May 22, 2022

Ignorance is Not Strength


Ignorance is Not Strength
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” Image courtesy Ivan Radic

Belarusian publishers are being instructed to remove George Orwell's 1949 novel 1984 from their bookshelves. The instructions come as the Belarusian parliament is debating a new law that would mete out harsh punishment for dissent.

According to independent Belarusian news outlets, the order has already gone into effect.

Belarusian poet Serhiy Prylutsky, when asked about the book being banned, said, “Well, first of all, this is a traditional move of all dictators – to ban the truth about how the mechanism of repression works. It is stupid, but completely in the spirit of Lukashenko... Generally speaking, this is a systematic sweep of all protests in the country, which is certainly not the first.”

On May 16, state security forces confiscated over 200 copies of the book from the apartment of publisher Andrey Yanushkevich. He and a colleague have both been detained.

1984 is the most famous book by twentieth-century author George Orwell. It portrays dystopian life in an oppressive regime where the state maintains power through ubiquitous surveillance, propaganda, and intimidation.

As of May 19, the book could still be bought through the state publishing chain's website, and the Russian-language version could be purchased through other Belarusian booksellers. 

You Might Also Like

Bellyaching in Belarus
  • February 26, 2022

Bellyaching in Belarus

Locals near Belarus's border with Ukraine have complaints about ill-mannered interlopers: Russian troops.
The Breadwinner
  • December 08, 2021

The Breadwinner

"Any region [of the Russian Federation], a Russian citizen, a Russian person – these are our people. We have never split. Can we help with something in agriculture – please. We will give the last grain, super-elite [grain], so all is well." –  From the website of Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, on December 2.
Belarus, Bigwigs, and Boasting
  • November 17, 2021

Belarus, Bigwigs, and Boasting

"I knew Hafez Assad, I knew Saddam Hussein, I knew Muammar Gaddafi. We had very good and close relationships with them. We met with them. I'll tell you, the greatest thinkers!” – President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko name drops on November 10.
A Mustachioed Medusa
  • October 27, 2021

A Mustachioed Medusa

What could be more sinister than a Medusa with a mustache? A hint: a Medusa with a mustache and a reputation for being Europe’s last dictator.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts


Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955