A typewritten copy of the Russian translation of the petition signed by 55 well-known public figures, scientists and cultural activists was submitted to the Council of Ministers on 14 March 1958. The original of the petition was in Latvian, and is now in the files of the Latvian SSR Council of Ministers in the State Archive of Latvia. The petition had three supplements, about the valley of the River Daugava, the natural and cultural features that would be lost by flooding it, and alternative options to the construction plans.
- Dolesmuiža, Latvia 2121
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During the search of 18 May 1983, among the objects confiscated from the collection of Dan Petrescu and Thérèse Culianu-Petrescu were forty-five typed leaves of a manuscript representing an unusual literary project: the collective novel “Furrows Across the Baulks” revisited. The manuscript had four authors. In addition to Dan Petrescu, these were Luca Piţu, George Pruteanu, and Sorin Antohi. “Furrows Across the Baulks” revisited was a rewriting, in a satirical register, of a quite well-known proletkultist novel by the Hungarian writer István Horváth, translated into Romanian in 1953. The original title Furrows Across the Baulks had inspired the rereading of the collectivisation process in an ironic key by the four young intellectuals. The manuscript existed in a single copy, which passed from hand to hand with each of the four adding a chapter, so at the time of the search all material trace of the existence of this collective literary enterprise was lost. Regarding its confiscation, Dan Petrescu recalls: “At the same time they asked me about the novel [‘Furrows Across the Baulks’ revisited]. I said to them: ‘Why are you still looking for it? Because you’ve already got it.’ They had taken it from George Pruteanu. […] It didn’t exist in more than one manuscript. There were no copies. It passed from one to the next and each one added to it. They were also looking for letters in the search.” The Securitate had found out about the existence of this satirical novel at the end of 1982, when at the Young Writer colloquium in Buzău, Sorin Antohi read pages from the collective manuscript, imitating Ceaușescu’s voice when excerpts from Gheorghiu-Dej’s speeches were cited. According to the Securitate’s evaluation, in this novel “the policy of the Party regarding co-operativisation is ridiculed, […] with suggestive allusions to the higher leadership of the Party and of the state.” The public reading of the manuscript at this colloquium effectively meant its dissemination at national level, and what might just about have been tolerated at local level became dangerous when it came to have an influence on others.By the time of its confiscation, the novel had an introduction by Dan Petrescu and nine chapters, each by one of the four authors, as follows: ”Şi caii se împuşcă, nu–i aşa?” (They shoot horses, don’t they) (Sorin Antohi); ”Un chirov, două chiroave” (One Chirov [tractor], two Chirov[s] [tractors]) (Dan Petrescu); ”Din neagra țigănie, mânca–ți–aş!” (From black gypsydom, damn it!) (George Pruteanu); ”Visul tovarăşului inginer agronom” (The dream of Comrade Engineer Agronomist) (Luca Pițu); ”Azi e zi de sărbătoare” (Today is a festival day) (Sorin Antohi); ”Iar steluța cea de sus, ce-o mai fi având de spus?”(Little star up in the sky, what more do you have to say?) (Dan Petrescu); ”Vicii la Sfat” (Vices at the Council) (George Pruteanu); ”Dictotaurul” (The dictataurus) (Luca Pițu); ”Ascensiunea lui Iordache Leahu poate fi oprită” (The rise of Iordache Leahu can be stopped) (Luca Pițu). The action takes place in the village of Chipeşeni, in the commune of Dimparis, a transparent allusion to the Paris Commune (in Romanian, “Comuna din Paris,” barely masked by the replacement of “n” by “m” before “p” as required by the rules of Romanian orthography). Twenty-three of the forty-five pages confiscated during the search have been discovered in the CNSAS Archives. They represent, as Sorin Antohi has put it, an “embryo of samizdat,” whose cultural references are carefully camouflaged through the use of sophisticated language. Understood only by a very limited public, this manner of encrypting messages was characteristic of the period, and was one of the most commonly used strategies to fool the censors, but it had the great disadvantage of making for “difficult reading even at the time.” Now the novel is “a text whose cultural references are effectively foreign to young people.” According to Dan Petrescu, however, a Securitate officer reckoned during the interrogations of 1983 that the publication of such novel at that time would have twisted young people’s minds. The fragments discovered in the CNSAS Archives were published in the volume Artelul Textual - «Brazde peste haturi» revisited: Pagini salvate dintr-un samizdat colectiv (The textual [c]artel – “Furrows across the baulks” revisited: Saved pages from a collective samizdat) (Iași: Editura Opera Magna, 2011).
