Soviet-era Clandestine Printing Press
Keston’s information about this image is somewhat limited. The original photo was taken by Friedensstimme, most probably in the year 1974, when a hand-made printing machine like this one was discovered in a house in Latvia and confiscated by the authorities. Four women, workers of the Initsiativniki Publishing House “Christian”, were arrested on October 24, 1974 for being in possession of this printing machine. According to an article published in the Russian journal Vestnik Istiny (No. 2-3, 1977), this kind of printing press could print 400 copies of the gospels during one working day. These Latvian women were Initsiativniki, a dissident wing of the Soviet Baptist community that emerged after a split in the church’s ranks in 1961. According to scholar Julian Birch, this movement was “an interesting and indeed unusual example of cross-national, or State-wide, dissent within the USSR.
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The Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
- Kulick, Orysia Maria
- Park, Sandra