Home 5 News 5 Chitai-Gorod’s Top Theft: Orwell’s ‘1984’

Chitai-Gorod’s Top Theft: Orwell’s ‘1984’

by | Dec 30, 2023 | News

Russia’s Chitai-Gorod bookstore chain has crowned George Orwell’s “1984” as the most purloined book of 2023. The dystopian masterpiece disappeared from Chitai-Gorod shelves a staggering 460 times, securing its spot as a hot commodity. Interestingly, the very same book also claimed a position in the top 10 most-acquired titles at the chain this year, according to the company’s official statement.

 

In Orwell’s “1984,” a totalitarian regime employs surveillance, propaganda, and paradoxical slogans such as “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength” to assert dominance over the populace. Drawing parallels, Masha Karp, author of “George Orwell and Russia,” likens the fictional nation of Oceania to wartime Russia, where the term ‘war’ faced instant prohibition, mandated to be replaced, under threat of prosecution, by the euphemism ‘a special military operation.’

 

The novel witnessed a surge in sales in Russia following the February 2022 invasion, consistently maintaining its position as one of the country’s top-selling books since at least 2010. Despite its widespread availability, the distribution of free copies in Moscow in March 2022 resulted in the detention and charging of two individuals accused of discrediting the Russian army.

 

In a notable statistic, Chitai-Gorod reported a total of nearly 300,000 stolen books in 2023, marking a 10% decrease from the previous year.

 

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