February 06, 2023

Tolstoy and Pushkin, the New Foreign Agents


Tolstoy and Pushkin, the New Foreign Agents
Tolstoy is listed as a "declared foreign agent on the territory of the Russian Federation" on Labirint's website. Ostorozhno, Novosty, Telegram

Last December, the Russian government passed laws banning books that contained "gay propaganda" and forced booksellers to label many authors as foreign agents. In response, the well-known Russian online bookstore Labirint seems to have listed Alexander Pushkin, Lev Tolstoy, and Samuil Marshak, some of Russian literature's most famous names, as inoagenty ("foreign agents").

The news site Ostorozhno, Novosty contacted a Labirint saleswoman, who said that it was all just a technical glitch and that they would refresh the page. Suddenly, the inoagenty labels disappeared. After that, the representative reportedly said: "Here, look at what a sorceress I am, just call me. Bye-bye." 

Ostorozhno, Novosty suspects this episode was an "internal riot" by a bookstore employee. However, the chaos generated by government censorship in the Russian book-publishing industry is undeniable. Recent literature organizations have been scrambling to decide which books to ban, sometimes with surprising conclusions.

 

 

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