Valerii Mishin, Poėt i gladiator [detail]


FREE VOICES IN THE SOVIET CONTEXT is divided into three sections: “Samizdat & Non-Official Artistic Expression”, “Underground Places & Groups” and “Facts & Phenomena” 

The first section “Samizdat & Non-Official Artistic Expression” is further divided into three categories, as follows: “Literature of the Samizdat”, “Music & Audio Texts”, “Visual & Performing Arts”.
Literature from the Samizdat – has two categories: Periodicals and Works.

The Samizdat > Periodicals category is dedicated to mapping and indexing periodicals and journals of major importance in the literary and artistic fields, which circulated underground in the Soviet Union. In some of the reported cases, it was possible to obtain complete catalogues for the journals, thanks to the database In others, it was possible to consult the typescripts in archival collections as indicated in the bibliography at the end of the articles.
In addition, the Samizdat > Periodicals category also includes collections and news reports, which document a series of initiatives promoted by groups and the underground press. For each periodical, the following information is provided: Title, Date of first publication and final publication, Place of Publication, Editorial Board or Editors, Main Contributors, Total Number of Issues, Description, Notes (if any) and Bibliography. In addition, the years (and, where appropriate months) of the first and final publication are reported as they appear on the issues. If these differ from the actual years of publication, they have been inserted in square brackets. In the field Place of Publication, the city or cities where the journal was published are reported. If the name of the place has changed, the Italian translation of the toponym is given as it appears in the periodical (e.g., Leningrad instead of Saint Petersburg). The Editorial Board field summarizes data on the composition of the editorial committee and, where possible, information on changes in management or section editors. The field appears only in the records of those jorunals that defined their editorial board or redkollegiia. For the journals which indicate redaktory (editors) the respective field Editors has been inserted. In the field Main contributors the names of the most frequent authors are reported, and sometimes also those responsible for specific sections. If it was not possible to reconstruct the identity of the authors, we left the name and/or the patronymic initials and/or the pseudonym under which they appear in the pages of the journals. In the Description field we present: the history of the periodical, editorial trends, organization of contents, genres (essay, poetry, prose, translation, interviews), main editors, possible information on copyright, authors who collaborated and the most significant contributions from a historical-cultural point of view. In the field Noteswhere present, reference is made to the primary source on which the website entry is based and any technical remarks on specific issues (typescripts, manuscripts, information on the availability of some issues). For journals which published only a few issues, the total number of pages of the issues has been indicated in the additional field Total pages. In the Bibliography field there are the main bibliographic sources consulted for the preparation of the article, which are provided also for purposes of further investigation. For Samizdat collections and news reports published from the end of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1980s, a limited number of collections on historical, literary, and artistic topics are represented.  They have been chosen for their relevance to this project. Specifically, they are Kronika tekushchikh sobytii (Chronicle of Current Events) and Pamiat’ (Memory) for which we carried out comprehensive research using the paper and online archives of Memorial International ( for Kronika tekushchikh sobytii and ( for Pamiat’.  The following fields are shown for the collections and news reports: Title, Dates of publication, Place of publication, Description, Promoters, Authors, Total numbers, Notes (if any), Bibliography. The Description field presents, the history of the collections and reports (when and how they circulated), the events and topics that were given most attention, the authors who collaborated and the most important contributions from a historical-cultural point of view. In the field Promoters we indicate the names of the figures who were responsible for creating and sustaining the collections and reports. In the Authors field, we give the names of contributors to the collections (in the case of news reports, there is no reference to the authors). For the Notes and Bibliography fields, the same criteria apply as for the journals. At the moment we have excluded literary works by authors of Russian modernism, whose texts in some cases were published in tamizdat and, therefore, included in the “Tamizdat” section. The fields here are reported as follows: Title, Author, Years of Editing, Place of First Publication, Description, Russian Language Editions, Translations, Bibliography, and Filmography, when available. 

The second section “Music & Audio Texts” is dedicated to the vast and heterogeneous field of audio texts, also commonly called Magnitizdat, a term adopted ex-post to indicate the clandestine dissemination of audio materials on magnetic media. The section is divided into several headings and related articles, which offer a general description of the phenomenon by documenting the methods used for recording, the performers and the content of their work. This section also provides information on reference materials, such as interviews with protagonists and those who participated in the magnitizdat.

The third and last section of the Samizdat section, “Visual & Performing Arts”, contains a series of contributions focused on the visual arts and dissent, from photography to figurative arts, audio-visuals, and theatre.  

