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Samizdat (Russian "self-publishing") was a form of dissident activity across the Communist Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by hand, and passed the documents from reader to reader. The practice of manual reproduction was widespread, due to the fact that most typewriters and printing devices were inventorized and required permission to access. This grassroots practice to evade official censorship was fraught with danger, as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials.

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