DURING COLD WAR, CIA USED ‘DOCTOR ZHIVAGO’ AS A TOOL TO UNDERMINE SOVIET UNION

During the Cold War, the CIA loved literature — novels, short stories, poems. Joyce, Hemingway, Eliot. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov.

Books were weapons, and if a work of literature was unavailable or banned in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, it could be used as propaganda to challenge the Soviet version of reality. Over the course of the Cold War, as many as 10 million copies of books and magazines were secretly distributed by the agency behind the Iron Curtain as part of a political warfare campaign.

In this light, “Doctor Zhivago” was a golden opportunity for the CIA.