Copy No. '
SOVIET STAFF STUDY
THE SOVIET WRITER AND SOVIET CULTURAL POLICY
Office of Current Intelligence
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
This working paper is another study in the series prepared under Project CAESAR. Project CAESAR is designed to providoanalyses froa all Intelligence sources of developments affecting leading members of the Soviot hierarchy, their political and personal associations, policies with which they havo been Identified, and politicalchanges which affect the Soviot leadership situation.
While the papers in this series areand checked for factual accuracy within OCI, the interpretations are those of tbe authors and do not represent the official views of CIA.
THE SOVIET WHITER AND SOVIET CULTURAL POLICY
Summary and Conclusion Introduction
Relaxation of Restraintshe Official "Thaw"
Protest Against Duhumanization of Literature Appeals for Greater Latitude
Official Restraints Without Repressionpring
Tightening the Reins
Preparations for Second Writers' Congress Criticism of Literary Bureaucracy The Second Writers' Congress New Literary Currents
De-Stalinization in Literature
Psychological Inpact of De-Stallnization "Ideological Confusion" Official Confusion
Roassertion of Orthodoxy
Vigorous Official Counterattack Official Reconsiderations
"The Feat of Silence" Khrushchev's Literary Prograa Literary Stalemate Searchew Accommodation
THE SOVIET WRITER AND SOVIET CULTURAL POLICY
Summary and Conclusions
"The lag botweeo literature andofficial Soviet euphemism for the failure of writers to fulfill their propagandisticassumed unique and even dramatic characteristics in the period since Stalin's death. The pressure for greater creative freedom, appearing initially3 as cautious protests by veteran writers against the standards of the Stalin era and developing later intoassaults by both old and young writers, was officially condoned until it came into open conflict with the dictates of political orthodoxy. When the official brakes and the pressure for retrenchment were applied, in4 and again in it wan expected that literature would return to its traditional position as the handmaiden of politics. Instead, emarkable display of the Soviet literaryleast its most Influential and talentedto resist being wooed or cajoled into total submission. In their resolute and protracted feat of resistance, Soviet writers haveeasure of personal integrity and unity of purpose unmatched by any other segment of Soviet society.
esult of tbe fluctuations in official policy and the durability of the pressures for liberalization,literaturo has been carried beyond tbe confines of the Stalin era. While continuing to suffer fromof content, stereotypes of character, and distortions of truth, Soviet literaturo has in recent years probed aroas of human activity rarely frequented during Stalin's Not only did the heretical literary workshrenburg's The Thaa, Dudintsev's Sot by Bread Alone, anda II) depart from earliernd taboos, but oven the officially approved worksornoychuk's Wings, Nikulayeva's Battle on the Way, and Kochetov's Tho Brothers Yorshov) mirrored some of the more unseemly aspects of Soviet society. Even more significant than the changes in literary content has been the striking change in the intellectual milieu governing creative activity. The opening of wider avenues of communication within the literary profession3 has led to thsemergenceind of Intellectual life impossible under Stalin. The
change In the intellectual climate, which was dramatized by tbe outbursts of nonconformityas been mostreflected in the willingness of increasing numbers of writers to express their genuine convictions in public, even though these views have repeatedly been at odds with established norms. The fact that such expressions ofand conviction have continued to manifest themselveseasure of the greater toleration accorded writers during the post-Stalin period.
One of the more important aspects of the change ln the intellectual climate has been the transformation of attitudes among leading members of the literary profession. Writers who in the past were consistently conformist have in the more relaxed conditions of the post-Stalin period appeared as ardent advocates of greater freedom in the arts. Ilya Ehrenburg has stood at the forefront of the erstwhile official apologists who, while continuing to render Caesar his duo at international conferences and official functions, have pluggedidening of the frontiers in their own professional life. Capitalizing on their internationaland loyal service to the regime, these veterans have sought to remove the trammels on creative initiative and place Soviet literary activityounder footing.
By virtue of their exceptional talents and enormous prestlgo, the established writers have been able toar greater influence than their numbersfact that hasonstant source of concern to tbe regime in its efforts to recruit new talents more receptive todictate. Proof of the intellectual appeal of such literary veterans as Ehrenburg, Tvardovsky, and Panferov has been reflected ln the moderate treatment accorded their iconoclasm, as well as ln their retention of influential positions in the literary profession. Although members of the older generation of Soviet writers have passed through official censure relatively unscathed, they have, byfrequently been charged with actively encouraging the spread of undesirable attitudes among the "politicallyyoungergeneration which has shown surprisingly little respect for the traditions of the past.
The tenacity with which heretical opinions have survived in the Soviet literary community, as well as the success enjoyed by writers in evading official controls and resisting
official pressures, has in part resulted from the more moderate policies of the post-Stalin regime. Instead of bludgeoning writers with indiscriminate personal attacks, purges, or worse, the regime has sought to persuade and convert writers to its cause. This policy has been calculated to stimulate creative output while at tbe same time keeping dissidence within bounds. However, because the controls imposed have not been rigid enough to prevent questioning and the concessions to writers not extensive enough to satisfy them, this policy has perpetuated the very element of resistance tbat it was designed to curb.
The continued vitality of the pressures formight also be explained by the nature of tho creative process itself. Host Soviet writers are probably ascommitted psychologically to tho principle of creative freedom as their Western counterparts. Tothe vast majority ofhave made peace with their environment in the belief that their ideals can be realized within the official framework, conformity with official values has probably not involved any severeof conscience. To those with unusual talent who aspire to capture artistically the depth and variety of human experience, however, the official prescriptions and proscriptions have generated resentment and disgust. From this group havo come the standard-bearers of artisticwho have servedallying point for those anxious to defend and expand the scope of creative activity.
Despite its political overtones, tbe movement toSoviet literature from the false values andcontrols of the past has been largely apolitical in character. What tbe Soviot writers havethis is clear from their works of art and publicnot so much to be free to attack the prevailing ideology, or even to discuss political issues, but simply to describe life as they seo it without constant reference to ideology. Bored or disgusted with the artificial stereotypes of good and evil and irritated by constant official interference, they long for an opportunity to create with greaterand variety. Instead of attempting to challenge the foundations of the political order which they have come to accept in principle, the writers have appealedeasure of professional autonomy under which they could freely espouse the very ideals to which the regime is publicly committed.
Apart from their determination to write spontaneously and honestly, there was probably no defined aiai uniting the bolder voices in the Soviet literary community. Inadherence to truth in art, many of them sincerelythey wore advancing official objectives as well as expressing the "wisdom of the masses." In most instances the exposures of bureaucratic abuses in belles-lettresnotevotion to truth and individual human values, butrimitive faith in socialist and patriotic ideals. In short, what the more outspoken writers were assorting wasorale indictment of corruption, inhumanity, and injustice, but in so doing they probably conceived themselves not as the opponents of tho regime but as the bearers of Its conscience.
While ostensibly moral and apolitical in tone and professional in purpose, however, the demands of Soviet writers for greater creative latitude have inevitably had far-reaching political implications in the eyes of the regime. In attempting to depict reality as their consciencesnot as the regime seeswriters have, in effect, threatened to usurp the party leadership's role inand prescribing for the ills of Soviet society. made this clear at the Third writers' Congress in9 when he asserted, "Listen, dear friends. If thore is anyone who discloses and lays bare deficiencies and vices and whose hand does not falter in this process, it is the party and its central committee." Sensitive about its the party leadership has always feared allof professional autonomy which might lead to the spread of political heresy. Recognizing the power of the press and mindful of the undesirable political attitudes expressed and encouraged by tbe literature of thehe regime has always Jealously guarded Its monopoly in the molding of public opinion.
In view of the basic conflict between the purposes of art and politics, tho prospectsurablebetween writer and regime in the USSR appear to be remote. Given the formidable organizational weapons at its disposal, the regime apparently is capable of keepingwithin tho literary community under control. In fact, under Khrushchev's leadership the regime seems supremely confident that events outside the realm of letters will ultimately prove more decisive in shaping popular attitudes than the ideas expressed by Soviet intellectuals.as long as tho regime remains committed to tho policy of "comradelyan improved though still imperfect technique ofleast some writers will continue to press for an expansion of artistic andhorizons.
Because of tbe essentially personal nature of artisticand tbe enoreous influencewithin aindividual artistic personalities on the moods of their community, It is necessary to exercisecaution in any discussion of an official cultural policy. In the Soviet context, the cultural milieu is officiallyas one of the many domains of the state, and the artist is viewedtransmissionn "engineer of the humanhose function is to popularize official directives, to exhort add reform the citizen until his goals and those of the state coincide. To fulfill the assignments of the state, tbe artist has been saddleduge, overlapping bureaucratic apparatus which has interfered with bts traditional function of observing and portraying life. The fact that Soviet art, music, and literature are subservient to party directives and controls, however, makes neither the nature of that art nor the official
To achieve its propagandistlc functions, the Sovietprofession, now numberingembers, has been organizedomprehensive national scale, exaltedofty social status, and supported with generous emoluments. Thehas harnessed the literary profession with an elaborate system ofparty apparatus, tbe writers'editorial boards, repertory councils, and governmentalhas tbrust on all writers tho artistic credos of "socialist realism" and "party-mindedness" (partiynost)which they are obliged to portray reality not as they see it but as the shifting needs of the regime demand. All theof persuasion and coercion have been employed to win writers to the Communist cause, to induce them to create works that will not only conform with official Ideology but will attain lasting artistic quality.
Although socialist realism and partiynost have long been proclaimed tbe official credos of Soviet literature, thesehave never been satisfactorily defined in theory or In general, they have come to represent an Idealizedto life, the leitmotiv of which is the march of Soviet society under the direction of the Communist party along the road to Communism. The socialofncountered on the way must, according to tbe officialbe treated as transitory and be overcome by "positive
struggle." The Soviet writer Is thus placed in the positionisionary who must describe in positive terms a life that he has never seen and yet present it as the reality of the present day. Nevertheless, the asblgaitles in thecriteria, as well as the changes in the political climate, have afforded Sovietreater degree of latitude in plying their craft than is generally recognized. Even during periods of severest political controls, somewriters have through sheer force of talent been able to bend to their own purposes the official dicta to which others have been subservient.
Despite these severe limitations on creative activity, tbe position that literature occupies in the USSR exceeds by far the limits to Which it is confined in the West. This is due not onlytrong literary tradition dating back toh century, but also to the conditions governing intellectual and social life In the USSR. As opposed to theand monolithic outpourings of the Soviet propaganda literatureefuge from the unremittingof everyday Soviet life. Dy opening to theorld of sense and emotion denied him by official press,literatureocial function and exercises aInfluence quite comparable to that of the "human interest" journalism of the Nest. This function and this response give the Soviet writer an incomparably greater statusis the public than that of his Western counterpart and explain the acute sensitivity of the Soviet regime to literary developments.
The relationship between the regime and the writer has been further complicated by tbe enormous growth of the Soviet reading public and the historical role of literatureountry with few other attractions. Schooled In the great traditions ofh century literary classics and enlarged by tbe process of mass education, the Soviet reading public has developed ataste for good literatureurprising immunity against politicalfact evidenced by the striking for pre-Sovlet literature at all times since tbe To beork of art must be believed, and to belt susteasonably accurate image of Soviet Hence, to secure official sanction as well as popularthe writer must attempt to reconcile the conflictingof the conformity andpolitically delicate and artistically difficult undertaking.
