Voices of Russian Literature: Interviews with Ten Contemporary Writers

By Sally Laird | Go to book overview

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
1932(April) Party decree ‘On the Restructuring of Literary and Artistic Organizations’, involving systematic unification of cultural life under Party leadership and creation of single Union of Writers of the USSR (and analogous unions for other arts). (May) The term ‘socialist realism’ is first used by I. Gronsky, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Union of Writers.
1934(August) First Congress of the Union of Writers. Socialist realism adopted as the approved method for all Soviet writers. (December) Assassination of Leningrad Party leader Sergei Kirov signals start of the Great Terror.
1935(January) Start of mass deportations to the White Sea and Kolyma to ‘avenge’ Kirov’s death.
1936First of the ‘show trials’ of Stalin’s enemies in the Party (Kamenev and Zinovev).
1937–9Height of the Great Terror, involving ‘show trials’ of top members of the Party and military and mass arrests of innocent people. Over 2,000 writers are arrested, of whom half eventually perish in the camps.
1941Germany invades USSR (June). Evacuation from Moscow and Leningrad of certain writers, artists etc. to safety in cities further east. During the war ideological control over writers is partially relaxed.
1941–4Siege of Leningrad.
1945(9 May) Germans surrender.
1946(August) Andrei Zhdanov, the Party’s ideological watchdog, issues a decree on literature, vilifying Anna Akhmatova and Mikhail Zoshchenko. Start of the period of ‘zhdanovshchina’: ideological clamp-down on the arts and xenophobic attack on ‘cosmopolitans’ which continues until Stalin’s death.
1953(5 March) Death of Stalin. (September) Nikita Khrushchev becomes First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
1954Ilya Ehrenburg publishes his novel The Thaw, signalling new direction in literature and giving name to the period that follows. (December) Second Congress of the Union of Writers takes place (with only 20 per cent of original members alive to participate), becoming occasion for first denunciation of Stalin’s repressions.
1955Founding of the journal Yunost′ (Youth) in which many young writers of the Thaw period make their name.
1956(February) Twentieth Congress of the CPSU. Khrushchev makes his ‘Secret Speech’ denouncing Stalin’s crimes. Start of ‘rehabilitation’ of writers and others repressed under Stalin. Publication of liberal anthology Literaturnaya Moskva (Literary Moscow), edited by Konstantin Paustovsky.

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Voices of Russian Literature: Interviews with Ten Contemporary Writers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations viii
  • A Note on Style ix
  • Chronology of Events x
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - Fazil Iskander (B. 1929) 1
  • 2 - Lyudmila Petrushevskaya (B. 1938) 23
  • 3 - Vladimir Makanin (B. 1937) 49
  • 4 - Andrei Bitov (B. 1937) 72
  • 5 - Tatyana Tolstaya (B. 1951) 95
  • 6 - Yevgeny Popov (B. 1946) 118
  • 7 - Vladimir Sorokin (B. 1955) 143
  • 8 - Zufar Gareyev (B. 1955) 163
  • 9 - Viktor Pelevin (B. 1962) 178
  • 10 - Igor Pomerantsev (B. 1948) 193
  • Select Bibliography 213
  • Index 227
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