Skip to Content


“Samizdat” was a form of underground press commonly available in eastern European countries with state-owned media sources.

It is a Russian term that translates to “self-publishing.”

Origin of “Samizdat”

It emerged as a notable phenomenon during the Soviet era, from the 1950s to the 1980s, as a grassroots response to the widespread censorship and state-controlled publication and distribution of literature.

Samizdat became a means for intellectuals, dissidents, and ordinary citizens to disseminate suppressed or banned content, offering an alternative platform for free expression and access to information.

It can take many forms; books, magazines, newspapers, or other types of censored media such as film and photography are commonly reproduced.

Consumers of samizdat historically have been educated citizens, and sometimes those with great political or social influence.

Samizdat has been disguised with book covers or alternative, accepted literary disguises.

Other forms can include banned religious texts or artwork that are not seen acceptable for a nation’s society.

Use of “Samizdat” in a sentence:

  • In the Soviet era, dissidents often relied on samizdat, a system of clandestine copying and distribution, to disseminate banned literature and ideas.
  • Through samizdat, forbidden texts circulated covertly, becoming a symbol of intellectual resistance against oppressive regimes.
  • Even in the digital age, the spirit of samizdat lives on, as activists use modern technologies to bypass censorship and share unfiltered information with the public.