Interrelation of censors and editors during the second half of XIX century or the reaction of the Caucasus Censorship Committee to the work of editors

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Tamar Sharabidze
Anna Dolidze


Goal of any type of censorship (quite often – pseudo-goal) is protecting society. In a totalitarian state it gains different essence and scale. Its main task becomes protecting the ideology of a totalitarian state and punishing its opposers in different forms.

Caucasus Censorship Committee (1848-1906) was the main mechanism for the political and ideological control of Georgia and other nations of the Caucasus, which were part of the XIX century Russian Empire. The control mainly concerned the cultural-educational sphere, as other state institutions were under the Empire anyway.

Responsibility for the national-liberating tasks in Georgia in XIX century was taken by Georgian literature and press, therefore, censorship fought against them, killing the free opinion at its appearance. Censorship reviewed any kind of texts by Georgian writers, critics, playwrights and persons working in Georgian space in general – be it fiction, critical-publicist or scientific texts – and it was at the decision of censorship to publish, remake or to prohibit them. Not only creative freedom was restricted, but there was also pressure on national and public opinion.

Restrictions were expressed in taking out or remaking free pinion from an article or fiction work, its distortion; as punishment, a magazine could be closed down, an issue of a magazine could be banned or an editor could even be arrested. Repression censorship banned for prolonged period of time such well-known Georgian periodicals as, Tsiskari, Iveria, Droeba, Imedi and others; or even closed them down permanently. This happened to the first satire-humor magazine Khumara (Joker). Only one issue was published and the magazine was closed down; its editor Akaki Tsereteli was arrested for mocking a public servant…

In parallel with restrictions and punishments, Georgian literature, criticism, publicist work gradually transferred to defense regime and did not obey the ideological-political course of the Empire. Fiction, critical-publicist, scientific texts were being veiled, coded, disguised with symbolic-allegorical images; this is well confirmed by all the materials found in the texts by Georgian classics and non-classic writers and justifying statements sent by editors to censors.

Goal of the article is to show, from the work by the Caucasus Censorship Committee, the interrelation of censors and editor, based on the decrees, reports by censors and justifying statements by editors.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Colonial, Postcolonial, Decolonial and Neocolonial Experiences