Ukraine just banned 38 Russian books

Ukrainian customs officials have released a blacklist of Russian books that authorities won't allow to be imported to Ukraine.

According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, the list (which was drawn up by the Security Service of Ukraine) includes 38 books from various genres, from science fiction to nonfiction, including texts like history books, as well as collections of articles.

Ukrainian customs officials claim the books propagate “an ideology of hatred, fascism, xenophobia, and separatism,” and the content of the works challenges “the territorial integrity and constitutional order of Ukraine.”

The blacklist includes books by Alexander Dugin (a Russian political scientist known for his nationalist views) and a collection of essays by the Russian journalist Marina Akhmedova (who writes fro Russky Reporter on social and cultural issues and covers the conflict in Ukraine).

The punishment for attempts to bring the blacklisted books into Ukraine has not yet been detailed in official documents. Ukrainian lawyers, however, warn that anyone caught smuggling the books into the country could be prosecuted for propagating war and violence.

Bogdan Chervak, deputy chair of the Ukrainian State Radio and TV Committee, announced earlier that his committee appealed to the Ukrainian Customs Service, asking it to ban imports of certain Russian books. Chervak also asked activists to report to the Ukrainian State Radio and TV Committee any sightings of blacklisted books at stores in the country.

The international organization Reporters Without Borders has denounced the Ukrainian government’s move to ban books. They claim this is a violation of free speech.

“[The Ukrainian Customs Service document] claims that such books are part of an ‘information war, and a method for misinforming Ukrainian citizens.’”

Kommersant

On August 8, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture published a blacklist of Russian public figures who are deemed to pose a threat to national security. The list includes 14 names and was drawn up by the Security Service of Ukraine. Television shows and films featuring the blacklisted individuals are also banned from distribution within Ukraine.

Earlier this year, the Ukrainian government banned movies and TV shows produced in Russia after January 1, 2014.

Ukrainian officials have also moved to ban Russian advertising on Ukrainian TV, and limit Russian journalists' access to state events.