What Do Ian Spiegelman and Vladimir Nabokov Have in Common?

New York City gossip reporter turned novelist Ian Spiegelman is the latest victim of Vladimir Putin’s vicious crackdown on the rights of the Russian proletariat.

Ever since his novel Everyone’s Burning, which explores the drugged-out lives of disaffected kids in Bayside, was picked up by the Moscow publishing house AST in April of 2004, Mr. Spiegelman has been eagerly anticipating the day the Russian-language version would occupy a spot on his shelf. “It’s not like I thought I was going to make any money off this,” said Mr. Spiegelman, who is from strong Slavic stock himself. “I just thought it would be cool to see my book translated in Russian.”

But last month, at the London Book Fair, AST editor in chief Nikolay Naumenko told Mr. Spiegelman’s American representative, Markus Hoffmann of Regal Literary, that his company would not be allowed to publish Everyone’s Burning, in accordance with Russia’s new campaign “to discourage drug use and the glamorization of drug use in other media,” as Mr. Hoffmann put it.

“Everyone in the book either dies, gets impotent or goes insane,” complained Mr. Spiegelman, who’s currently co-writing a book with Allen Raymond about how Mr. Raymond and the Republicans stole the 2002 Senatorial elections for John Sununu. “How is that glamorizing drugs?”

At least he’s in good literary company: Irvine Welsh’s award-winning novel Trainspotting is also on AST’s banned list.

What Do Ian Spiegelman and Vladimir Nabokov Have in Common?