The first text reminds of the prison mistreatment of Šešelj, sentenced in 1984 to eight years’ imprisonment for “counterrevolutionary activity” (Dragović-Soso 2002, 58). For years he was known for challenging local Bosnian authorities and intellectuals. Consequently, he was dismissed from the University of Sarajevo where he worked as an assistant and was expelled from the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. However, Šešelj was sentenced primarily due to “his proposal (in an unpublished manuscript) to revise the number of federal units in Yugoslavia” (C.A.D.D.Y. Bulletin no. 28 1985, 3). Here Šešelj suggested that Serbia be unified with Montenegro and that Bosnia and Herzegovina be partitioned between Serbia and Croatia, while denying Muslim and Montenegrin nationhood (Dragović-Soso 2002, 57).
The featured item communicates arguments which defend Šešelj’s right to freedom of expression. C.A.D.D.Y. argued that Šešelj’s proposal could be subject to debate; however, it is not grounds for criminal prosecution.
The text concludes with proposals of the Committee for Protection of Artistic Freedom, calling for an end to Šešelj’s persecution and to respect his human rights as a prisoner.
The second text discussed the previous C.A.D.D.Y. Bulletin issue (no. 27), which reported on the sentences of the Belgrade Six. The text reported that Western countries are aware of the crackdown on the “Free University” and other arrests and sought to communicate to the Yugoslav government that repression of freedom of opinion and expression is “not free of costs” (C.A.D.D.Y. Bulletin no. 28 1985, 3).
The case of the Belgrade Six took place in 1984 when twenty-eight members of the “Free University” were arrested while attending a presentation given by “Yugoslav dissident no.1” Milovan Đilas. They were interrogated and some were subjected to physical abuse resulting in one suicide attempt and one case of death under mysterious circumstances. Afterwards six members of the “Free University” were indicated in court (Vladimir Mijanović, Miodrag Milić, Dragomir Olujić, Pavluško Imširović, Milan Nikolić, and Gordan Jovanović).The two cases of Šešelj and the Belgrade Six, both taking place in 1984, were crucial to the radicalisation of the intellectual opposition in Yugoslavia. The Belgrade intelligentsia, now accompanied by colleagues in Zagreb and Ljubljana, undertook a series of protest actions such as calling for high officials to resign from their positions, writing petitions, forming new dissident committees, with the Committee for the Defence of Freedom of Thought and Expression being the most important. The committee went as far as opposing the entire legitimacy of the Yugoslav regime and demanding the abolition of the one-party system, free elections, a free press, and an independent judiciary (Dragović-Soso 2002, 60).
Correspondence between Cinematography Commission of the Government of the People’s Republic of Croatia (PRC) and Cinematography Commission of the Government of Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) in December 1950 on the screening of Soviet movies in Croatian cinemas, illustrates the control by the Communist Party and state authorities over the import and distribution of films for screening in cinemas, as well as subordination of film repertoires to political and ideological needs.
Films produced in communist Yugoslavia until 1948 were based on the principle of socialist realism inspired by the USSR. The entire film industry developed under the ideological principles which directed the newly established state towards Marxist and socialist cinematography (Lučić 2015, p. 23). Accordingly, cinema repertoires were dominated by films from the USSR, while the influence of movies from Western countries, which were also screened, remained slight. After the Tito-Stalin Split (Yugoslav-Soviet Split) in 1948, Soviet movies stayed on cinema repertoires across Yugoslavia, but with increasing competition from Western, especially American movies (Lučić 2015, p. 71).
In a specific case, the Cinematography Commission informed Cinematography Commission of the Government of the FPRY of findings that film audiences were “protesting against the screening of particular Soviet films,” and that “a certain confusion” was caused by some scenes in domestic documentaries in which photographs of Stalin could be seen. While these film were “approved by the censors, but audiences were protesting against Soviet films,” the Cinematography Commission asked for urgent instructions as to whether it should any Soviet films should be removed from the cinema repertoire, and if so, which ones (HR-HDA-309. CC of the Government of PRC, file st. conf. 32/1950).
