Lithuanian Press Ban

As punishment for the January Uprising and an attempt to Russify Lithuania, from 1865 until 1904 it was illegal to print or distribute any books in Latin within the Russian Empire. To counter this, Lithuanians organized printing outside the Empire’s reach and smuggled books in. Stores were put up as fronts for underground bookstores. The ban was mostly unsuccessful. In the final years, 30,000 to 40,000 books were “illegally” brought in.

While access to material is so easy today, we forget that people have violently fought for their right to learn along the way. I’ve been asked before if the books I read would be considered dangerous. My response is, “Only if you read them.” It’s a touch dramatic but to read is to see. To see is to change.

Vincas Juška, Lithuanian Book Smuggler