On Hold

Forbidden Rock Music in the USSR

Typewritten list of prohibited records, cassette tapes, videotapes, books, posters, and other materials connected with foreign rock music groups, both for import and export.

[Soviet Union, ca. 1985]. Single leaf of typescript to recto, measuring 30 × 21 см. Very light wear to edges; very good.

A curious artifact of the period during Andropov's rule, when a short but powerful effort was made to combat the influence of rock music in the Soviet Union. According to some sources, such materials were distributed among Komsomol organizations. It is also possible that they were used as guideliines for customs and postal workers (see below).
The list contains prohibits the import of records, cassette tapes, videotapes, books, posters, and any other materials connected with foreign rock music groups, citing famous ones such as the Sex Pistols and Pink Floyd alongside lesser-known ones, as well as foreign concerts of Russian performers. The second paragraph lists Russian groups whose work "have a tendency to distort Soviet reality and propagate ideals foreign to us," forbidding from import any recordings, including self-made tapes, of these. The performers include Mukhomor, Primus, Akvarium, DDT, and many others, including regional groups.
Provenance: from a collector who was actively trading records and cassette tapes with foreign countries in the 1970-80s. In a statement, he described sending records of classical music by the "Melodiya" publisher abroad and receiving foreign discs with rock music. He was acquainted with numerous women who worked at the Moscow central post office, which he used to send and receive the parcels, and one of them gave him the present list. He later learned that they maintained informal relations with the KGB.

We could not trace any similar document in public hands.

Book ID: 51543