The second section “Underground Places & Groups” offers a map of the meeting points of unofficial culture and describes the main protagonists of the many collective manifestations of the underground. It was decided to order the articles according to a geographical criterion, which takes into consideration first Moscow and Leningrad and extends to cover the whole territory of the Soviet Union. In this section we map out the most significant places of the Moscow and Leningrad underground (private flats, and public places such as squares and streets) and also various schools and groups which operated clandestinely in the two cities. The following fields have been included for private apartments: Place, Key words used in place names (indicating the Russian lexemes used in the names of specific places), Description (providing a brief history of the events that took place in the flats and the individuals involved), Bibliography (providing bibliographical and in-depth information). The entries on squares and streets contain the following fields: Dates (indicating the dates on which events and initiatives were organised), Place, Participants, Publishing initiatives (linked to the foundation and distribution of journals and almanacs, if any), Description (with a reconstruction of the history of the place, the events that took place and the participants) and Bibliography.
The entries concerning clandestine groups and schools that existed in Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus and belonged to the so-called ‘Second Culture’ (Vtoraia kul’tura) of the period from the beginning of destalinization (1956) to the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991), are divided according to place (at the moment: Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk). These entries contain information both about groups that were self-defined through the writing of manifestos, and more fluid and difficult to trace groups. For these entries the following fields are listed: Dates, Location, Founders or promoters, Members, Editorial initiatives, Description, Bibliography. The field Dates indicates the time frame within which the activity of the group can be circumscribed. The field Place indicates the city in which the group formed and operated. If the name of the place has changed, the Italian translation of the place name is given. In the Founders or Promoters field the leading figures within the group are indicated, if any. In the field Members the names of the actual members of the group are given. If the a number of members makes a complete list impossible, the main names are given. In the Publishing initiatives field, the publishing activities of the group or of some of its members are indicated, whether they are occasional (the publication of anthologies and almanacs) or periodical (the publication of a journal). In the Description section, the group’s activities are reconstructed, from its genesis to its consolidation as a circle of individuals with a common Weltanschauung, in some cases with a shared literary agenda. Reference is also made to the influences of each group, as well as its performative gestures, if relevant. In the Bibliography field the main bibliographic sources consulted for the drafting of the articles are listed, which also provides information for further investigation. 

The third section “Facts & Phenomena” illustrates the public dimension of clandestine culture in its various typological representations and is divided into the categories: Circles, Seminars, Conferences, Authorized Publications, Human Rights Movement, Open Letters, Trials, Meetings and Demonstrations, Exhibitions, Celebrations, Concerts and festivals. A specific section is devoted to the Civil Rights Movement and its activists. Other categories such as “Open Letters, “Meetings and Demonstrations, “Trials explore the different forms of protest which took place following the trials of individuals who were linked in various ways to the world of dissent as inakomyslie, and not necessarily as dissidents.  The criteria adopted within each category reflect the criteria commonly used for entries on individual people (as in “People”), while for “Protest Letters” we use the criteria used for journals, with due specificity. We will use the following fields for the category “Open Letters”: Title of letter, Date, Authors, Recipient, Place of publication, Date of publication, Description, Consequences if any.
The category – Authorized Publishing – documents works which were published and circulated officially, but whose content allows them to be classified as dissenting. The fields of these entries are Date (referring to the date of publication),Place of publication (which contains the same information as in the related field in the other sections)Editors, Preface, Number of pages, Print run, Description, Bibliography.  

THE RECEPTION OF SOVIET DISSENT IN THE WEST is the thematic area divided in the three sections: “Tamizdat”, “Case Studies”, “Italian Publications and Catalogues”.

