More infamous, of course, is Russia’s 2013 law against “homosexual propaganda,” effectively banning all forms of speech in support of gay rights. Western media have extensively covered the law’s most obvious consequences—public demonstrations thwarted, activists arrested, LGBT people beaten and tortured—but equally important is the stultifying effect of the law on Russian culture, including literature. In fact, it has forced the reintroduction of a literary form presumed to have ended with the USSR: samizdat, the illegally self-published texts circulated surreptitiously by Soviet dissidents.

As with writers like Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Mikhail Bulgakov in the Soviet Union, LGBT writers in modern Russia have suddenly found themselves silenced, unable to write honestly or speak freely about their lives without breaking the law. Now some of these voices have been collected in a new book of stories and testimonials called Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories.

Read the full article at the Melville House blog.

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