Thus it has never been possible to understand Sovieteitherechanical reflection of political events or as an isolated and autonomous phenomenon. During the post-Stalin period the cultural scene has been unsettled by theof nev tensions and confusions vhich have assailed both the bureaucracy and the artistic intelligentsia and have caused thea at times to interact vith each other inways.
Tn any brief historical sketch of Soviet cultural policy it is difficult to avoid setting arbitrary periods in time and giving the impressionudden raising and loweringurtaineries of self-contained scenes. At times during the period under review, dramatic scenes which wereby abrupt descents of the official curtain continued to be staged in tbe wings and even in the orchestra itself. At other times, the apparent contradictions and confusion ln official cues had lingering effects neithor anticipated nor desired by the official prompters. Yet in retrospect it can be seen that processes of change gradually crystallizedpatterns of development which may be identified as distinct phases of the post-Stalin cultural policy.
Relaxation of Restraints
The Official "Thaw". The postwar literary purgeunder the imprimatur of the party decreeshich attempted to place Soviet literatureigid party strait jacket, had run its course well before Stalin's death, and bad left in its wake an art so sterile that it to undermine the very purposes for which it wasdesigned. In the atmosphere of pervasive controls and fear, the Soviet literary community was drivenlind alley of conformity without creativity. The fact that something was seriously amiss in Soviet literature came to be recognized by oven the regime itself, as was evidenced by the Increasedof critical comment that began ln the central press in the summer Playwriting ln particular was attacked,because the nearly empty theaters publicly dramatized the failure of the numerous ideologically satisfactory plays. The situation on the cultural front reached such proportions that Malenkov, in his central committee report to the h party congress Inastigated the "falseness and rot" in Soviet literature and appealed for greater Imagination and variety. While calling for new Gogols and Shcbedrlns who, with the fire of their satire, would "burn awayhat retardsowever, Malenkov emphasized that the basic standards of Soviet literature remained unchanged.
In response to the officially encouragedhopopularized by the title of Ilya Ehrenburg's subsequently published novel, the pent-up yearnings of the culturalfor greater creative latitude began gradually butto break through after the death of Stalin. The initial reactions to the official overtures, which wereId literary discussions and critical articles long
Ferm "Zhdanovshchlna" was coined in the West tothe postwar cultural purge supervised by Sovietmember Andrey Zhdanov. This term is misleading, however, since the most repressive phase of this purge, involving the arrests and/or executions of "homelessccurred after Zhdanov's death ln
before they appeared ia belles-lettres, were reserved in character and Halted in scope. More emotional thanin nature, the early critical stirrings werenot so such at the root of the culturalrigid orthodoxy and ubiquitousat its more pronounceddehumanlzation of the arts, the artificiality of artistic stereotypes, and tho lack ofin artistic work. eorientation towardrather than social themesediscovery of basic human values, such as love, honesty, and sincerity, became tbe hallmarks of tha first probing criticisms of the Soviet scene in the period immediately following Stalin's death.
Protest Against Dehumanlzation of Literature. One of the first emotional protests against the sterility of the past, an outburst that was echoed3 by several first-rank Soviet writers, dramatists, and composers, was expressed by the young Leningrad poetess Olga Berggolts in Literary Gazette on Berggolts deplored the absence ol love" and other human emotions in Soviet lyric poetry. She complained:
reat many of our lyrical poems the most important thing is lacking: humanity, tho humanon't mean that human beings are not represented at all. Indeed they are, human beings of all types and professions; we are confronted with bulldozer and steam-shovel operators; we are confronted withwell, sometimes brilliantly, described. But they are all seen from the outside, and the mostthing of all is lacking in ourlyric hero with an Individual relationship to the world, to the countryside.
The protest against the virtual exclusion from Soviet literature of personal problems and human emotions and the almost pathological obsession with dams, tractors, andsoon developed into wido admissions in the party press and cultural journals of serious deficiencies lo Soviet In June and3 Pravda criticized playwrights for thend "colorless" plays which were "schematic portrayals of conflict." Callingbold, creative search for theravda sharply attacked the Writers' Union for not" developing "bold andcriticism and self-criticism. To encourage more
flexibility aad stimulate sucb criticism, as veil as to adopt the regino's newly revived political principle to allPravda demanded the introduction of "collectiveinto all professional unions of cultural workers.
Official dissatisfaction vith the state of literature vas buttressed by equally critical outbursts by the writers onference of young critics in September, the elderly poetess and Stalin prize winner, Vera Inber, warned tbat "all is not well in our poetry" and that the Soviet public was tired of "the samo steamshovel, the same dam, the samehe also deplored the harsh attitude of Soviet critics whoto regard the writer as "an enemy vho stood on the other side of the literary barricade." At the same conference the old novelist and playwright Konstanln Paustovsky found it necessary to remind his audience that writing and criticismhighnd that the writer's "creative individuality" should be granted due respect.
Among the issues which began to emerge with biting force in the gradually broadening discussion was tbe question of tbe writer's own responsibility for the integrity of his work. The June edition of Novy Mirong poem entitled "Distance Beyond Distance" by the distinguished poet Aleksandr Tvardovsky; this was the first work to focus attention on the problem of the "inner editor" ln the writer's mind. Tvardovsky pointed to the lack of courage on the part of the writer as one of the main reasons for the sterility of Soviet literature. His point was driven home by the playwright A. Salynsky, writing in Li terary Gazette onctober. "The saddestalynsky observed, "is that some writers have not freed themselves from the 'internal censor' which for so long sat at the side of the writer and bound his thought, his tongue, saying: 'This isbut this is Impossible.' But why should anything actually be impossible? After all, Soviet writers, even when sharplynegative phenomena of our life, affirm the positive ideal of the Communist way of life!"
Tbe views expressed by Tvardovsky, Salynsky, and othersthe official "thaw" after Stalin's deathurrent of thought which persisted within the culturalsubsequent changes in official policy. According to this point of view, writers could regain the artistic self-respect that they had surrendered under Stalinism only by riddingof the "internalreluctance to speak the
truth because of obsessive fear of conmitting mistakes. By affirming the Communist ideal, as did Salynsky and others, writers and Intellectuals were requesting permission to show their loyalty to the regime in tbe free expression of thought and creative activity unencumbered by artificial limitations.
Appeals for Greater Latitude. By the fall3 the official campaign for "the new, tho bold, and tho expressive" had begun toariety of unusual responses which not only enlarged the scope of the literary discussion but also began to challenge, long-standing literary conventions andtaboos. engthy article in the October issue of Znamya, Ilya Bhrenburg, ellwether of the party lino under Stalin,harp attack at literary critics, charging then with responsibility for the wretched state of Soviot literature. Giving vent to the writers' desires to abandon literature by decree for genuine literary expression, Ehrenburg ridiculed the Soviet bureaucratic practice ofwriters toovel or play in the same way anwoulduit from his tailor. Even writers living under tsarlsnetter time of it, he declared, drawing by implication an Invidious comparison with the Stalin era. Ehrenburg asserted that the "commands" by critics were unsutted to the field of literature, Insisting thatriterook because it is necessary for hin to say something of his own about people."
The criticisms voiced by Ehrenburg were supplemented by such prominent literary politicians as Konstantin Slnonov and Aleksandr Fadeyev. At the3 plenum of the board of the Soviet Writers' Union, which was devoted to the need to revitalize drama, Simonov lamented that publishing bouses, fearful of "burning theirore not reprinting works fromnd that theaters were not presenting plays from those years, oven though these works had previously boon condemned as outmoded and ideologically deficient. also calledevival of the classics. At the sane session, the former secretary general of the union, Aleksandr Fadeyev, proposed an amnesty for writers who had beenbecause of one mistake. Such writers should be shown the error of their ways and forgiven, Fadeyev doclared.
It was not until the appearance of the articleOn Sincerity in Literature" in the3 issue of N'cny Mir, however, that the literary discussion unfolded into sharp controversy. Pomerantsev's article was significant not
only for Its use of parables and vignetteseretical vein and Its treatment of aspects of Soviet life rarely discussed in print, but also for its impassioned appeal for greaterin the maturity of the creative artist's owntheme which was to be fully developed by the so-called -dissident" writers6 Pomerantsev drewto one of the basic problems confronting tbe Soviet writer: the difficulty of engaging the interest of readersictionalized account of Soviet life.
Attacking the prevalence of stereotypes in Sovietand tbe artificial limitations on writing, Pomerantsev called on authors to portray concrete problems rather than to gloss over realities. He castigated doctrinaire critics aod impudently taunted the Writer's Union: ave heard that Shakespeare wasember of any union, yet he did not write badly!" But his most telling barb, which was to draw tbe ire of official critics, was his insistence that sincerity should be the primary measure of creative art. "Don't think aboute advised writers. "Don't feel compelled to set down your conclusions; don't let yourselfingle line that you do not feel. Be independent!"
Although Pomerantsev and Ehrenburg did not challenge the ultimate authority of the regime in things literary, bytbey were striking at party controls and the havoc those controls caused to the creative imagination of the literary artist. By Insisting that the real artistic testork of literature was its sincerity, Pomerantsev was, in effect,the prescribed tests of socialist realism andand thus, by implication, condemning tbe whole body of postwar literature which had subscribed to those tests.
Official Restraints without Repression4
Tightening the Reins. By4 the originalof the regime to promote some relaxation in the literary sphere ran up against the problem of genuine criticism of official policies. The frank exposures of culturaland the outspoken calls for creative individuality by literary critics, as sell as the appearance of certain plays and novelsimilar vein, soon began to rankle the regime and its cultural henchmen. Pomerantsev vas sharply attacked In Literary Gazette onnd during tbe remainder oi the year there were fewarticles bearing on literary policy or theory which did not deal harshly with the hapless champion of sincerity who stood convicted of "pblllstinism, apolitlclsm and
The first clear indication that the regime hadon the issue of loosening the bonds on its writers cameravda editorial of Whileon the one hand to rebuke those who painted Soviet reality in "idyllic tones" and ignored the many in writing, the editorial criticized those
who went "to the opposite extreme" and described onlyphenomena." ravda warned, "has beennoticeable recently in dramaturgy as well as Inarticles of criticism." The first frost was in the air.
The new stiffening became evident almost immediately. Onpril the presidium of the Soviet Writers' Union announced the expulsion of four playwrights, A. Surov, H. Tirta, T. Galsanov, and L. Korobov, from its membership "as people who haveumber of amoral and antisocial acts Incompatible with the callingoviet writer." Ironically, the deeds of moral instability of which these playwrights were accused were the very same traits they had attacked in their works. The subsequent criticisms of theirThe Fall of Ponpeyev and Surov's Respectable"falsely prs-sented faults of the"way of life of individual, morally unstable members of (Soviet) society as typical andleading traits of (Soviet) reality" suggested the real reasons behind their expulsion.
The officials responsible for control over thecommunity, increasingly concerned vith theattitudes expressed during theow appliedto checking these tendencies. Onayravda article devoted to the Second Writers' Congress scheduled for "early in thehe first secretary of the Writers' Union, Aleksey Surkov, set the tone of the official reaction by reasserting tho principles of socialist realism and partiynost laid down4 and invoked in the central committoe decrees. Warning tbat these principles must not be questioned, Surkov lowered the boom on those who had sought to accelerate the cultural "thaw," From the vigorous reactions of the literaryof the Writers' Union and the staffs of such papers as Pravda. Izvestla, and Literarywas charged with Instant and effective clarification and dissemination of changes ln tbe party line, it was clear that the return to conventional formulationseeling of relief among tho defenders of the status quo.
