Publishers fear chilling effect of Russian anti-LGBT, foreign agent laws

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By Euronews  with AP
Russian books
Russian books   -   Copyright  Alexei Druzhinin/AP

Russia's new anti-LGTBI laws and laws against so-called "foreign agents" have publishers worried that the arts have been left unprotected against possible censorship.

Booksellers say the laws passed after the invasion of Ukraine are so vague that nothing is safe.

There's also concern that publishers and authors will impose their own limits on what they produce - for fear of reprisal.

"There are lots and lots of restrictions. Of course, they affect the work of a publisher, especially self-censorship. The publishers are frightened, in general," says Marina Kadetova, Editor-in-chief at a publishing house.

Historically, however, state censorship has led to radical or groundbreaking books generating more attention among certain readers.

During the Soviet era, state restrictions led to so-called samizdat publication - the clandestine creation and distribution of literature banned by the state.