Despite the Valuev Directive: Books Permitted by the Censors in Violation of the Restrictions Against Ukrainian Publishing, 1864-1904


  • Johannes Remy University of Helsinki



In 1863, the Russian imperial government decreed restrictions on book publishing in Ukrainian. The restrictions were then revised and were endorsed on several later occasions. They banned nonfiction literature directed at common people, children’s literature, and translations from Russian. The restrictions were in force until the all-Russian revolution in 1905, although they were formally repealed only in 1907. This article discusses the books the censors authorized for publication despite the fact that their publication violated the restrictions on Ukrainian publishing. In the years 1863-1904, 125 such books were published in all. Most of them appeared during three periods: 1874-76, 1882-83 and 1896-1904. In the first period, most books were permitted by a corrupt censor in Kyiv who received bribes from the local Hromada, a Ukrainian society. In the second period, minor concessions to Ukrainian publishers were deemed politically expedient. In the third period, the censors took the general usefulness of the book into account; if they deemed the book useful, they permitted it even though its publication violated the restrictions. Ukrainian activists used these opportunities because they facilitated popular enlightenment in the Ukrainian national spirit through book publishing.


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