I take Aleksandr Daniel’s definition (which I heard also from Dmitrii Prigov) of samizdat as a special “mode of existence of the text” (Daniel’, “Istoki i smysl” 17 - Please see “Selected Sources”). The production of Soviet samizdat occurred outside of official print institutions and censorship. Characteristic of the distribution of samizdat was the fact that it happened beyond the author’s control. Daniel’ also described samizdat in terms of “socially significant” texts. This qualification might be confusing. It is not any particular content that defines samizdat.


A large number of Soviet samizdat periodical editions label themselves al’manakhi, a term that does not translate well into English. In English, an almanac is “an annual table, or book of tables, containing a calendar of months and days, usu. with astronomical data and other information, formerly including astrological and astrometeorological forecasts” (Shorter Oxford English Dict., 5 ed.).