In the “Tamizdat” section, there is a further subdivision into the following categories: tamizdat Publishing houses, Periodicals, and works published beyond the borders of the USSR. The works and the tamizdat journals were selected for their relevance, and also in consideration of the different cultural-political phases in the Soviet Union. The most representative works and journals have been selected. 
Tamizdat > Periodicals: the fields are the same as in the samizdat journals. 
Tamizdat > Works: at the moment, this section contains non-periodic tamizdat journals, that is, one off publications of anthologies, miscellaneous works and collections (currently limited to the case of “Metropol’”, classified here as an anthology) and literary works that circulated first clandestinely in the USSR, before being smuggled abroad, and subsequently printed outside the Soviet borders. The following fields are shown in the entries of the literary works: Title, Year(s) of writing, Year of first publication, Publisher or Journal, Place of publication, Description, Editions in Russian language, Translations, Bibliography and Notes. The Year(s) of writing field indicates the year (or years) in which the work was written. The year in which the work was first published is indicated in the Year of first publication field. This field also refers to any cuts which were made (if a work was not published in full), as well as to the language in which it was published for the first time. The Publisher or Journal field reports the publishing house or journal which published the work and, where possible, the series in which it was included (if present). The Place of publication field shows the city or cities where the work was published. If the name of the place has changed, the Italian translation of the toponym is reported as it appears on the title page (i.e. Leningrad will be written as Leningrad, rather than Saint Petersburg). In the Description field the editorial history of the work is reconstructed, referring to the various editions and personalities who contributed to its publication, indicating its circulation in samizdat. The events that led to the first publication, as well as the first publications in Russian, are also briefly described. In the Editions in Russian field, the editions in which the work appeared in Russian are reported. The field also indicates whether the work was published in its entirety or not. The Translations field shows all the translations of the work into the major western languages, indicating the place of publication, the publishing house and the translator in round brackets. The Bibliography field shows the main bibliographic sources consulted in researching the entry, which is intended to provide references for further information.  In the Notes field, we report observations relating to particular editions of the work and/or archival sources. 
The category Tamizdat> Publishing Houses includes the main tamizdat publishing houses, i.e. those that emerged outside the Soviet borders and beyond the Iron Curtain with the explicit vocation of publishing books banned in the Soviet Union, both in Russian and in translation. For each entry are we provide information in the following fields: Dates, Place, Editors, Description, Notes (if any) and Bibliography.

The second section “Case Studies” is dedicated to the reception of selected literary works from the USSR, which in various ways are attributable to the culture of ‘dissent’. It includes Doktor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak and The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, which constitute emblematic literary cases, with a remarkable media and cultural impact in contexts beyond the Iron Curtain. These entries have the following fields: Author, Place, Date, Description and Bibliography (with references to primary and critical literature). 

The third section,Italian Publications & Cataloguespresents the main Italian publishers involved in disseminating Soviet cultural discourse, which were important for the reception and distribution of alternative Soviet voices. Attention is given to the activity and archives of the most important publishing houses and cultural reviews.  We hope to offer a framework for reconstructing the debate on Soviet dissent in Italy. The section is divided into four categories: Publishing Houses and Italian Cultural Journals, which document translations of works published in Italy from 1956 to 1991, Catalogues of Journals and Editorial Archives.
The category Publishing Houses presents the Italian publishing houses that were involved in spreading the culture of ‘dissent’ from the USSR. The articles are organized with the following fields: Dates, Place, Series, Description and BibliographySome entries contain a full list of the works (translations, monographs etc.) regarding Soviet dissent published by the particular house. Our research on the publishing houses was largely based on bibliographic sources and, where possible, on the archival collections of the houses themselves. The Dates field indicates the dates within which the publishing house was active, or continues to be active. The field Place of Publication records the city (or cities) in which the publishing house was/is located. In the field Series we report the collections in which translations and publications concerning the culture of dissent were included. The Description field contains information about the history of the publishing house, editorial trends, published genres and the most frequently represented authors. The Bibliography shows the main bibliographic sources consulted for writing each entry, which it is hoped will serve as a point of reference for further in-depth analysis.
In the category Italian Cultural Journals, four important literary and artistic journals are described. These journals are relevant for the analysis of the reception of Soviet dissent between 1956 and 1991. The journal entries contain the following fields: Title, Date of beginning and Date of End, Place of Publication, Editorial Board, Total Number of Issues, Main Contributors, Description, Notes (if any) and Bibliography. The Dates field indicates the chronological references within which the journal was published. The years (and possibly months) are indicated as they appear on the issues. If these differ from the actual years of publication, they have been inserted in square brackets. The field Place of Publication records the city (or cities) in which the journal is/was published. The field Editorial board summarizes data relating to the composition of the editorial committee and, where possible, information about changes in editorship and the editors of particular sections. The field Main Contributors includes the names of the most frequent authors, sometimes also working as editors of specific sections of the journals. The Description section presents the journal’s history, editorial trends, content organization, genres (essay, poetry, prose, translation, interviews), the main editors, copyright information, collaborating authors and the most significant contributions from a historical-cultural point of view. In the Notes field reference is made to the primary sources used to write the entry and technical observations on specific issues (typescripts, manuscripts, information on the availability of some issues). The Bibliography field shows the main bibliographic sources consulted for writing the entry, which also aims to provide information for further in-depth analysis.
In the category Catalogues of journals, complete editions or significant parts of editions are presented (for the Sunday section of “Il Sole 24 ore”). The catalogues are organised by: Editorial location, Dates of Publication, Title, Author, Page reference, Bibliographic data if any.