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Literary Freedom Challenged in Russian Bookstores

by | Dec 18, 2023 | News

Russian bookstores are taking a controversial stance by suspending the printing and sale of works by two esteemed writers, Dmitry Bykov and Boris Akunin, known for their literary contributions to Russian literature.

 

The decision was triggered by the writers’ outspoken anti-war views, which have caused a significant public outcry. AST, a leading publishing house in Russia, initiated the move, with their Director General, Pavel Grishkov, asserting that a legal assessment is required before resuming the publication and shipment of Bykov and Akunin’s books.

 

Notably, retailers like Chitay Gorod and Bukvoed, along with the e-book library LitRes, have followed suit by halting sales and undertaking the removal of these authors’ works from store shelves across the country. Chitay Gorod has even initiated a legal assessment of the situation, signaling the gravity of the issue at hand.

 

The exact nature of the statements that led to this drastic decision has not been explicitly outlined by AST or Chitay Gorod. However, it is widely known that both Bykov and Akunin have been vocal critics of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Boris Akunin, acclaimed for his murder mystery series set in Imperial Russia, including the renowned Fandorin mysteries and “History of the Russian State,” has gained international recognition with translations of his works into multiple languages and adaptations into television series. Currently residing in London, he has been the recipient of numerous literary awards in Russia and abroad.

 

Dmitry Bykov, on the other hand, is recognized as one of contemporary Russia’s most versatile and prolific writers. With an extensive body of work, including 12 volumes of poetry, 15 volumes of prose, 10 books of essays, and three full-length biographies, Bykov has made a significant impact not only in literature but also as a print, radio, and television journalist. His popular series of poems, “Citizen Poet,” performed by actor Mikhail Yefremov, gained widespread attention when it aired weekly on TV Rain and Ekho Moskvy a decade ago.

 

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