I read on social media yesterday that Russian ebook giant LitRes had added a button on its website for readers who want to file a complaint against any of the books it offers for violating Russian laws. To see whether this was true, I punched up the most popular recent Russian book among readers of this website, Katerina Silvanova and Elena Malisova’s runaway LGBTQ+ romance bestseller A Summer in a Young Pioneer’s Tie.
Indeed, there is such a button, located below the book’s description and right next to a summary of its front matter. In the screenshot I took, above, I’ve drawn a black box around the button, which reads, “Does the book violate the law? Complain about the book.”
If you do the unthinkable and press the button, a window pops up:
“What do you want to complain about?” the prompt asks. The choices are “Promotion of narcotics,” “Promotion of suicide,” “Violence/extremism,” “Copyright violation,” and “Promotion of LGBT and/or Pedophilia.” You are then asked to “describe the violation” in 1,500 characters or less and dispatch your complaint to LitRes’s law-abiding overlords by hitting the big orange-red “Complain” button.
A quick scan of the 113 titles in my own “bookshelf” on LitRes and some of the book’s suggested to me by the service revealed, however, that readers cannot file a complaint against any book they wish. Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem, for example, is beyond suspicion, as you can see in the screenshot, below. ||| TRR