Samizdat was the clandestine copying and distribution of government-suppressed literature or other media in Soviet-bloc countries. Copies were made a few at a time, and those who received a copy would be expected to make more copies. This was often done by handwriting or typing. This grassroots practice to evade officially imposed censorship was fraught with danger as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials.
I myself create it, edit it, censor it, publish it, distribute it, and [may] get imprisoned for it.Essentially, the samizdat copies of text, such as Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita or Václav Havel's writing The Power of the Powerless, were passed among friends. The techniques to reproduce the forbidden literature and periodicals varied from making several copies of the content using carbon paper, either by hand or on a typewriter, to printing the books on semi-professional printing presses in larger quantities. Before glasnost, the practice was dangerous, since copy machines, printing presses and even typewriters in offices were under control of the First Departments (KGB outposts): for all of them reference printouts were stored for identification purposes.
Samizdat definition by Vladimir Bukovsky
Etymologically, the word "samizdat" is made out of "sam" ("self, by oneself") and (Russian: shortened "izdat"izdatel'stvo, "publishing house"), thus, self published. The term was coined as a pun by Russian poet Nikolai Glazkov in the 1940s, who typed copies of his poems indicating "Samsebyaizdat" ("Myself by Myself Publishers") on the front page in an analogy with the names of Soviet official publishing houses, such as Politizdat or Detizdat ("literature for children").