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Valuyev Circular

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Valuyev Circular  (1863) 
by Pyotr Valuyev

The Valuev Circular of 18 July 1863 was a secret decree (ukaz) of the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire Pyotr Valuev (Valuyev) by which a large portion of the publications in Ukrainian language was prohibited.

July 18, 1863

For some time there has been discussion in our press about the possibility of the establishment of an independent Little Russian literature. This discussion was occasioned by the works of certain writers who distinguished themselves by their more-or-less outstanding talent or their originality. But lately, the question of the Little Russian literature has changed character, resulting from purely political circumstances, without any relationship to strictly literary matters. Previous works in the Little Russian language were aimed only at the educated classes of southern Russia, but now the proponents of Little Russian ethnicity have turned their attention to the uneducated masses, and those who seek to realize their political ambitions have, under the pretense of spreading literacy and education, taken to publishing reading primers, alphabet books, grammar and geography textbooks, etc. Among those activists were many individuals whose criminal activities were under investigation by the special commission.

In St Petersburg, they even collect donations for the publication of inexpensive books in the south Russian dialect. Many of these books have already come under the scrutiny of the St Petersburg Censorship Committee. Quite a few of such books turn up at the Kiev Censorship Committee. The latter has particular difficulties with approval of the mentioned publications, due to the following circumstances:

  1. instruction in all schools without exception is in the common Russian language, and the use in schools of the Little Russian language is not permitted;
  2. not only does the question of the benefit and possibilities of using the dialect in schools remain unsettled, but even the mention of this question prompts indignation from most Little Russians, as is frequently expressed in the press.

They thoroughly corroborate that a separate Little Russian language has never existed, does not exist and cannot exist, and that their dialect, used by commoners, is just the Russian Language, only corrupted by the influence of Poland; that the common Russian language is as intelligible to the Little Russians as to Great Russians, and even more intelligible than the one now created for them by some Little Russians and especially by Poles, the so-called Ukrainian language. Persons of this circle, who are trying to prove the contrary, are reproached by the majority of Little Russians themselves for separatist plots, hostile to Russia and disastrous for Little Russia.

This phenomenon is even more regrettable and deserving of attention, because it coincides with the political plans of the Poles, who might be credited with its origin, judging by the manuscripts submitted to censorship and by the fact that most of the Little Russian works are actually submitted by Poles. Finally, the Kiev Governor-General finds the public release of the Little Russian translation of the New Testament currently under consideration by the ecclesiastical censor to be dangerous and harmful.

Taking into account on the one hand the current worrisome state of society agitated by political events, and on the other hand bearing in mind that the question of teaching literacy in local dialects has not yet reached a conclusive resolution in the legislative establishment, The Interior Minister recognizes the need, pending agreement with the Minister of Education, the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, and the Chief of Gendarmes regarding the publication of books in the Little Russian language, to order the censors to only allow publication of those works in this language which fall into the category of belle-lettres; the approval of books in the Little Russian language of a spiritual nature, as well as educational books and those intended for the initial reading by the commoners, is suspended. This order was conferred under the attention of the Highest Sovereign Emperor, and His Majesty was pleased to confirm it with his royal approval.

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.

Original:

This work is in the public domain in Russia because:

  • it was published anonymously or under a pseudonym before January 1, 1943 and the name of the author did not become known during 50 years after publication (before January 1, 1993), or
  • it was published anonymously or under a pseudonym after January 1, 1943, and the name of the author did not become known during 70 years after publication (as of 2022, this applies to works published before January 1, 1952), or
  • the work is non-amateur cinema or television film (or shots or fragments from it), which was first shown between January 1, 1929 and January 1, 1952 (over 70 years ago), or
  • the creator died over 74 years ago (before January 1, 1948), or
  • the creator died over 70 years ago (before January 1, 1952) and did not fight in or work during the Great Patriotic War (June 22, 1941–May 9, 1945).

If the author was subjected to repression and rehabilitated posthumously, countdown of copyright protection begins not from the death date, but from the rehabilitation date. If the work was first published posthumously, the copyright term is counted from the date of that first publication, unless the author was later rehabilitated, in which case it runs again from that later rehabilitation date.

(Article 1281 of the Russian Civil Code; Article 6 of Federal Law 231-FZ from December 18, 2006).


This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was first published outside the United States (and not published in the U.S. within 30 days), and it was first published before 1989 without complying with U.S. copyright formalities (renewal and/or copyright notice) and it was in the public domain in Russia on the URAA date (January 1, 1996). This is the combined effect of Russia having joined the Berne Convention in 1995, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996. The critical dates for copyright in the United States are January 1, 1943 for anonymous works; January 1, 1922 if the creator fought in the Great Patriotic War; January 1, 1926 otherwise.


This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Translation:

This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license, which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed—and if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same license as this one.