work, any American born after about 1980 and who went to a public school will have difficulty in reading a long block of text for content, because it is a skill no longer taught to American school children; the public educational system now relies almost entirely on electronic screens with moving images, although charter schools somewhat less so.
It quite literally hurts younger people’s heads to make the attempt.
Editor’s Foreword – L.T. Kizhe
A Simplified Partial English Reading Copy
200 Years Together by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
In the chart above, spending is broken into 12 categories: Reading, alcohol, tobacco, education, personal care, miscellaneous, recreation & entertainment, healthcare, clothing, food, transportation and housing.
The data were collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The data is adjusted for inflation and measures median spending of all Americans.
Unprecedented Spending Trends in America, in One Chart
Howmuch.net – 16 Dec 2016
This implies literary Samizdat can’t radicalise or corrupt a Twittering Class that is habituated to selfies and 140 character messages.
Effectively, literary Samizdat simply doesn’t exist [just like Lieutenant Kizhe] for most people born after 1980.