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Dr. Zhivago Used by CIA to Drive Dissent in Soviet Union

secretThe CIA used Boris Pasternak’s epic novel Doctor Zhivago as a force to spread dissent in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The Post has published declassified documents that reveled that the CIA circulated copies of the book, which was banned in the USSR, for its propaganda value. NPR has more:

The agency called the book “a passive but piercing exposition of the effect of the Soviet system on the life of a sensitive intelligent citizen.” The memo notes that the book is valuable “not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication: we have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read.” Careful not to show the “hand of the United States government,” the CIA had two Russian-language editions printed and passed them to Soviet citizens abroad.

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