A controversial publishing
house accused the Federal Anti-Drug Service of
censorship Tuesday after it ordered that a book about
marijuana be pulled from the shelves.
The service issued the order
last week, citing a ruling two weeks ago by an Ulyanovsk
court that declared the book "Marijuana, the Forbidden
Medicine" to be drug propaganda.
At a press conference
Tuesday, Ultra Kultura, which published the Russian
translation, said the order was reminiscent of Soviet
"Society has a right to
access to information," Ultra Kultura editor Vladimir
Kharitonov said. "The government is starting to
interfere in ways we have not seen for a long, long
The 1993 book, by Lester
Grinspoon and James Bakalar, is a compilation of
testimonials on the medical uses of marijuana. Article
6.13 of the Administrative Code prohibits "propaganda or
illegal advertisement of narcotics."
Ultra Kultura editor-in-chief
Ilya Kormiltsev, speaking at the press conference via
telephone from London, said the Anti-Drug Service was
too late: Almost all of the 2,000 copies of the book
that were printed have already been sold.
But "Marijuana, the Forbidden
Medicine" was not the only book targeted, the publishing
house said. Kormiltsev said the Anti-Drug Service,
without legal grounds, told the book distribution
company Stolitsa-Service to pull two other drug-themed
books published by Ultra Kultura, and that the Federal
Security Service had made similar recommendations
regarding four Ultra Kultura books on terrorism,
including the Russian translation of Adam Parfrey's
"Extreme Islam," or "Allah Dislikes America" in
An FSB spokesperson declined
to comment Tuesday.
In an interview with
Kommersant published Tuesday, Alexander Mikhailov,
deputy director of the Anti-Drug Service, denied it was
"We're tracking adherence to
laws and leading an uncompromising battle against
drugs," he said. "Censorship is interference in the
stage of preparation to publish books and printed
materials. We don't do that."
Mikhailov said that if
Kormiltsev does not change his publishing policy,
sanctions may be imposed on him personally.
Kormiltsev was undeterred. "I
haven't made any changes so far, and I don't plan
Ultra Kultura is known for
publishing controversial authors, including National
Bolshevik Party leader Eduard Limonov.