—For me, censorship is really a personal issue. My department used to be based in the former restricted section. When we moved in and started exploring our new domain, the main question was: why would this or that tome end up on these shelves? And today my ex-colleagues are lifting index cards from the catalogue just because the publications were supported by the Soros Foundation, even though the author and the text are beyond reproach
. Personally, I think this is utter nonsense. I am not a legal expert, but substantially it is simply surreal. On the other hand, I cannot stop thinking of Giotto: there used to be an Italian book on his art in the restricted section. We kept racking our brains about it: why would Giotto be deemed subversive for the Soviet regime? After all, he did not live to see it! On the next shelf, there was an encyclopaedia of gnomes with a naked munchkin and a book of The Beatles' lyrics. They were about freedom, so they were anti-Soviet. And the author of the introduction to Giotto’s album must have said something wrong about the USSR, so he ended up in the censor’s stop list. But Open Society! George Soros has supported the publication of a vast range of textbooks and schoolbooks in Russia, which were hailed and widely distributed by the Ministries of culture, media, and education. And now his foundation is among the undesirables, and everything it has ever supported is subject to elimination. Isn’t it pure madness? It means every literary monthly from the 1990s to the early 2000s must be destroyed. But alas, incompetent people make incompetent decisions, and we have to live with it.