Exhibition “A” fell down, “B” is gone. Glossary of Soviet censorship”

Censorship practices in the USSR from the first to the last day of the Soviet authorities


Throughout 70 years a unique system of «total censorship» developed in the USSR: literally all works – both manuscript and printed, graphic, musical and visual, those created within the country and those imported from abroad were subjected to a preliminary inspection (and sometimes review). All the elements of the system of library storage, recording, book publishing and cinema production were to be examined. At that Soviet «total censorship» was notable for an unprecedented secrecy: at some point the word «censorship» itself was under a ban, and any attempts of mentioning it were inevitably suppressed by censorship itself. Sometimes it was hard to draw the line between the frames of reference of censorship and state security bodies: surveillance over the authors, participation in recruitment of censorship staff, repressions for the «mistakes» made, participation in library cleansing and examination of restricted-access collections – the state security worked hand in hand with censorship.

The exhibition «A» fell down, «B» is gone. Glossary of Soviet censorship" tells about the cruelty and absurdity of censorship practices in the USSR – from the first steps of the Soviet authorities till its last days: from A (arrest of a manuscript) to Z («YauZa» tape recorder and Magnitizdat culture); from the beginning of Soviet censorship – to C (comprehensive cuts), from D (Decree of the Council of People’s Commissars on the press) to G (setting up of Glavlit), from «counterrevolutionary» M (misprints) to total S (seizure) and the ban of character «Ъ». We thought of a word for every letter of the Russian alphabet hiding stories which illustrate incredible triviality, pathological fault-finding and cool-headed ruthlessness of Soviet censorship, as well as examples of civil resistance to «red pencils». Peep in the drawers, turn on the lights, pull the curtains – and you will see what’s hidden: you will plunge in stories told through the documents, publications in the Soviet press, fragments of Soviet movies and songs.

Curator – Marina Savranskaya

Research consultant – Boris Belenkin, Anna Bulgakova, Irina Scherbakova

Artistic solution – Vasilina Kharlamova

Graphic design – Irina Kosheleva

Project partner – Friedrich Ebert Foundation in the Russian Federation

The exhibition is organized with the financial support of European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights of the European Union

The exhibition is open in International Memorial from 6 April to 3 October 2019 every day with the exception of Sunday and Monday, from 11 am to 7 pm.


Фонд имени Фридриха Эберта в России Представительство Европейского Союза в Российской Федерации