Preparations for the Second Writers' Congress. While preparations for the Writers' Congress were under way in the spring and summerhe press flayed the various deviantew of which had previously been praised or had escaped criticism. Pomerantsev's article, Vera Panova's novel The Seasons, Leonid Zorin's play The Guests, and Ehrenburg's novel The Thaw all camo under heavy criticism for mirroring "only the darker aspects ofdistorting Sovietcaricaturing our artisticndtho "Leninist principle of partiynost inhe official complaint against these works was not that they exposed social evils and bad characters but that tbey treated these evils and characters as endemic to the Soviet scene, if not actually products of the system, instead of asexcrescences of the past.
Official criticism of tho deviants and their works was also accompanied by changes in the staffs of the offending literary journals. Tho editors of October, Fyodr Panferov and I. Paderin, were removed ln In August,eeting of the presidium of the Writers' Union, tbe journal Novy Mir was censured for having published the Pomerantsev article and others, and its editor-in-chief, Tvardovsky, who admlttod the error of his ways, was replaced by Simonov. At the same tlmo, tbe secretariat of the union was ordered to improve its guidance of the journals under its
While the official spokesmen thus reasserted their control, many of the writers vho had responded too eagerly to the relaxed atmosphere nov retreated vith alacritythe blasts of editorials and "discussion" meetings. Whatever confusion had arisen out of the regime's efforts to pry writers and artists avay from the "safe" formulas and worn cliches they had parroted under Stalinism was dissipated with relativemarked contrast with the foot-dragging and defiance which was toimilar policy shift in
At tho same time, however, theroew outbursts of self-assertion which marred the official facade oforthodoxy and harmony. Ilya Ehrenburg refused to yield under the barrage of criticism of his novel The Thaw. Tbe novel, as its title suggests, described vith unusual-frankness the rigors of life under Stalin and tho hopes and promises of changes in the period that folloved Stalin's death. Tho novel, published in the Hay issue of Znaraya, was attackedune in Komsomolskaya Pravda. Despite the heavy attacks that followed, particularly the lengthy and detailed criticism by Simtonov in thenduly issues of Literary Gazette, Ehrenburg rejected theof his critics and asserted that "accusations built on speculations" did harm to tho cause of Soviet literature. Ehrenburg's ability to avoid recantation wasesult of official disinclination topectaclerominent and loyal public servant.
By the fall4 the official campaign forbad brought to an end the public demands of writers for greater latitude in literary expression and reduced the theoretical level of literary discussion to where it had been under Stalin. In the official criticisms and denunciations, however, thero appears to have boon aeffort to avoid the heavy damage to literature which characterized the witch bunts of the past. The more moderate and reasonable tone of the many articles and editorials that appeared in the periodical press prior to the Writers' Congress indicatederious effort was being made to preserve the literary activity of writers and make them adapt to tbe party lino, rather than banish thorn from the cultural scone. The fact that the congress had to be postponed several times gave some indication that the literary bureaucracy was taking deliberate pains to create an atmosphere of unanimity in the literary com-
Criticism of Literary Bureaucracy. One of the con-Bequences of the bans imposed by the regime at this timehift from public discussion of controversialissues to examination of the shortcomings of the Writers' Union, tbe administrative organ responsible for the day-to-day direction of Soviet literature. Criticism of the union was reflected on manythe central press and at the preliminary congresses of writers in the provinces and national republics. The criticism ranged from complaints of neglect of national literatures and of younger writers to charges of preoccupation with organizational problems, oxcessivo bureaucracy, and favoritism to older writers.
Onctober, Literary Gazaetteetter from seven prominentKaverin, Emmanuel Kazakevicb, Mikhail Lukonin, Sarauil Marshak, Konstantin Paustovsky (see Nikolay Pogodln, and Stepanstated that the Writers' Union had been transformedreative organizationind of department of literary affairs." The writers, several of whom wore to suffer official censure two years later for their participation in tbe outburst ofthat attended de-Stalinlzation, proposed aof the unionransfer of theof the various literary commissions under the union to creative groups centerod around various journals, each headed by leading writers.
This remarkable proposal was meteated reply in Literary Gazette onovember by Vassllyember of the presidium of tho Writers' Union and head of the literary commission for young writers. Charging that the proposal contained "the clear thought ofof the unionzhayev demandedurther strengthening of the organization. While the heated exchanges and the subsequent rejoinders in the press were inconclusive with regard to the organization of the union, they did reveal the depth of feelings separating the literary intelligentsia from the cultural bureaucrats.
The Second Writers' Congress. At the Second Writers*finally convenecTin0 years after the first suchregimeointed effort to heal old sores by avoiding discussion of
sensitive, controversial issues. In the formal reports the literaryon the general literary situation, Slmonov on prose, Samed Vurgun on poetry, Aleksandr Korneychuk on drama, and Sergey Geraslmov onlabored the "safe" topics andreaffirmed all the postwar party-line cliches on what Soviet literature should be. There were, nevertheless, occasional flickers of independence and criticism in the speoches of Mikhail Sholokhov, Ehrenburg, Berggolts, and other top writers who voiced discontent with the course of Soviet literature and criticism of the unlimitedof the literary bureaucracy over writers and literary taste. Without questioning the final authority of theIn literature, thoy appealedore democratically run literary organization and for greater latitude of expression for the individual writer.
The relative boldness of these criticisms at tbesuggested that the freer atmosphere34 hadertain persistence of Its own whicha return to Stalinist intellectual confinement. Tbe regime clearly did not wish to set the clock that far back. Instead, the regime, under Khrushchev's emerging influence and power, was attempting to use the congressehicle for developing literary creativity within tho framework of party guidance and through the established formula of "criticism and self-criticism" among the writers themselves.
New Literary Currents. Although the Second Writers' Congross closedredominant note of orthodoxy tempered by moderation, thero were signs of change in tbe actual life and work of the Soviet literary community. Theof Stalinist repression, the disclosures of economic shortcomings, and the reinvigoration of positive partythese measures in tbe realm of official policy had begun to be felt in the cultural sphere. Writers who in tbe past had beeneavy cloud of suspicion or worse began to return to creative activity. Works that had been previously banned wore reprinted or restored in tbe repertoires of Soviet theaters. And in creative writing itself, the subject matter was slowly broadened in range to include topics rarely mentioned Id the past. Under the Impetus of the changes ln the political life of the country, many of the pillars of orthodoxyto crumble, leaving in their trail an extremely complex situation.
The reappearance of veteran writers who had been purged or whose works had been suppressed during theof Stalinism marked an important change in thegoverning Soviet literary development. In4 tbe journal Krokodil carried an article by the satirist Mikhail Zosbchenko, and in December an anthology devoted to the Second Writers' Congress, Leningrad Almanac, contained several poems by Anna Akhmatova."Thusong period of enforced absence this pair of distinguished writers who had been labeled by Androy Zhdanov the "scum of literature" (Zoshchenko)crossunhore" (Akhmatova) were quietly reinstrated to creative activity from which they had been removed after their expulsion from the Writers' Union
Other returnees4 were the drama critics Ye. Kholodov, D. Danin, and Yu. Yuzovsky, the "homelesswho had disappeared in9 at tbe height of the postwar literary purge. Also noteworthy was the publication of ten poems by Boris Pasternak in the4 issue of Znamya. Tho publication of the poems, which were to form part oi the last chapter of Pasternak's then unfinished novel, Doctor Zhiyago, marked the return to creative writing of one of the leading figures of the Soviet literary worldelf-imposed absence of almostears. Tho return to the literary scene of individuals victimized by Stalinistprocess5 and was to be accelerated byatb partynot butowerful new stimulus for the very intellectual trends anathemized by the regime. That the literary authorities were aware of this danger was made apparent by criticism of Zosbchenko and Pasternak already in
Tbe official rehabilitation of works long suppressedarallel development. Onrudthe forthcoming publication of the collected works of Sergey Yesenln, the highly individualistic "hooligan poet" of the NEP (New Economic Policy) period whose works bad been taboo since his suicide In May, Vladimir Mayakovsky's popular play Theatire on Soviet bureaucracy, was enthusiastically received in Moscow, where lt had not been stagod since the. In October the emigre Russian author Ivan Bunin, whose work had been praised by Konstantin Fedin at the Writers' Congress
was honored on the occasion ofh birthday,ollection of his works was scheduled for publication. The series of literary rovivals was highlighted ln early6 by the celebration with great fanfare ofh anniversary of Fyodr Dostoyevsky's death. It was clear from the official treatment of the Dostoyevskyemphasis on his sympathy for theand injured" rather than on his "excessive individual ism" and religiousa pragmatic decision had been reached to quitreat national asset under the counter and to start trading on it.
Although the process of rehabilitation was at first confined only to tbe works of authors who bad merely fallen into official disfavor or represented heretical schools of thought, lt was extended on the eve ofh party congress to the works of those who had actually been liquidated as "enemies of the people." Oniterary Gazette announced the formation of "Commissions for the Literary Heritage" of the Yiddish poet David Bergelson and the Jewish writers Leib Kvitko and B. Tasensky, all of whom had vanished during the purge of "homeless cosmopolitans" In8 and9 and had been executedpparently on direct orders from Stalin. Thus, even before Stalin was formally denigrated by Khrushchev the regime had begun quietly to exhunto the literary works of Stalin's purge victims.
The content of literary works was also affected by the changes in official policies. Encouraged by the official downgrading of the secret police, the official disclosures of agricultural stagnation, and the like, writers gradually began to explore relatively uncharted areas. While ostensibly attempting to serve the party in exposing shortcomings, many writers, in "struggling to establish the triumph of the new over tbeere to lift the veil of secrecy from the unseemly sides of Soviet reality. The truths thus revealed were onlyin nature, as wero the official disclosures, but the cumulative effects would in time prove to beto arouse the Ire of the literary authorities and ultimately the regime Itself.
The series of sketches of Soviet rural life,Routine by Valentin Ovechkin, which first appeared
in Sovy Mir before Stalin's death and continued inin Pravda and Novy Mir until latesome of the changes in the content of Soviet literature. While remaining within the prescribedlimits, Ovecbkln was able to depict with unusual candor much of the ugliness of Soviet rural life that had been concealed for years. His sketches achievedsuccess largely because his critical protralt ofmanagement, of tbe strong-arm methods of rural party leadership, coincided with reforms anticipated or undertaken by the regime. Ovochkin was tolerated as long as the "negative" features he described were attributed to human failings and not to the Soviet system. Byowever,ave of critical ferment shook the literary world,harp pen began to Irritate the regime. He was reprimanded by tbe party central committee for his "arbitrary" and "insulting" article in6 issue of Literary Gazette, and lessear later he was removed from the editorial board of the same news-
Tho trend toward greater realism tempered by dashes of optimism about the future and faith in the wisdom of the party continued to develop after the Second Writers' Congress, despite admonitions against "one-sided" portrayals of reality. The admixture of increasingly heavy doses of "negative" elements along with the "positive" and theof delicate political issues in belles-lettres raised difficult problems for both the writers and the custodians of orthodoxy. Thus in4 local criticsavoided roviewing Ukrainian playwright andcommittee member Aleksandr Korneychuck's controversial play,hich dealt with the abuses of the secret police under Beria and with other social evils of Stalin's day. The play had been running in Kiev at the time of tho Writers' Congress, but it was not until tho favorable reception by Khrushchev and other party leaders at the Moscow premiere in late5 that the play was regarded as an artistic as wellolitical success. Hence the tendentiousness demanded of Soviet writers and the subordination of art to politics pointed up thefacing those with tbe temerity to portray somo of the unvarnished realities of everyday life.