A feuilleton in three parts, published in the magazine Intervju on 31 July, 14 and 28 August 1987, shows the extent of censorship in Yugoslavia in different fields of artistic production. It contains a chronological overview of banned publications (books, newspapers, brochures, postcards) in the period 1963-1987, banned movies in the period 1951-1985, theatrical productions in the period 1946-1982, as well as concerts and phonorecords from 1971-1972. According to the authors, the list is based on the records of the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office and newspaper documentation. The authors note that none of the sources were complete, and why it is possible that some of banns were left out, either because the list included a work that was initially banned but then later, by a of a higher court, had the ban lifted. Along with the title of work, the rationale for the ban is also cited. The list is structured by years and, inter alia, shows that most publications were banned in the early 1970s (1970 – 9, 1971 – 19, 1972 – 28, 1973 – 8, 1974 – 15, 1975 – 4) and in the mid-1980s (1984 – 17, 1985 – 7, 1986 – 9, 1987 – 7). The document is available for research and copying.
Marko Lopušina, co-author of the feuilleton, has systematically researched censorship practices in the former Yugoslavia and published two books on that subject: Crna knjiga - cenzura u Jugoslaviji 1945-91. [Black Book – censorship in Yugoslavia 1945-91] published in 1991, and Crna knjiga – cenzura u Srbiji 1945-2015. [Black book – censorship in Serbia 1945-2015], published in 2015.
Most specialists and fans of rock music in Romania agree that three albums marked the history of this musical genre under communism: (1) Muguri de fluier (Flute buds) of 1974, an LP by the Timișoara-based band Phoenix; (2) Zalmoxe of 1979, the album by the Bucharest-based band Sfinx, which underwent tedious a three-year process of protracted censorship until its release, although it was named after the famous god of the Dacians, the ancestors of the Romanians who under Ceaușescu’s regime took prominence over the Romans in the myth of common descent; and (3) Cantafabule of 1975 by the same Phoenix. Together with Sfinx, Phoenix was among the most innovative rock bands in communist Romania, and is credited with developing the so-called ethno-rock style. This represented an original synthesis of lyrics inspired from ancestral traditions and pre-Christian folklore with modern sounds specific to progressive and psychedelic rock. More than a decade after their debut, already at the height of their musical career, Phoenix created during the winter of 1974–1975 what remains to this day their masterpiece: the double LP entitled Cantafabule (erroneously printed on the front cover as “Cantofabule”). The lyrics were the work of two very talented poets from Timișoara, Andrei Ujică and Şerban Foarță, who had also collaborated with Phoenix to create their previous hit, Muguri de Fluier. This album, however, was far less oriented towards local sources of inspiration than the previous one, which had highlighted autochthonous pre-modern traditions. For the new album, the two poets took inspiration from Western medieval bestiaries and authored a universal story about a series of mythological creatures, some small and rather innocent, such as the unicorn or the scarab, and others vicious and dangerous, such as the asp and the basilisk. Towards the end of the rock poem, which has fourteen parts, all these fantastic creatures enter into a fierce conflict with each other, which leads to a new beginning. Accordingly, the last piece of the album is dedicated to the fantastic bird of rebirth and eternal return, the phoenix, which gave its name to the band. Phoenix toured entire Romania to stage concerts with this rock poem. During concerts, the members of the band dressed in special costumes to interpret these fantastic animals and used volunteer students to complete the entire gallery of mythological creatures, which were also represented on the cover of the album. Cantafabule was a best-seller of that time, as it seems that half a million copies were sold, according to the estimations of the members of the band. It is from this album that the phrase came which rock fans and the eternal admirers of this band use to greet one another: Fie să renască (Be it reborn). Two years after the release of the album, all the members of the group (except for one) managed to clandestinely cross the border, so all pieces by Phoenix were banned in communist Romania. Yet, the band survived in the collective memory of its fans, while its albums, which became extremely expensive items on the black market, continued to disseminate their music among younger generations who did not have the chance to attend its concerts. The last of the Phoenix albums produced under communism, Cantafabule represents to this day a great achievement due to its original blend of ancestral lyrics and modern music, a genuine masterpiece of rock in Romania.