HU OSA 300-85-10 Published Samizdat: Reference Copies

Identity statement

Reference code
HU OSA 300-85-10
Published Samizdat: Reference Copies
1968 - 1992
Description level
Extent and medium (processed)
30 Archival box, 3.75 linear meters

Content and structure

Scope and Content (Abstract)
The series contains the copies of the samizdat docuemnets published and distributed for the internai use at the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. To give readers a good idea of the content of the collection, we refer them to the description of the Samizdat Archives (SA) classification system compiled by the SA staff in 1974 "('The Archiv Samizdata", [RL, 1974], Series ? Administrative Files, Sub-fond 85 Samizdat Archives, Fond 300 Records of the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Open Society Archives, Budapest, Hungary). According to the description, the Samizdat collection {which at that time numbered 2094 registered documents) included the following groups of documents: a) documents concerning individual complaints or specific themes, which is by far the largest group (784 registered documents); b) literary and philosophical Samizdat (120 registered documents). “…most essays and poetry included in the Archiv Samizdata have some political significance“; c) general political writings (183 registered documents). "This category embraces articles and even some books which aim at a more or less general discussion and analysis of the Soviet political system". For example AS 1500: R. A. Medvedev, The Problem of Democratization and the Problem of Détente (October 1973); d) religious Samizdat (487 registered documents). “The principal sections within the group concern the Baptists, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Lithuanian Roman Catholics. The Baptists are particularly active in Samizdat. There are also a small number of documents regarding the Uniates (a formerly numerous group from the Western Ukraine, adhering to the old Slavonic liturgy and to the Roman Catholic Church) and the Buddhists. Islam is notably absent in Samizdat literature but geographical factors may in part be blamed for this (the Islamic population is to be found mostly outside Russia proper - Azarbaidzhan, Central Asia and the region of the Urals). Documents concerning the Jewish religion have been classed under (e)"; e) Jewish Samizdat (176 registered documents). “Jewish Samizdat is a comparative latecomer and does not start until 1968. Most of it concerned with individual acts of discrimination, often in connection with the expression of the wish to emigrate to Israel"; f) national Samizdat (203 registered documents). “This category embraces documents attacking the official nationalities policy, complaining about specific issues of the nationality question in the USSR. Most numerous are documents concerning the Crimean Tartars, followed by another large contingent of Ukrainian documents (most of them in Ukrainian). Other significant groups of national Samizdat concern Meskhetians (a small Turkic-speaking nation from Southern Georgia), the Armenians and the Lithuanians. Jewish Samizdat is not included into the group"; g) official Soviet documents (52 registered documents). “This group consists chiefly of official reports about searches (which should be handed to the inhabitant of the premises which have been searched), arrests, etc.; psychiatric reports about dissidents; documents issued by the prison administration, copies of court sentences and the like"; h) trial reports and “final" words (43 registered documents). “Official reports of trials of political dissidents have not appeared in Soviet court bulletins, but since the Siniavskii - Daniel trial in February 1966, it has been the practice among Soviet dissidents to prepare verbatim reports (as far as possible) immediately after the trial by comparing notes (usually made surreptitiously) and relying on the memory of several observers. An impressive number of reports have been compiled in this way, providing not only a vivid account of the confrontation between the Soviet regime and its dissident citizens, but also rare information about the actual operation of the Soviet legal system. In many cases the final words spoken by the accused have been incorporated in the trial reports, but a number of speeches from the dock also circulate separately and for this reason have been included in this group of documents"; i) non-dissident Soviet documents (19 registered documents). “This category covers a not very large number of documents of completely 'loyal’ character which have ended up in Samizdat because of their specific interest to dissident circles". As an example one could mention AS 42: Transcript of a teachers' union meeting in Moscow held to punish teacher V. M. Gerlin for signing a protest petition about the Ginzburg - Galanskov trial (16 April, 1968); j) documents of foreign origin (4 registered documents). “The Archiv Samizdata contains a few bibliographical notes about foreign works circulating in Samizdat (or sometimes in the original form) in the Soviet Union…". (AS 464: note concerning Djilas" “The New Class"). In the course of time relative size of the listed groups changed (for example, the proportion of Jewish Samizdat certainly increased by the end of the 70s), though the classification remained valid up to the time of Perestroika. During this period (1986-1992) over 1000 documents were registered. Though some of them belong to the old categories, as a result of the changes that Soviet society was undergoing at that time, the old classification system did not cover newly emerged Samizdat topics, such as the building of new political parties, discussions on ongoing and future reforms, and historical topics. Classification of Samizdat from the Perestroika period is a problem that remains to be solved. The Samizdat collection is an essential source for the history of the Soviet dissident movement. Final copies of Samizdat documents prepared for publication in “Materialy Samizdata" (occasionally stencils) were filed for quick reference for SA staff and researchers. Some items are missing. The documents in the series are filed according to their registration numbers, i.e. in chronological order of arrival. “In many cases order of arrival does not correspond with the date of the document since the time which it takes a document to reach the West may vary widely from one piece to another"('The Archiv Samizdata", [RL, 1974], Series ? Administrative Files, Sub-fond 85 Samizdat Archives, Fond 300 Records of the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Open Society Archives, Budapest, Hungary). In a limited number of cases originals and reference materials were filed in this series.

Not expected

Conditions of access and use

Conditions governing access
English, Georgian, Lithuanian, Russian, Ukrainian
Call Number Description