The contradictions in the official efforts toore differentiated literature while at the saae time sain taining orthodoxy were illustrated in an editorial In the5 issue of Kommunist, the party's theoretical organ. Belaboring the tendency of some Soviet writers to "varnish ourhe editorial attacked attempts to reduce the diversity of artistic styles and forms to crude "dogmatic formulas." The editorials failure tolear blueprint for writers to follow, however, wasof the countervailing trends at work. Despite the retention of the Stalinist ideological legacy, the partial break with the past in official policy had contributed to the creationlimate of both dissatisfaction andwithin the Soviet cultural community. Thedepartures from Stalinism had already set into motion forces which would seek expression in the literary world along lines considered inimical by the regime.
De-Stalinlzatlon In Literature
Psychological Impact of De-Stalinlzation: The shock administered by Khrushchev's revelations ath party congressowerful disruptive effect on the Soviet literary world. The destruction of the Stalin myth, which had long served as the keystone of orthodoxy, bredIn the ranks of ths cultural intelligentsia and shattered the facade of unity so carefully cultivated by the regime's literary spokesmen in the months following the Writers' Congress. Against the background of the countervailing tendencies in the Soviet literary world and the Inconsistencies in official policy, the party congress seemed to offer the long-awaited assurance that the party would look tolerantly on those yearning for greater creative freedom, provided their general loyalty to the purposes of the regime was not in doubt. At the same tine, tbe open attack on the Stalin culthain of doubts about long-accepted concepts of Stalinist literature and the controls set up to enforce them.
Reactions to de-Stalinlzation varied widely within the literary community at large. Among the bolder writers, restive under the restraints of party controls and opposed to tbe false values of Stalinist literature, de-Stallnlza-tion was regarded as vindication of their long-enduredand an invitation to greater freedom of expression. The literary bureaucrats, whose reputations were discredited and authority impaired by Khrushchev's disclosures, felt only disgust and despair, sharpened at tinesense of personal guilt. Others who had faithfully supported the officialso-called literarytemporarily shaken but recovered in time to identifywith what they believed to be the purposes of the regime. In general, de-Stalinizatlon gave impetus to thosehange in the literary status quo and temporarily dlsarned those responsible for Its defense.
From the upsurge of critical spontaneity that followed the party congress, it was clear that de-Stallnization hadainful awakening of Individual conscience and social courage in the minds of many Soviet writers.by their own timid acquiescence to distortions of truth in the past, many writers became vividly aware for the first time of the need for personal integrity and civic
consciousness Id their art. Fadeyev's suicide In6 and Simonov's mea culpa in the December issue of Hovy Mir provided eloquent testimooy that not even the party stal-warts were immune to pangs of conscience. Under the Impact of the profound change in mood and outlook, truthiterary watchword, and, one by one, writers arose after the party congress to renounce the "half-truths" of the past.ribute to Fadeyev published in the June issue of Novjr Mir, Slmonov deplored tho officially dictated revision of Fadeyev's novel The Young Guard after the war and described the change in the cultural milieu as follows: ainful but essential respect forhank heaven, has again generally been taking root in our country in the last few years."
"Ideological Confusion." The expansive spirit of optimism which Infected broad segments of the culturalin the aftermath of the party congressItself In various ways: in the demands of writers and critics for more freedom In the choice and treatment of in the rehabilitation of the literature ofnd of writers and critics victimized during Stalin's purges; in the sharp Increase in the number of translations ofworks and of contemporary Western plays performed on the Soviet stage and in the publication of works that pleaded the causo of the Individual against the abuses of bureaucracy. There wasoticeable trend toward greater freedom of debate on litorature and the arts both at public meetings and in tne press. The actual intensity of the polemicsthe Soviet intelligentsiahenomenon reflected only indirectly in the Soviet press, was vividly documented in the novel The Brothers Yershov, which appeared two years later.
The cultural scene was witnessurge of literary activity in the spring and summer ost of now literary publications appeared, Including Neva, Moskva, Nash -Sovremennlk, and Literaturnaya Moreover, therehabilitation begun on the eve of the congress was sharply accelerated by tbo posthumous rehabilitation of half tho Soviet authors purged during. Some of their works were published or plans for suchwere announced. Many foreign works of art appeared in carefully edited anthologies or in Inostrannayaew journal devoted to translations and critical discus-slons of foreign works, later to be denounced for theirhostile" contont.
The revised attitude toward hitherto condemnedand tbe general reassessment of doctrine encouraged writers to defy once again the political and ideological In the period following tbe congress lt became fashionable to deride propagandistic literature and to place aesthetic criteria foremost in the evaluation of artistic works. Literary journals began to publish more nonpolitlcal poetry; art and music magazines devoted more and moreto problems of form and style; the theaterharper turn toward experimentation and adventure; and short stories and novels began to probe into aspects of Soviet life long denied to domestic readers.
Tbe change In the climate was reflected perhaps most clearly ln the creative output of the community of Moscow writers, comprising the largest and by far the mostbranch of the Writers' Union. Tbe party congress bad barely concludedroup of Moscow writerswork onage anthology entitled Literaturnaya Moskva I, which included Akhmatova's lyric poetry, Pasternak's essay on translating Shakespeare, and an impassioned poem, Morning, by the young writer Robert Rozhdestvensky. With th<' exception of Rozhdestvensky'g poem, which appealed reak with the injustices of the past on tbe grounds that "in tbe end man perishes if he conceals hishe anthology contained little that could disturb tho literary watchdogs.
In November, however, the Moscow writersecond volume of collected works which literally abounded in materialsighly unorthodoxYashin's Levers, Nikolay Zhdanov's Journey Home, Yury Nagibln's Light in the Window, Venyamln Kaverln's Searches and Hopes, and Xleksandr Kron's Notesriter"! The tenor and content of the many works contained in Llteraturnaya Moskva II, all of which were subjected to sharp criticism in tbe party and literary press,andid answer to the questions raised by the the official attack on Stalin. Tho frank exposures of the evils of bureaucracy, careerlsm, callousness,short,tbe restive mood of the Moscow writers. The dramatist Kron expressed the spirit of irreconcilability toward the wrongs of the past as fo1lows:
The re-establishment of truth is necessary not for settling old accounts (nothing more harmful than that could be Imagined) but for tbe sake of truth Itself. The covering-up of contradictions that exist is sometimes Justified by the slogan: 'consolidation of all creative forces.' But this is poor consolation. The disease must be cured, not hidden.
Worksimilar vein made their appearance in the late summer and fall, despite the rising tide of vocalfrom the spokesmen of orthodox literature. the Journal Novy Mir, which two years earlier hada change of editors to ensure Its doctrinal purity, led the parade of literary nonconformity. On its pages there appeared in rapid-fire succession Daniil Granln's short story Personal Opinionemyon Kirsanov's poem Seven Days of the Weeknd Vladimir Dudintsev's novel Hot by Bread Alone (August-October). Also Indicative of the avant-garde role performed by Hovy Mir in this period was the fact that Boris Pasternak submitted "the manuscript of his novel Doctor Zhlyago to the journal. Since the genre of the work was clearly outside the mainstream of Soviet literary development, its rejection by the Journal's editorial board in September was not surprising.
The departures from orthodoxy in belles-lettres were matched in the field of literary criticism, which had been relatively quioscent during the previous two years. At an expanded meeting of the presidium of the Writers' Union in July, Sinonov, Kirsanov, and others made straightforward demands that writers bereater role in theof works to be published. The poet Aleksandr Bek, depart-lng from his earlier subservience to the literarydenounced the system of censorship as "intolerable" and called for voluntary censorship exercised by the writors themselves. He cited as examples the continued suppression of several of Pasternak's poems and the fact that the latter's long-heralded novel had not yet appeared.
The rash of critical articles demanding greaterfreedom, including an effort by Slaonov to redefine socialist realismworld outlook" rather thanas climaxed by the appearance in the November issue of Problems of Philosophyengthy article
titled "On the Problem of the Lag In Drama and the Theater." In one of the most outspoken publishedagainst official interference in the arts, the article, by the drama critics B. Nazarov andridneva, blamed the stagnation ln Soviet drama on the "ignoring of the objective laws of artistic creation, the hypertrophy of editing, and the creationureaucratic hierarchy in art." In the name of Leninism they appealedestoration of full confidence in the "creativeand for extensive self-government for the theater. "Is it necessary tohey asked,"that6 our artistic intelligentsia has greater right to trust than"
In articles in the press and in speeches at various literary meetings, writers and literary critics attempted to expand the scope of their creative activity beyond the limits accepted by the regime. In callingeturn to the situation inhen different literary trends were allowed to compete, or in criticizing "all of the achievements of Soviet literature in the pasthey were ln effect advocating the abandonment of the official standards of socialist realism and partiynost. In attacking the bureaucratic controls on the arts, some writers were arguing that official guidance should be exercised only through "comradely criticism" and trust ln the writers' loyalty to the party. Simonov's assertion that socialist realismworld outlook" andmethod" impliedriter in his work should be guided by bis conscienceoyal Communist and not by the dictates of party and ministerial bureaucrats. In short, the writers and critics were appealing for freedom of the press within the bounds of political loyalty and individual conscience.
Official Confusion. Despite this upsurge of critical ferment, the period followingh party congress wasime of uninterrupted calls for greater freedom in the field of literature. As ln other fields, the Soviet pressumber of warnings and robukes whichboth that tbe regime Intended to establish clear limits to the process of de-Stalinizatlon and that lt would not tolerate attempts to push this process far beyond those limits. As early as April, an article in Kommunlst reiterated Khrushchev's condemnation at the party congress
ot efforts to apply the principle of "peaceful coexistence" to tbe sphere of ideology and rebuked the "attacks in vari-ious foms against party leadership in literature and the arts." ay an editorial in Literary Gazette sharply criticized writers and critics who had assertecTThat art should not be the handmaiden of politics and had calledeturn to the freer literary atmosphere of,
These and other sallies by the regime's cultural spokesmen, however, failed to stem the course of critical ferment, and through most6 these demands appeared toear-guard action by outnumbered forces. The refusal of many writers to acknowledge official signals which in the past had Invariably produced desired resultsnique situation reflecting the unsettled conditions that attended de-Stallnizatlon. Lacking clear and authoritative guidance and wracked by long-standing personal feuds, the cultural bureaucrats were powerless to stem the adverse course of events. In light of this situation, lt was understandable6 was laterto as "the black year" in the official literary calendar.
