Censorship of Foreign Printed Matter

by Meer Kossoy, Posted: 2018-03-28 Samovar Email the Link to this Exhibit

Exhibit Categories: CensorshipImperialPostal HistoryPostal Stationery

Censorship of Foreign Printed Matte


To prevent the distribution of the ideas of the Great French Revolution of l789-1794 (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity), the Empress Ekatarina II (1729-1790) issued on 16 September l799 a decree about censorship in the towns of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga and at Radzivilov. The Emporer Pavel I (1754-1801) increased the number of places that required censorship to include all ports.

On 9 July 1804, Emporer Alexander I (1717-1825) approved the first Russian censorship code. The rules of this code were revised in new issues of this document in l828 and 1890. Other documents regulating the work of censors were also issued.

The first censorship mark appeared in Russia in March 1873 when the Postal Department decreed that all printed issues arriving from abroad must bear the special mark "Д.Ц." (Permitted by Censorship).

Postal censorship dealt only with foreign newspapers and magazines arriving from abroad as printed matter and some letters with printed texts. All other publications including books, advertisements, pricelists, music with words and so on were to be redirected for examination to the Committee of Foreign Censorship, which in the early 1890s was renamed the Central Committee of Foreign Censorship.

In this exhibit, all known types of St. Petersburg censorship marks and stamps on postal correspondence are shown. All of them are scarce and known in single digits and some are very rare, having only been recorded with one or two examples.

The earliest recorded Russian censorship mark of 1876 is exhibited as well as is its variety of 1877 (earlier recorded marks were from 1878 and later). Postal items with combinations of different censorship marks and hand stamps and hand stamps in different colors are also exhibited. Some of them are known only in single numbers. The exhibitor discovered and presents an earlier unrecorded variety of Petrograd military censorship (Type IX). In the exhibit, the author's research and discoveries are marked with the exhibitor's initials (MK). All dates on foreign postmarks are given in the new style (n.s.) and dates on Russian postmarks are given in the old style (o.s.) (13 days behind).