Historama, September 19

Ban on bell-ringing introduced in the Soviet Union and a book that got its writer exiled for excessive pessimism are recalled in tonight’s Historama.

­Empress exiles writer for depicting grim reality

Today in 1790, Russian writer Aleksandr Radishchev was banished to Siberia for 10 years. The punishment was handed down for his writing the novel, “Trip from St. Petersburg to Moscow.”

In the book, Radishchev depicted the harsh realities of life as a Russian serf. Empress Ekaterina the Great said the writer was a greater danger to the monarchy than the leader of an armed rebellion.

At first, Radishchev was sentenced to death, but then Ekaterina changed her mind.

After returning from exile, the writer continued to fight for the abolition of serfdom. This did not happen, however, until 60 years after his death.

­Soviet Union forbids ringing bells

Today in 1923, Soviet bosses banned church bell ringing.

Under the decree, anyone caught attempting to organize a counter-revolutionary gathering by ringing bells would face a tribunal.

In practice, this meant people could not ring the bells at all.

Later, it was proposed to melt them down for industrial purposes. Hundreds of unique bells were destroyed during this period.

Read more on this day in Russian history

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