The confusion in the literary world has perhaps fostered by the regime's efforts to relax some of its direct controls over cultural institutions while at the same time upholding the traditional standards of literary production. Id lateecree of the USSRof Culture graoted theaters greater autonomy in selecting repertoires and in staging Dew productioos and abolished the practice of commlssiODing authors to write plays. Similar rights were granted publishing houses in tbe publication of fiction and tbe republication of works in magazines, according to an article in Kommunlst Ho. Coming on the heels of the de-StatTnTzation campaign, the official efforts to loosen the strait-Jacket controls of the Stalin era whetted the appetites of those demanding even greater latitude than tho regime wasto grant.
Reassert log of Orthodoxy
Vigorous Official Counterattack. By lateben the dispute io the literary field became caught up in theof the political crisis in Eastern Europe, it was clear tbat occasional official warnings and mild rebukes were not enough to arrest the drift of events. The domestic challenge raised by the outspoken demands of many writersasic relaxation of party controlsevision of the tenets of socialist realism was accentuated by the developments in Poland and Hungary, where, as Khrushchev later stated, the "counterrevolution used certain writers for its vilehe lesson of Hungarytrong caseeturn to outright repression and rigid Stalinist controls over cultural policy. Ilya Ehrenburg reportedlyestern journalist privately that after the Hungarian events some officials wanted to returnard line, and it is conceivable that molotov, who assumed responsibility for cultural affairsafter bis replacement as foreign minister in June, was among those favoring the adoption ofolicy. "Sober headsowever, according to Ehrenburg, and the regimeeturn to full repression.
Beginning io mid-November, the roglmeassive propaganda counterattack designed to reassert the validity of the party decisionsore sharplyofficial framework of de-Stallnizatlon in which the virtues of tbe Stalin era overshadowed the vices. Coincidingeneral tightening on the ideological front which later came under the heading ofhocampaign singled out the most flagrant violations of literary orthodoxy, warned against the inroads of pernicious "bourgeois" influences, particularly on the Soviet stage, and denounced the manifestations of "bourgeois nationalism" in tbe national republics. Although tbe drive against literary nonconformity rolled primarily on ideological pressure and "organizationalt assumed particularly threatening overtones during the winter months, when it was supplemented by an officially sponsored "vigilance" campaign. Id the tense atmosphere of vlgllantism after Hungary, when the press was filled with charges against "rottenhe specter of repression hung heavily over the cultural scene
The stiffening; of Soviet cultural policy in the fall6 was influenced in large part by the events in Hungary. With the leadership divided as well as deeply involved in urgent problems outsido the field of culture, however, It Is possible that the cultural bureaucrats wore able toomowhat freer hand in cultural affairs in this period. In this situation it was natural for the cultural overseers, caught off balance by de-Stalinization, to react promptly and vigorously In defense of their prerogatives. Confrontedirect challenge to their authority, they responded interms--warnlngs, reprimands,from higher authorityow months earlier had produced little effect.
The sharp change in atmosphere was clearly reflected in the treatment of Dudintsev's novel, Hot by Bread Alone, which became the object of heavy censure by the hard-line party spokesmen, as well as the rallying point of the advocates of creative freedom. Dudintsev's description of the struggle of an idealistic inventor, Lopatkin, against the entrenchedby tho careeristthe focal point of official attacks not because it contributed something new, but rather for its synthesis of diverse views already expressed by other writers. Tbe fact that the novel received an enthusiastic public response, particularly among university students in Moscow, Leningrad, and elsewhere, also contributed to the regime's increasingly belligerent reaction,
Onudintsev's novel was discussed in Moscoweeting sponsored by the Moscow writers' Whileertain segment" of the participants mildly criticized it, on the whole the work found stanch supporters who used lt to fire broadsides at Stalinism. For example, the Inflammatory speech by the writer Konstantin Paustovsky, which was secroted to the West and published in the Paris L'Expross onot only applauded Dudintsev's novel But pictured his villain, the powerfulass affliction of Soviet society. In general, the book was praised for its boldness, and the relatively mild criticisms at this meeting were directed less at the content of the novel than at Dudintsev's manner of presonting his matorlal. The novel was also favorably reviewed in Trud, tbe trade union newspaper, onctober.
In November, bowever, under the stimulus of tbe furor over the novel among; university students and intellectuals, as veil as of the adverse repercussions abroad, the regime's reaction changed sharply. Dudintsev and his novel vere attacked in Literary Gazette onovember and in Izvestiaecember, and' during the next throe months both author and work were condemned at numerous party and writers' meetings and in equally numerous press reviews.
The docision to single out Dudintsev's book for censure was apparently reached after deliberations at party Accordingumor then circulating in Moscow, the novel was discussedeeting held in November by the cultural department of the party central committee. The rumor alleged that several persons attending tbe meeting, party secretary Furtseva, opposed publication of the novel in book form, but that Shepllov favored publicationmall edition in order to avoidartyr out of Dudintsev." It allegedly was decided at that time toimited edition0 copies, although Minister ofMikhaylov bad earlier stated that the work was scheduled for mass publication.
The aassivo propaganda campaign against Dudintsev's novel was paralleled by sharp attacks on other "vorks vritten in the spirit of oppressive nihilism" and articles challenging the party line in the arts. The article by the drama critics Nazarov and Gridnova (seoas subjected to sustained criticism by Pravda, Izvestia, Konmunist, Minister of Culture Mikhaylov, and Molotov, and in January the editors of ProblemsPhilosophy recanted for havingerious error Tn publishing the article which contained an incorrect,thesis directed against party guidance oft the same time, officials in tbe USSR Ministry of Culture, noting with "serious alarm" that "negative tendencies have recently appeared in ropertoireeplored theof official supervision of the theater resulting from tbe decision to grant theater directors greater powers. The "organizational measures" they advocated to correct these tendenclos were soon evidenced by the removal in January of four editors from the magazine Theater.
Following the circulationecret central committee letter, "On Strengthening Ideologicalo lover party units in6 and early the official
witch hunt gained momentum. The letter, which was directed at the general laxity ln ideological discipline, hadcondemned the writers Paustovsky and Berggolts for their inflammatory attacks on party controls in literature. It was followedteady stream of articles and editorials la January calling to task the editor Kovy Mir, Kenstantin Slaonov, the editors and authors of the second volume of Literaturnaya Moskva, and numerous other writers and critics. Attention was drawn to the infiltration of "bourgeois" ideology in thescene by way of cultural imports. The list ofhostile" Western plays was extended, and theaterwere condemned for havingumber of "harmful" Western plays for production. The intensive hunt for heresy and the harsh insistence on orthodoxy seemed toeturn to the cultural isolation and rigidof the past.
Official Reconsiderations. Just as the official drive appeared to be getting into high gear, there were signs early7 that the Soviet leadership was ontertaining second thoughts about the propriety of some of the tacticsof the worst days of the Stalin era. Tbe shift ln the official line in the directionore subtle tacksignificantly, with Khrushchev's resurgence in the political arena in late January and also with Shepllov's following his replacement as foreign minister onebruary, as party secretary in charge of culture. The new approach appeared toonvictionystem of individual rewards and reprimands, meted out in anof paternalistic Justice, called "comradelyould prove more effective than physical repression lnintellectual and cultural discontent.
An article by Ilya Ehrenburg in Literary Gazettendebruary, which Ehrenburg later assorted was published with full approval of party authorities, provided the first tip-off on tbe new line. Protecting himself by favorable toh party congress and stressing the need for ideological struggle against "bourgeois" philosophy, Ehrenburg appealed for more sophisticated treatment of cultural worksublic which, in bis view, was both literate and mature." He defended the establishment of broadcontacts with the West and obliquoly supported, without citing them by name, the young Soviet authors whose works bad been condemned as being too critical of Soviet lifo. If
Ehrenburg's article was, in fact, officially inspired, it was probably designed to reassure writers that the regime had no Intention to return to the sterile policies of the past. That such was the case was suggested by the affirmative- reply of USSR Minister of Culture Mikhaylov onebruary to an interpolation ofeputies to the Supremo Soviet, including the writers Ehrenburg, Korneychuk, and Tikhonov, as to whether or not the Soviet Government favored cultural ties with all countries.
Other signs of the limited scope of the officialwere also evident in evonts in February andhe writer Nikolay Virta, who had bean expelled with great fanfare from the Writers' Unionas reinstated in early February. Moreover, at the First Ail-Union Congress of Artists, held betweenebruaryarch, tbe ultracon-servatlvo group headed by A. Geraslmov was removed from the monopolistic position it had occupied during the Stalin era. While tho official spokosmen at the congress continued to brand wholesale denunciations of the Stalin period asthe speeches of various delegates showed thatworks embodying tho worst excesses of the Stalin era could still be attacked with impunity.
Perhaps the most Important eventshange of official attitude were Shepilov's keynote speeches to the Artists'arch) and the Secondof Sovietpril). Marking his debut as party secretary in charge of culture, Shepilov laid down the guidelines of what developedoncerted effort by the regime to reconcile the conflicting elements in the cultural world to official policies. Although Shepilov was later denounced in official media for his "liberal position" ln art and,annor characteristic of Soviet political tradition, made the scapegoat for all the ills besetting Soviet culture, the kernel of his ideas was ln fact laterinto official policy and sanctified as Khrushchev's own handiwork.
In his two speeches Shepilov took groat pains to point out that the continuation of party control over the arta did noteturn to rigid administrative controls orbureaucratic tutelage. While upholding socialist realism as the only acceptable artistic method, Shepilov attacked the practice of using itlub for forcing all Soviet
artists to adhereingle style. He maintained that the official artistic standards permitted considerable room for creative individuality through the selection of subject, style, and technique, and he insisted that ideologicalbe corrected by "comradely persuasion" by tbe party and not by "administrative injunction and ear-boxing." From the tone of his speeches, which were well received byat both congresses, it appeared that the regime vas seriously Intent on taming the dissident elements instead of destroying them and was anxious to bring tbem into line by the application of verbal and organizational pressuresthe scenes.
"Comradely Persuasion": Theory and Practice7
The "Feat of Silence". Despite the announced intention to rely on persuasion and pressure, the development of the more moderate policy vas anything but smooth and consistent. This was Inevitable as the regime tried to workodus Vivendi with writers whose services were needed in molding public opinion but whose hunger for creative Independence had been increasingly fed during the post-Stalin period. Thus, as regime spokesmen strove to keep the creative talents of writers within officially approved confines, tho writers,by their unwonted freedom from repression, continued to agitateroadening of that framework. The result was. In Surkov's words, ear of fierce and furiousbetween regime spokesmen and literary "revisionists."
The first such clash occurred at the two-day plenum of the Moscow branch of tho Writers' Union in earlyalled to discuss prose writinghe meeting wasto discipline tho many Moscow writers whose works were then under heavy official fire. Mono of the offending authors backed down, hovever, vith the exception of Slmtonov, vho took the opportunity to trim his sails partly to tbe prevailingwind. Dudintsev not only defended his much-debated novel but spiritedly protested official restrains. e said, "that we might be allowed, like beginners, to try to swim on our own, to take our chance of drowning. But,lwaysalter, like tbe harness by which children are sometimes supported. And it keeps me fromaverin, Kirsanov, Allger, and Yevgonly Yevtushenko, the young poot whose long poem Winter Station had aroused bittercriticism, also spoke out defiantly. From the cryptic account of the meeting in Literary Gazette, it appeared that "passionsn "unworkmanlike atmosphere" prevailed, and many "nihilistic sentiments and "demagogic statements" vere oxpressed. The charge that "many venerable writers" had used "various subterfuges to avoid participation in the work of the plenum" indicated that the dlsHidents had at least the passive support of many older, established writers. Where the emotional sympathies of many elements of the Moscowparticularly students, lay was evident from tbe press complaint that the session had been attended by many "nonprofessionals" vho had created "unhealthy disturbances."
