Belarus censors Russian literature and movies

Belarus is to set up a committee to check all Russian films and books for immorality and dissolute content, Russian website cites Georgi Marchuk of the Belarusian Writers' Union as saying.

"The morality committee is a public organization, which consists of Belarusian writers, artists, and some people of the artistic world. Also, we want to ask specialists from the Ministry of Culture, Education and Information to help us," Marchuk said.

The new committee will inspect all films and novels from Russia which might offend Belarusian society.

"We just want to protect our citizens against films and books, propagandizing pornography, violence and ethnic hatred. Liberty is good, but we are against liberty, which oversteps the limits, liberty bordering on licentiousness," Marchuk added.

Marchuk named Marius Balchunas' film "Hitler Kaput!" and contemporary postmodern Russian writer and dramatist Vladimir Sorokin's novel "Goluboe Salo," as examples of immoral works.

The committee has not started operating yet. However, Marchuk has told the Russian newspaper Kommersant how they will work.

"At first, we will ask the producer of the film or writer of the novel to cut the pornographic, violent or extremist scenes. If that does not help, we will ask Belarusian law-enforcement agencies to deprive the producers of their license and to put them on trial," Marchuk said.

Marchuk is adamant that the new committee has nothing in common with soviet era censorship, because the organization analyzes only finalized artistic output.

Despite Marchuk's claims, many observers in Minsk believe that the new body serves a purely political end. They consider that the committee was set up just to control Russian production, which accounts for 85% of the Belarusian market.



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