Poem And Anti-Socialist Realism In Soviet Russia

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Socialist Realism in Soviet Russia
“I want to warn those comrades who, like myself, hoped that their music, which is not understood by the people today, will be understood by the future generations tomorrow. It is a fatal theory” (“Discussion”). In his speech, delivered at a general assembly of Soviet composers, Aram Khachaturian continues by urging his peers to reform their artistic inspiration and begging them to prove their conformity by sincerely reorienting compositions. What he warned them against, the consequences that artists would learn to face, have long been obscured by the shadows of the Soviet Union’s other malicious practices. Communist Russia was widely known for its purges of government officials and repression of freedom. Those
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In the spring of 1934, Osip Mandelshtam was arrested for his satirical poem, the “Stalin Epigram”. After his incarceration, he was forced to write another poem, “Ode to Stalin”, this time praising the dictator. These two poems provide contrast between his natural and forced writing. In the poem that provoked Mandelshtam’s arrest, he writes that Stalin, “toys with the tributes of half-men. // One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.“ (“Stalin Epigram”) In this section of Mandelshtam’s uninhibited poem, he describes the cowardice encompassing Stalin’s followers. The poem, far too critical of Stalin for the author to escape unscathed, led to Mandelshtam’s arrest and eventual death in the camps. Though he was aware that this publication was a death wish, the resulting work survives to this day as a source of insight into the knowledge of the artists living under Stalin’s regime. His “Ode to Stalin” is another primary example of Mandelshtam’s defiance, in…show more content…
Mandelshtam was imprisoned and tortured for his satirization of Stalin and his fascist policies. Even when in captivity, however, Mandelshtam retained some of his brazen qualities, evident in how while, “the 1933 “Epigram” offers an unambiguous attack on a fascist dictator, the “Ode” can be read as a celebration of fascism, but inasmuch as the celebration is fascist, it exposes Stalin as fascist as well” (Brinkey). Mandelshtam, sent away to a labor camp, was forced into a sort of rebellious form of repentance. His contrived poems glorifying Stalin were double-edged swords, acknowledging his fascist basis even if it was theoretically derived from praise. This final retaliation was ultimately his downfall. Soon after its publication, a “letter from Vladimir Stavsky, the General Secretary of the Writers Union, to Nikolai Yezkov, the Soviet Commissar of Internal Affairs…describes Mandelshtam as “a writer of obscene, libellous verse about the leadership of the Party and all the Soviet people”…[and] recommends Mandelshtam’s [re]arrest” (Brinkley). Mandelshtam’s “Ode to Stalin” was meant to satiate the hunger of Socialist Realism’s grip on all artistic output; however, his attempted reconciliation with the Soviet Union was
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