The March plenum was the high point of open disputethe opposing forces in the Soviet literary world. Tho refusal of the dissident Moscow writers to knuckle under to mounting official pressureraphic illustration of the lessening of the fear which had gripped the Sovietduring Stalin's lifetime. Behind these bold,voices, as far as the regime was concerned, stood the influential Moscow branch of the Writers'hird of the country's writers. It was evident that tho writers, left to their own devices, had reached athat could be resolved only by high-level intervention.
Such Intervention occurred onay when Khrushcheveeting of writers at party headquarters on the eve of the third plenum of the board of the Writers' Union, the first to bo held sinceh party congress. Although Khrushchev's speech was not announced in the Soviet press until more than two months later, the tactics of tho regime spokesmen at the May plonum gave some indication of Its The attack against the dissident writers was pressed with renewed vigor at the Hay plenum, which was attended by party secretaries Shepilov and Pospelov. The writers and editors of tho controversial anthology Lltcratumaya Moskva II and others were again condemned by regime spokesmen, andignificant departure designed to isolate the dissidents and discredit tbe Moscow branch, writers from the provinces were encouraged to attack the entire "Moscow writers'ne of theira separate Writers' Union for the RSFSR beobviously designed toounterpoise to the Moscow branch, which had become acenter for greater freedom.
The sharpness of the attacks on the Moscow writers at the May plenum, as well/as tbe encouragement of ambitious second-rate writers from the provinces,urning point in the campaign against dissident writers. Khrushchev'shad brought to bear the full weight of partybehind tbe regime spokesmen, tbereby transforming the literary disputearty issue subject to the fullof party discipline.
The reaction of the Moscow writers to this formidable pressure was as unexpected and surprising as it wasto the literary bureaucrats. o-called "feat of
any of the leading Soviet writers expressed their displeasure with the stage-managed proceedings by eitherthemselves or refusing to take part in the debate. Fed in. head of the Moscow branch, was one of the few major writers to participate ln the debate, but his refusal to Join ln the categorical condemnation of the dissidents and hisof the work of tho Moscow branch against the attacks by provincial writers aroused displeasure both during and after the plenum. In their ostentatious silence in the face offeatew weeks later indissidentsegree of personal and civic courage unprecedented in recent Soviet history. Faced with the alternatives of abject capitulation or totalof literature, tbey chose Instead to band togetherommunity of silence In anticipationore favorable turn in the climate of creative activity.
The stubborn silence by the recalcitrant writersthe regime spokesmen. Leonidonparty member who was later chosen to head the organizing committee of the new RSFSR Writers' Onion, branded the silence service to the foreign enemy. He attacked the spectacle of silence in an angry tirade:
Your silence is dangerous. It disorients readers. What does itaughty disregard for the opinion ofisdainful conviction of one's own infallibility? The drama of sacrifices? Pardon us, but we do not understand, and the people do not understand.
Nevertheless, despite impassioned declamations from all sides, the plenum ended onay with no evidence that tbe dissidents had been "persuaded" to yield.
Two days later,overnment dacha near Moscow, awas held by party and government leaders for prominent writers, artists, and composers. Most members of the party presidium and secretariat were present, and Khrushchev, Mikoyan, and Shepilov were among the speakers at the dinner. Pravda reported onaylively exchange of opinions" had taken place which, according to diplomatic sources In Moscow, appears to haveharp altercation between Khrushchev poetess Margarita Aliger. It appears that when Khrushchevto the "counterrevolutionary" role of the Hungarian
writers and charged that the Hungarian regimerave mistake in failing to shoot two leaders of the Potofiliterary group thatajor role inthewas interrupted by Allger, who "Are you threatening us?" Khrushchev reportedly"No, we extend our hand to Soviet writers. But they should realize that if they oppose us, our hand will not tremble." Khrushchev's pointed reply, which was deleted from the published version of his speech that appeared in lateleft no doubt regarding the seriousness with which tbe regime viowed dissldence among creative writers andlear warning that those who continued to defy the official line would leave themselves open to the sorious charge of "counterrevolutionary" activity.
Although Khrushchev's speech left no alternative but total submission to official policy, there was considerable delay and circumvention in the responses of the dissidents. Literary Gazette charged onay that Llteraturnaya Moskvaad been published "without an editorial board approved by thend In early Juneoint meeting of the party organization of the Moscow branch with the board of the Writers' Union, the editors and writers of the anthologyto resist charges by Surkov that they were secretlyliterary-political platform not in conformity with the party's policy in the field of literature."
Kazakevlch, Yashin, and Allger broke their silence to defend their positions as party members against thesecharges of having an opposition platform, but theirwere rejected asnsincere, and lacking la self-criticism. Dudintsev and Kaverin were also accused of 'demagogic tirades" and "intolerance of criticism." The party organization of the Moscow branch condemned tbewriters for "factionalism" and voted to oxpel Vladimir Rudny, one of the editors of the controversial anthology and an editor of the house organ of the Moscow writers, Moskovskiy Literator, from the party committee.
Placed on the defensive by this use of strong party the dissident Moscow writers began gradually to yield. Kazakevicb, Allger, and Bek were tbe first to recanting in person or by letter,eneral meeting of Moscow writers onune. Significantly, Aliger's letter of recantation was not doomed fit for publicationctober.
Other errant writers followed suit at subsequent meetings in Moscow and elsewhere during tho remainder of the year; in many instances their recantations were evidently incomplete and unsatisfactory, however, since they continued to befor either boycotting writers' meetings or failing to "disarm" themselves completely. For example, at the fourth plenum of the board of the Writers' Union Inllger, Kazakevlch, andpartywere criticized because of their absence, and Budny wasfor continuing to maintain silence. Desplto official claims of an "atmosphere of unanimity" in the literary world, there were many indications that resistance to the official line had not been completely stamped out. The formal,recantations submitted grudgingly under duressar cry from the full cooperation demanded by the regime.
Khrushchov's Literary Program. Following the ouster of the "antlparty group" in June and the official linking of the defeated faction with dissidentomprehensive and authoritative statement of official policy was issued under Khrushchev's signature and entitled,lose LinkArt and Literature and the Life of the People." literary pronouncement, which appeared onugust, was an abridged version of his speeches ofnday and his talks to party activists indelivered during the heat of battle against nonconformity. Although the short-terra results of Khrushchev's intervention in the arts in May had already been reflected in the recovery of initiative on the part of regime spokesmen, the long-term effects were still in tbe making. In light of the continued foot-dragging by the formerly restive writers, lt appeared that the decision to publish an abridged and evidently toned-down version of Khrushchev's speeches was parteliberate effort toa more durable basis for the restoration of orthodoxy in the Soviet cultural world.
Khrushchev's pronouncement, which was hailedasic "party document" binding on all creative artists and was greetedassive propaganda campaign, essentiallya powerful restatement of party doctrine and guidance in the arts. Condemning the "misrepresentation of reality" in works of literature and the departures from the political line of the party, Khrushchev threw his full support behind the official spokesmen whose influence and prostlge had dropped sharply after Stalin's death and who had thereby suffered most
from tho do-Stallnization campaign. He reiterated therehabilitation of Stalin, "in whom we all sincerelyand he expressed sympathy for the literary "var-nishers" who had suffered abuse ln the aftermath of de-Stalin-ization. In short, by supporting tho long-standing official tenets and their stanchest adherents, Khrushchev attempted to restore tbe equilibrium upset by his own actions ath party congress.
In addition, Khrushchev hintederies of remedial measures designed to restore order in the literary world. Pointing to the "unhealthy and harmful" tendencies exhibited by such literary journals as Novy Mir, he warned tbat the press, the "main ideological weapon" of the party, could not be entrusted to "unreliable hands." His assertion that tbe press "must be in tho bands of the most loyal, mostand politically steadfastwho areto our cause"eries of changes in the composition of the editorial staffs of literary Journals, Mindful of the disruptive influence exerted by the Moscow writers, Khrushchev came out strongly in favor ofew literary organization for tbewhich would dilute tbe power of tbe dominant Moscow branch ln the Union of Soviet Writers. Finally, Khrushchev endorsed tbe establishment of closer contacts between the party leadership and men of letters. He praised tbe usefulness of "comradely meetings and talks with writers and artists on key questions of ideologicalointing to his own frank discussions with various writers at party headquarters.
Thus while Khrushchev's sharp comments about Allgor and Dudintsev Indicated that be would not hesitate to apply direct pressure If creative artists remained out of lino, he did not close the door on errant writers. He spoke approvingly of Tvardovsky and Panferov, whose past work had come undor sharp official criticism but who were later accepted into the fold after "friendly conversation." Moreover, his favorableabout the nonparty writer Sobolov and the latter'selevationeading position in the literaryIndicated that writers loyal to the party line could look for official patronage, inferior literary talents not-withstanding. By holding out the olive branch to thein one hand and offering lucrative favors tonewcomers in the other, Khrushchev strove to generate pressures within the Soviet literary community which would
splinter and ultimately dissipate the forces of resistance and restore harmony. "Comradely persuasion" rather thanrepression remained the order of the day in Khrushchev's thinking, even though that concept had undergone considerable stress and strain since its original formulation.
Immediately after the announcement of Khrushchev's dictum, the organizing committee of the forthcoming RSFSR Writers' Union was formed. The large representation of provincial writers on this body, along with the inclusion of many regime mouthpieces from Moscow, ensured the predominance of trusted personnel in positions of leadership along lines advocated by Khrushchev. The formal subordination of the obstreperousbranch to tho new organization and the transfer tolatter's jurisdiction of the Moscow publications October and Moscow owerful organizational damper on the un-ruly elements in the capital.
ollow-up to Khrushchev's article, the editorial boards of many leading literary journals were subjectederies of administrative shake-ups. The process of weeding out "unreliable" editors was conducted gradually andwith none of the fanfare associated with the much-publicized purge of the magazines Leningrad and Zvezdaeginning innd continuing wellheOctober, Moscow. Theater, and Now Mir underwent changes of varying degree in their management.
Although the succession of changes was designed toa corps of spokesmen attuned to the requirements of the party line, the results at time left much to be desired. For example, Tvardovsky and Panferov, both of whom had gained Khrushchev's lavor by their alleged penitence, used theirwon editorships on Novy Mir and October, respectively, to lash out scornfully at their more orthodox critics. Workseretical vein continued to find outlets in literary organs long after the editorialact which underlines the limits of the official campaign.
. In addition to the editorial shake-ups, steps were taken to tighten institutional controls over the Sovietacktrack from the liberal reforms In7 local cultural officials were ordered by the USSR Ministry of Culture to check theatrical repertoires for their ideological soundness, and inepublic ministries of culture were
instructed to bolster their repertoire units vith "qualified workers." onth later it vas announcedepertory Council vould be created under the USSR Culturemeasure apparently designed to revive many of the controls formerly exercised by the all-powerful Chief Repertoryvhich had hold tight roin over theatrical artmuch of Soviet history.
