Here is Oleg Atbashian writing about government propaganda, media propaganda, and persecution in the former USSR:
How I became a thought-criminal.
This morning I received an email from Piotr Jankowski, managing editor of a Polish-language news website in Warsaw, telling me about an article they had just posted about me, my work, and my recent arrest at GMU by the politically correct campus police. The article was titled, Persecuted: in USSR for anti-communism, in USA for anti-Islamism.
Surfing their site, it didn’t take long to discover close to a dozen People’s Cube images and parodies by me and other Cubists from several years back, translated into Polish.
Since my grandfather was Polish, we had a Polish dictionary and a language manual in the family library. Polish is also close enough to my native Russian and Ukrainian, so with some practice I was able to read Polish magazines, which were more interesting than the Soviet ones.
As a kid, I loved the Polish satirical magazine Szpilki. It wasn’t widely available and their cartoons were often a lot more sexually charged than those in the Soviet print media, so my parents tried to keep them out of my sight. But seeing just one issue was enough to make me wonder why such things didn’t exist in the Soviet Union. It was possibly then that I first experienced adult thoughts about the existence of censorship. Seeing those magazines today wouldn’t probably impress me that much, but at the time they turned me into a thoughtcriminal. I realized that a world without censorship was more fun to live in.
Granted, Poland was a reluctant Soviet satellite with heavily censored press. And yet Polish movies and books seemed more honest and revealing in just about anything, from sex to politics. Apparently the Poles enjoyed a little less censorship and a little more freedom that we in the USSR did. It was logical to conclude that if a little less censorship meant a little more fun, a world without any censorship whatsoever would be a blast. And that world existed just west of Poland — in Europe, America, and the rest of what we call Western societies.
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