- Zagreb Trg Marka Marulića 21, Croatia 10000
Year of creation:
- Featured item of:
On the occasion of the nineteenth Party conference, held in Moscow in late June 1988, in the context of the increasingly obvious reformist tendencies of the late Perestroika period, Viktor Koval filed a petition requesting the revision of his case, his full rehabilitation, and his release from the psychiatric hospital. This petition was examined by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Moldavian SSR in early October 1988. On 6 October, the special prosecutor responsible for supervising KGB investigations, M. V. Prodan, issued a special resolution denying Koval’s request and upholding the earlier decision of the Supreme Court. This resolution was approved by the General Prosecutor of the Moldavian SSR, N. K. Demidenko, six days later, on 12 October. This document is especially significant as it shows the reluctance of the Soviet justice system to acknowledge the repressive character of punitive psychiatry (and thus its own subservience to the regime) even as late as 1988, despite the general atmosphere of liberalisation. The prosecutor based his decision on the fact that Koval’s purported “socially dangerous acts” were confirmed by “the witness accounts, the material evidence, the conclusions of the psychiatric assessment, and the evaluation of the defendant’s handwriting,” as well as by other documents from the KGB file. After reviewing these materials, the prosecutor concluded that Koval’s assertions and papers comprised “certain well-founded critical remarks concerning the imperfections of our socialist society. At the same time, the essence of his activity did not focus on the criticism of the existing flaws in order to remove them from society. Rather, he constantly emphasised the advantages of the capitalist system and the Western way of life, and used rude and insulting expressions in connection with the role of the ruling communist party. He also stated demagogically that the people lacked any rights, that the country was ruled through fascist methods, and that the people were exploited. His main goal is obvious – to discredit the socialist order and the system of state power.” This assessment provided a glimpse into the logic of the regime’s actions and into the reasons for qualifying Koval’s case of political opposition as particularly dangerous. Although ritualistically invoking the results of the psychiatric assessment, the prosecutor in fact synthesised the regime’s attitude toward Koval’s and other similar examples of “ideological deviance.” It is not surprising that the official found the decision to subject Koval to forced medical treatment to be “correct” and rejected his petition for rehabilitation as “unfounded.” However, the prosecutor’s arguments seem more sincere and less euphemistic than earlier instances of comparable legal documents, probably reflecting a slight change in emphasis (if not in essence). Koval’s release from hospital only occurred in May 1990, when the article incriminating him was excluded from the Penal Code. His final rehabilitation followed in November 1991, when the Moldovan Supreme Court annulled the previous judicial decisions and openly admitted that Koval had suffered for his political opinions. However, even on that occasion punitive psychiatry as such was not officially condemned by the Moldovan justice system. It was only following a recommendation of the Presidential Commission for the Study and Evaluation of the Communist Regime in Moldova that the government officially condemned the use of psychiatric hospitals as a major strategy for the repression of dissent during the later stages of the Soviet regime.
The poster for the first feminist-lesbian cultural night, organized by the Lilith Women’s Club, was made by the artist known under the pseudonym Jona Veronika Rev. This event, held in Ljubljana April 1984, is considered the first public lesbian gathering in Yugoslavia. The poster is a unique piece of art, currently exhibited at the Lesbian Library and Archive in Ljubljana. The painter, Jona Veronika Rev, was a frequent collaborator of Lilit and, later on, Section LL of the ŠKUC Association. Since 1984, Rev has made several posters and visuals for their events, including the front-page illustration for the special issue of Mladina, dedicated to lesbianism with the title ”We Love Women“ (”Ljubimo ženske,” Mladina, no. 37, Oct. 30, 1987, Ljubljana). The poster, alongside an invitation for the event and a round table discussion on sexuality, contains feminist and lesbian visual cues and symbols, decorated with a hammer and sickle, the symbol of the international workers’ and communist movement. A leaflet, lost since then, was handed out with a copy of the poster. It referred to various modes of lesbian gender expression so as to communicate the nature of the event clearly to lesbians, without explicitly calling it lesbian. Such semi-clandestine means of communication demonstrate the necessity of keeping lesbian identity hidden in the then predominantly homonegative social context.
- Ljubljana Metelkova ulica 6, Slovenia 1000
Year of creation:
- Featured item of:
The Czechoslovak Writer Publishing House collection deposited in the Literary Archive of the Museum of Czech Literature (LA PNP) contains sources documenting the course of review processes, which often led to demands for changes to literary works. This was also the case for the experimental text entitled “Dancing lessons for the advanced in age” (1964) written by the well-known Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal (1914–1997). This text was finally shortened by the author following the reviewers’ requirements. “Dancing lessons for the advanced in age” consists of the only continuous and unfinished sentence representing the monologue of the seventy-year-old uncle Pepin who recalls his past. Other sources stored in the LA PNP documents include the prohibition of Hrabal's collection of short stories “Lark on a String”.