As the pendulum of official policy svung back ln tbe aftermath of Khrushchev's intervention in the arts, there vere signs that the regime had to resist pressures from ultraconservatives who favored the relntroduction of more severe disciplinary measures against the recalcitrants. Such pressures were evident in Anatoliy Sofronov's articleand Reality" in Literary Gazette ofnds well as in Vsevelod Kochetov's novel The Brothers Yershov, which appeared in Inrovocative diatribe against the "negative trends" inliterature and thoirpoetic slogan "Ho who does not sing with us is against us" eapon against the recalcitrants. Sofronov's thinly veiled threaturor in Soviet literary circles, and responsible officials from Surkov on downrepudiated the article for its "excessively sharpmphasizing that patience and indoctrination were morethan repression ln imposing officially approved practices among writers. The sharpness of the polemics between tbe different schools of thought highlighted the split in theliterary world, as well as the problem confronting tho regime.
Among the more subtle tactics adopted by tbe regime in the period following Khrushchev's pronouncement was an attempt to play down the scope of literary dissidence in publicand to rely raoro heavily on pressure applied through party and literary channels to keep writers in line. Into tbe prolonged and vldely publicized denunciatory campaigns of the Stalin era, vhich tended to dramatizeand make martyrs of tbe victims, regime spokesmen began to emphasize harmony in the literary ranks and treat dissidence aa an isolated, historical phenomenon. Khrushchev's speecharty and government reception for8 was devoid of personalconcentrating instead on the "splendid unity" between Soviet Intellectuals and the party. In adopting this
approach in tho face of recurrent manifestations of obstinacy and heresy among writers, Khrushchev and the literaryevidently were anxious to stimulate literary output without dramatizing dissidence.
That such considerations governed the policy of relative restraint were suggested by Surkov's remarks, during anwith Gerd Ruge, the West German correspondent in Moscow, in the summer According to Surkov, Ehrenburg'snovel The Thaw had scarcely been noticed either in the USSR or abroad untTl it was criticized by Slmonovengthy polemic published in Literary Gazette. The novel thenause celobre. When the second part of the novelinowever, the literary bureaucrats held their fire, since they had, in Surkov's words, already "used up all their criticalndesult It wasto relative oblivion. This lesson apparently was not lost to the literary bureaucrats, in view of their handling of Ehrenburg's subsequentparticularly his essay "The Lessons ofhich appeared In tbef Inostrannaya Llteratura. Ehrenburg's pointed attack on dictatorial control of the arts met relatively light criticism in the Soviet press, but, according to
Ehrenburg was sharply1 rebuked TTW fourth plenum"he board of the Writers' Union inhe regime obviously chose to restrict Ehrenburg'sand clearly heretical ideasimited audience of professionals rather than attract widespread interest by publiclyrominent public figure.
ounterweight to the heretical tendencies of some older writers and the "unhealthy moods" of many younger ones, the regime attempted to encourage the advancement of relative unknowns in the younger generation who would then owe their literary careers to the party. Already at the Second Writers' Congressurkov had reported that tho proportion of writers undern the union was much smaller thannd more than three years later he lamented: "The Writers* Union is getting old; for example, in its Moscowercent of the writers are below tho age" The seriousness of the problem of youth recruitment was apparent from Surkov's statement of8 that Yevtusbenko, who had been widely criticized for his "rottenas the only poet "of Komsomoltojoin the Moscow branch in recent years.
Despito official encouragesany young people simply resisted entry into the hazardous field of literature* Some Soviet students with literary leanings informed Gerd Huge that the present generation of literary officials andwhom they termeda major barrier to entry into the profession. Others with talent preferred to work as translators because they were unwilling to submit to criticism and tutelage by party and literary bureaucrats.
Also In keeping with the more subtle approach to culturalentral committee decree was issued on8 which "rectified errors" of the Stalin period. Therescinded the party decree of8 against the prominent composers Shostakovich, Prokofyev, Khatchaturyan, and others. Byajor source of grievance andan injustice of the Stalin era, the regime attempted to create an atmosphere of confidence among loyal artiste. The new decree* however, was careful to reaffirm the basteof Soviet art laid down ln8 decree so as to prevent any misinterpretation of the new measureetreat from orthodoxy orortent of "indiscriminateons" of devlant art ists.
Tho more flexible policy of persuasion and pressure, coupled with high-level party Intervention on an ad hoc basis, was designed to redirect tho talents and energies of the Soviet literary community back to the traditional purposes of theaid the party ln the solution ofproblems." With the re-establishment of control over the commanding heights of literary criticism, increasing attention was paid in the spring and summer8 to the question of "contemporaneity" as the focal point of creative activity. Just as writers after World War II were enjoined to write about the five-year plan instead of about controversialof the war, authors, playwrights, and movie scenarists now were exhorted to forget tho unsavory past and concentrate on current themes, The demands for "contemporaneity" received particularly heavy stress during the preparations for the RSFSR and Ail-Union Writers' Congresses scheduled for October and8 respectively. The appeals for inspirational literature about the "transition toacked by an imposing array of institutional pressures, wero the official antidote to the lingering hangover of literary dissidence.
Literary Stale-mate. While the official drive formade marked gains inemblance of order to the Soviet literary scene, it failed to resolve thethat had given rise to the conflict. Reluctant tothe punitive measures necessary to provent questioning of official standards and relying instead on manipulation of political forces in the literary community, the regime'smet with only limited success. Khrushchev'sln the arts enabled the conservative elements to gain undisputed control of the organizational command posts and succeeded in temporarily muffling tbe more pronouncedoutbursts, but it did not elicit the full cooperation of the "disoriented" writers who made up in professional prestige and artistic talent what tbey lacked in numbers. The continued failure of many eminent writers to participate at literary meetings, the delays in tbe publication of tbelr long-awaited works, the occasional defiant statements by writers at public meetings, and the repeated postponement of the writers'of these highlighted theencountered by the regime in securing the kind of unanimity which was the traditional hallmark of Sovietlife.
One of the immediate effects of Khrushchev's interventionemporary freeze-up in controversial llteraturo as writers marked tine and literary journals began to play safe. During the fallranslations, memoirs, and historical and documentary materials devoted toh anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution filled the pages of literary journals. The organs of tbe press were also swamped wilh editorials and articles lauding Khrushchev's endorsement of official doctrine and his criticism of the "thaw" writers. Official critics wore preoccupied with repulsing the attacks of Yugoslav and Polish revisionists on Soviet literary doctrine and practice.umber of errant writers finally broke their silence and yielded to official pressure,ew showed convincing signs that they bad fully reformed. Some were obviouslyover the fact that their honest efforts to elaborate artistically tho official line ofh party congress had been labeled subversive.
With the announcement in8 that the Third Writers' Congress would be convened in December, it appeared that conditions in the literary world had sufficientlytoublic airing of opinion. There weresigns, however, that such was not the case. The stoady stream of complaints that new literary works failed to capture
"the greatness of our everyday affairs" or that authors "feared to touch the big and sharp themes of life" indicated that all writers had not yet been transformed into active andpropagandists for the regime. the continued attacks on unorthodox literary works and defiant speeches at literary meetings, as well as the significant admission that "almost all" of the senior "literary masters" had retreated into the relatively safe field of writing about the past, reflected failure to secure unequivocal cooperation of all segments of thotorary conumnitj .
the tensions and conflicts wracking the soviet literary world were brought into the open with tbe appearance of vsevelod kochetov's aggressively orthodox novel the brothors yershov in the summer the novel was remarkable for its vivid description of tho soviet intellectual scene before and afterh party congress. kochetov's tirade was directed against the "rotten liberalism" of the sovietwhich had manifested itself on tbe pages of novy mir and in tbe works of ehrenburg. dudintsev, and the dramatist nikolay pogodin. not only did kochetov denounce the "thaw" conditions that had permitted tbe "repulsive insects to crawl from theirut he even censured his heroes severely for their lack of vigilance. in stressing the theme of danger from those unreconciled to the regime, kochetov strongly advocated the restoration of rigid party controls in art, backed by administrative sanctions whenever necessary.
judging from the enthusiastic reception in party and literary organs of kochetov's polemic, the work reflected the sentiments of an influential segment of soviet opinion and clearly represented the political and literary platform of the archconservatives. eview by yu. zhdanov ingazetteeptember, the novel was hailed as "the replyolshevik artist to somewavered in the complex conditions of the struggle against bourgeois ideology, who became victims and propagators of gloomy 'thaw' moods and revisionist hesitations, and who began to sink into the mud of bourgeois psoudo-democracy and to make concessions to philistine bourgeois tastes." ew critical voices were raised against tbe novel,rotest by a.ew deputy editor of novy mir, the novel was widely praised by conservative die-hards and was among theorks nominated in january for9 lenin prize for literature. in view of the mild sensation caused by kochetov
in8 when be attacked tbe presidium of tbe Lenin Price Committee for its "incorrect attitude" ln withholding prizes in literature from deserving candidateshe nomination of bis novel appeared toesounding defeat of his literary opponents.
Although tbe tenor of the official reception to Kochetov's novel left little doubt tbat the conservative die-hards were pressing for an uncompromising victory, there were other signsitter struggle was being waged behind the scenos. While visiting England in earlyanferov, editor of October, expressed optimism about the fight that "writers" were waging against literaryhom helabeled the "internalnd he predicted theof Surkov from his commanding position ln the literary hierarchy.
At the same time, there were persistent reports that Sholokhov, one of the most eminent Soviet writers, waspressure to revise tbe ending of the long-awaited second volume of his celebratod novel Virgin Soil Upturned, in which thearty official, falls into disgrace and is purged. Moreover, the explanation given by Sholokhov during his visit to England in9 for tbe long delay in convening the Third Writers' Congress also indicated that controversy within tbe literary world had not abated. According to bla, theprepared by the literary hierarchy for submission to tbe congress was rejected because it failed to "embrace all sides of the creative work of all writers." In short, the orthodox spokesmen, although enjoying distinct advantages, bad failed to rout their literary adversaries.
The Pasternak affair, which bad been carefully kept under cover by literary authorities until it erupted into prominenceesult of the Nobel Prize announcement inad an unsettling effect on the Soviet literary scone. official efforts to whip up hysteria against Pasternak, many of tbe leading Soviet writers avoided participation in the ugly public spectacle, and some privately expressedover official handling of the affair. eeting of writers and intellectuals onctober reportedly broke up in disorder over Surkov's dictatorial treatment ofmanuscript. Tbe Moscow meeting on tbe following day which "unanimously" condemned and expelled Pasternak from the Writers' Union was, according to Pravda, the sceneheated discussion."
the speed with which the vituperative public campaign against pasternak was broughtlose appeared to reflect official anxiety over its disturbing consequences- theto the denunciatory practices.of the past had clearly aroused resentment among writers and activated interest in pasternak's work among young soviet intellectuals. by the fate of the hapless writer against the official bureaucracy, the affair upset the atmosphere of harmony which the regime was anxiously attempting to create.
official exasperation over the climate of opinion in the literary world was expressed at the first rsfsr writers1which convened in early december after an unexplained delay of two months. sobolev, chairman of the rsfsr writers* union,cathing indictment of the "theory ofnder which authors had escaped into the distant past instead of writing on contemporary themes. ue complained that the damage done to soviet youth by "revisionist heart-searching" was still undone, and he laid the blame directly on the more prominent authors whose "authority" hadbad example" for the younger writers. significantly, the only outstanding writer to address the congress was fedin, who had come under criticism earlier. sobolev excoriated the impudence of some writers who, in their disputes with literary authorities, claimed that they were expressing the "wisdom of the masses" which they claimed did not always coincide with official prescriptions of what should or should not bein artistic works.
although the congress denounced the literary revisionists evasion of "burning contemporary problems" wasvariety ofresolved that "work with young writersrimary task of all literarytingular lack of ideas on how to solve the impasse reached in official efforts to impose conformity and elicit cooperation. the commonplace appeals to the traditions and achievements of soviet literature were accompanied by calls to avoid "excessive liberalism" in the admission of newcomers into the literary organizations and in evaluation of their work. against the background of the continued silence of the prominent soviet men-of-letters and the repeated criticism of misguided youth at the congress, however, it was evident that the spirit of recalcitrance toward official dictates, though more subdued than, was still alive.
