70 years a ban on the balalaika in the U.S.

The second in October 2010 Barack Obama extended the ban on the sale balalaika in the U.S. until 2020. Background goes back to pre-war time, when the then head of the Washington administration Franklin Roosevelt signed a secret decree banning balalaika in the country for 10 years. It happened in 1940. Since then, the decree is regularly renewed. Since 2000, the decree of the Clinton ban extended to Alaska, which was the only place where the sale was allowed. Balalaika Alaska is considered the national musical instrument. During Roosevelt’s time, these lands have not yet had the status of the state, so a ban was circumvented by loopholes in the legislation.
The reason for the ban formally was the fact that the balalaika is prohibited in Russia, the Orthodox church and state because “allows you to mock the authorities.” For details, see the link. In fact, in what was then the Soviet Union ban was already lifted. But the Orthodox Church is just banned. Roosevelt was right about one thing - this tool is really dangerous for the government because it can be used as a “soft power.”
Today, the ban remains in an incomplete form. To play the balalaika is not prohibited, although it needs to have a special license. Not allowed bulk sale of this instrument, and industrial manufacturing. Single private sales are allowed. That’s why John Flynn book “How to make a balalaika”, (luth.org / downloads / Flynn-Balalaika-GAL.pdf) was issued in 1984 enjoys a fantastic popularity and has withstood the 9 editions. For ordinary Americans who wish to enjoy the sounds of the balalaika, there is no way how to make it yourself. And buy a balalaika in the store will be impossible for at least another ten years.

7 March 2011

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