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April 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Some 130 newly declassified CIA documents have revealed how the CIA published copies of Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago in Russia and distributed them secretly into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s, CBS News reported on Monday. The book had been banned by the Kremlin, inasmuch as it was regarded as critical of the Communists’ censorship of literary artists. One of the memos, written in April 1958, explained the CIA effort this way: “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.” Pasternak himself later said that he always wondered how the book wound up in the Soviet Union, given that no commercial publisher would agree to print it in Russian. A movie version of the novel was filmed by British director David Lean in 1965, starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. It, too, was banned by the Soviet Union and was not screened in Russia until 30 years later.