Searchew Accommodation. With the official program stalledirtual sit-down strike by many prominent writers and aggravated by monkey wrenches hurled by various literary practitioners, the Soviet leadership had to realize that the machinery and direction of "comradely persuasion" were badly in need of repair. Khrushchev's appeal to link literature closer to life and the series of "organizational measures" adopted by the regime, though dampening theon the literary front, had once again given risemurky" stream of literary works lacking in artistic quality. In tbe compelling atmosphere of orthodoxy, the literarydemanded by tbe regime remained stillborn while their prospective creators spent their energies in endless bickering. Given the stubborn mood of the literaryparticularly its most articulate spokosmon, the regime must have seen that cooperation would not be granted freely, but would have to be bought by concessions.
There were Indications early9 that the regime, anxious to stimulate creative activity as well as extricate itself from an uncompromising position of aggrosslve orthodoxy, was attempting toiddle ground. The decision into drop Kochetov's controversial novel The Brothers Yershov from the semifinal selection of Lenin Prize nominees and the granting of the award in April to Pogodin's Lenin Trilogy wero moves in this direction. The fact that Pogodln had flirted with heresy in his play Petrarch's Sonnet, which had appeared in tho much-denounced Literoturnaya Moskva II and whlcb had been singled out for sharp critleiaa in Kocne-tov's novel, was apparently outweighed by the noed to secure support from recalcitrant writers, even at the expense of alienating the conservative die-bards. The choice ofwork over Kochetov's was particularly noteworthy in view of the mild sensation caused by Kochetov's attack in8 on the Lenin Prize Committee for its "incorrect attitude" in withholding prizes for literaturo
A series of shake-ups in tbe management of Literary Gazette, beginning in February and continuing through May, also appeared tohift toward moderation in official policy. The editorial board of the newspaper was radically overhauled by the appointment of five nev oditors and tbe romoval of three Incumbents, Including the editor in chief, Kochetov, and his deputy, Valery Druzin. Whatever thebehind those changes, the removal of two mon notorious
for their militant dogmatism was bound to have aneffect on the affairs of the literary profession. Kochetov previouslyecord of ill health and ostensibly was removed for this reason "at his ownis ouster had the effect of dissociating the regimeighly embarrassing and unbearably contentious figure.
Coincident with these developments, thererend toward greater frankness of expression in literaryduring the period aftert party congress, even though nothing said or done there appeared to foreshadowevelopment. The fact that Khrushchev's current literary favorite, Tvardovsky, spoke for the literary profession at tbe congress instead ofpossible indication of the latter's disfavoresult of his handling of themore noteworthy than the conventionalof his speech.
In striking contrast to bis perfunctory performance at the congress, Tvardovskyatirical poem, "Morningn the March issue of his journal, Novy Mir,the literary censorship. Furthermore, in May he printed the highly heretical essay by Ehrenburg, On Rereading Chekhov. equel to his allegorical description of the stifling effects of party control of the arts. The Lessons of Stendhal, Ehrenburg's article resurrected all the heretical ideas expressed in his earlier work.
While veteran writers resumed their attacks on official standards, official spokesmen exhibited an unusual air of detachment and restraint during the period following the party congress. arty meeting of Moscow writers in late February addressed by the head of the cultural department of the party central committee, Dmitry Pollkarpov, theharped on traditional themes and studiously abstained from controversial questions.
A similar mood was reflected in an editorial onin the issue of Kommunlst which appeared in latethe first editorial on this subject carried in the party organ since the publication of Khrushchev's speeches on literature in Without retreating from orthodox positions, the editorial concentrated on the theme of unity in the literary world, appealing for an end to both theinto factionalism" which dissipated creative energies
and the "backsliding into dogmatism" which disoriented creative writers. The call for unity was distinguishedenewed effort to define socialist realism as an artistic method offering vast opportunities for the expression of creative individuality. By sending their more contentious figures out to pasture and by avoiding disputatious issues, the regime spokesmen evidently hoped to accomplish what their pressure tactics had thus far failed to achieve.
At the Third Writers' Congress, which finally convened in mid-May, the official posture of moderation andreceived Khrushchev's sanction. In his extemporaneous address to the gathering, by far the most outstanding event on the agenda, Khrushchev stated that the "angel ofwas in the air andhealing of wounds" was Maintaining that the opponents of orthodoxy had been "ideologically" routed, he advised against the practice of emphasizing pastfan when he was down, and appealed for more tactfulness in approaching "people who had tbe misfortune to let themselves get entangled with the devil."
While extending sympathy for the "varnishers" who had portrayed life from "Communist positions" and levelingat the "nonvarnishers" who had concentrated on "negative" phenomena, Khrushchev refrained from offering any cut-and-dried formula for avoiding errors. The solution of such matters, he declared, was up to the writers themselvescomradelynd it wasask for the egime. From the tenor of Khrushchev's remarks and themoderate statements of regime spokesmen at the congress, it appeared that tho regime, content with theof its controls, was intent onessrole in literary affairs, playing the situation by ear and intervening directly only when events threatened to get out of hand.
The official posture of moderation was reinforced at the congress by the removal of Surkov as first secretary of the Writers' Union. As head of the literary bureaucracy he had incurred the enmity of many writers, particularly those of liberal outlook, and his removal was welcomed as agesture by the regime. The selection of Fed in, theand generally respected head of the Moscow writers, as Surkov's successor wasid for greater harmony on
the literary front. Although Fedin's orthodoxy wasbis leadership of the obstreperous Moscow writers had been distinguished by moderation and flexibility, tempered by sympathy for the errant writers under his charge. In light of the conciliatory tone of Khrushchev's remarks at thethe change of leadership in the literary bureaucracy was designed toajor source of discontent and to promote cooperation by the recalcitrant elements in thecommunity.
During the congress proceedings, which were relatively free of acrimoniousumber of eminent writersguilty of heretical conduct capitalized on the more liberal official atmosphere by advancing criticisms ofstandards in language reminiscent of the "thaw" period. Apparently anticipating the change in official attitude as well as the rebuff to the literary bureaucracy, the veteran writers reasserted views which had come under heavy official censure. In line with the policy of restraint, the official reaction to these utterances was surprisingly mild, suggesting that the regime was more anxious to preserve the facade of harmony than to encourage disruptive debate.
The poet Semen Kirsanov, who hadrominent role in the "feat of silence" by nonconformist Moscow writers led the attack against the status quo. In perhaps the most impassioned speech at the congress, Kirsanov protested against the retarding influence on literature exercised by literary critics and the official press. He denounced the former for discouraging originality ln literature and the latter for its "systematic propaganda for bad and especially mediocre works." He also criticized Kochetov's novel The Brothers Yershov, charging that the letter's description of the conflict between intellectuals and workersrotesque caricature of reality. In striking contrast to the sharpdirected at earlier criticism of Kochetov's novel, the reaction to Kirsanov's attack was remarkably temperate.
Tvardovsky, whose speech was referred to approvingly by Khrushchev, also chose to criticize the literary milieu, thoughein more temperate than that of Kirsanov. pointed to the futility of attempting to achieve good literature through reliance on "imperfect and at times..'organizational measures'" and emphasized the need tonew and different Bet of standards" superior to
the artistic criteria that had sufficed in the past. Hedisdain for those who were "readily prepared to be answerable for 'literatureo guide it, manage it, and directobvious reference to bureaucratic interference in theappealed to each writor tomore personal responsibility. Above all, be advised authors, "Write as your conscience dictates, as yourof the sector of life you have chosen permits you to write, and do not be afraid in advance of editors and critics.
Tho criticisms voicod by Kirsanov and Tvardovsky were echoed by the veteran writer Konstantln Paustovsky, who had been removed from the editorial board of Literary Gazette ln6 and subjected to party censure for his vigorousof Dudintsev. Writing in Literary Gazette onay while the congress was still in session, Paustovskyide range of literary conventions, particularly thoof writers and their avoidance of themes of hardship and suffering in works of art. He denied that devotion to country was tbe monopoly of any single group of creative artists and chlded those who called their literary colleagues enemiesthey bad expressed "unpleasant truths" in literary works "Perhaps we shout so often and so loudly about truth lne audaciously asserted, "Just because there is lack of it." Paustovsky's condemnation of "pettyunderstood to mean partyhis appeal for unhampered creativity wore symptomatic of the unregenerate mood of defiance to official prescription tbat continued to permeate the literary community.
In contrast to tbe sharp censure that was uniformly heaped on such outbursts of nonconformity in the past, the reactions of official spokesmen at the congress wero devoid of abusive polemics. In fact, Boris Hyurlkov, deputy chief of the cultural department of the party central committoe, went out of his way to express approval of the decision to publish Paustovsky's article ln Literary Gazette, even though, in Ryurlkov's opinion, it contained "partly disputable" Also in keeping with the new attitude of restraint, Sergey Smirnov, who had replaced Kochetov as editor ofGazette, cautioned against the use of denunciatory attacks on doviant authors and called insteadtrulyespoctful, attentive attitude toward those being criticized"which be declared were lacking in tbe oldof the Writers' Union and Literary Gazette.
The disinclination to engage in abusivo debate and the unusual measuro of restraint manifested by official spokesmen at tbe Writers' Congress appeared to formalize the beginning of another phaso in the development of relationships between regime and writers In the USSR. By seeking toetter balance between pressure and restraint, the regime evidently hoped to get better results from its policy of "comradely persuasion" and to facilitate the creation of an atmosphere more conducive to the development of good literature tailored to official purposes. While ready to curb excesses in belles-lettres deemed likely to create "unwholesome" publictbe regime appeared willing to grant writers somewhat freer rein in expressing their convictions in professional circles. As another departure from the paranoiac dogmatism of the Stalin era and the conformist pressures of the recent past, the new official attitude of reasonableness constituted an effort tooro durable accommodation between regime and writers.
The very act of official accommodation, however, is likely to be interpreted by writersign of relaxation, creating better opportunities for original artistic expression. Although now aware of the pitfalls of open heresy, writers who have been restive in the past will seek to test the new literary leadership in order to determine the limits of artistic discussion and creative activity. Editors anddisarmed by tbe demands for moderation, may be less anxious to condemn categorically works of literary merit and ambiguous ideological content. In short, the olement offrom distortions of truth and official Interference in the arts, an element which has persisted In the Sovietcommunity throughout the post-Stalin period, is likely to be strengthened by developments at the Third Writers'.