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The section is devoted to the analysis of media and channels through which literary and cultural protest movements are born, developed and spread, with particular attention, for the Western area, to the phenomena of publishing (mimeographed magazines, underground publishing houses) and, for the Eastern area, to the forms of alternative self-publication and diffusion typical of the Samizdat, the Tamizdat and the Magnitizdat. The parameters for selecting and cataloging the material are described in the menu item “Criteria”.


The section presents four categories organized as follows: Magazines, Publishing houses, Cultural centers, Events.

The first category is devoted to Magazines and includes a series of periodical publications, identified on the basis of their relevance to the cultural debate of the time. In particular, the magazines selected are linked to Groups and Movements of dissent analyzed in the first section, or which had a particular relevance in the wide area of cultural contestation, based on the editorial line and artistic and literary interests, with particular attention to interdisciplinary and inter-artistic practices.

The second category includes a selection of Publishing houses, identified starting from the contribution they offered to support the Groups or Movements and their counterculture activities. The sampling includes both the small publishing houses founded by the same members of the Movements/Groups which contributed to creating the underground press scene; and the publishing houses belonging to the official press sphere, which variously promoted the countercultural activities related to the Movements.

The third category is devoted to Cultural centers, that is to say the places of production of the counterculture, where important events and activities were held, managed directly by the groups or movements, and which played a significant role in the underground panorama.

The fourth and last category includes a sampling of inter-artistic Events realized on the initiative of the movements or some of their members, which have had particular resonance in the underground scene.

[translated by Ilaria Sicari]


The section presents four pillars articulated thus: Clandestine publishing, Authorized publishing, Meeting places and Chronology of events.

In the first pillar – Clandestine/Uncensored publishing – we mapped the main channels through which the unauthorized literature and art forms opposed by the Soviet state are disseminated. This pillar is divided into three categories: Samizdat, Tamizdat and Magnitizdat.

The Samizdat category is divided into two sub-categories: Periodicals and Works.

The first category (Samizdat-Periodicals) reported the most significant literary and artistic journals more or less secretly circulated in the Soviet Union, of which a complete list was made available by other on line archives or projects, listed among the links.

In the subcategory Samizdat> Works the phenomenon was limited mainly to the literary genre of testimonial works on Soviet political repressions, a thematically homogeneous genre, which is particularly representative of the works circulated in Samizdat. At the moment, we have excluded the literary works by authors of Russian modernism. These works, in some cases published in Tamizdat, have therefore been included in the special section “Tamizdat”.

The second pillar – Authorized publishing – includes two emblematic phenomena: 1) the publication of Krug (Circle), in which the works of some ‘Second culture’ representatives found an agreement with the publishing house ‘Sovetskij pisatel’, and 2) publications containing materials far from the State celebrative rhetoric. All these contributions regard the period after 1987 (also referred to “Novyj Samizdat”) and concern the first testimonies on the Gulags.

In the third pillar – Meeting places – a map of the meeting points of Moscow and Leningrad (private apartments or public places such as squares, streets and cafeterias) is provided. It shows the most significant places for the diffusion of an independent culture in the Soviet territory.

In the fourth category – Chronology of events – the main initiatives of various types are recorded and promoted by the protagonists of the time engaged in the democratization process of the country. The events indexed in this section are limited to the cultural events examined and described in the appropriate sections of the site. By clicking on the various links, the user will be directed to the relevant records. For a complete description of the guiding criteria for the preparation of this large section, please refer to: Filing criteria, Eastern area.

[translated by Giuseppina Larocca]