Culture and Politics Under Stalin: A Reappraisal

Sheila Fitzpatrick
1976 Slavic Review: Interdisciplinary Quarterly of Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies  
Much is known about Soviet cultural life under Stalin. It has been described in a large memoir literature which, whether published in the Soviet Union or the West, basically expresses the viewpoint of the old Russian intelligentsia and tends to be a literature of moral protest, either against the Soviet regime as such or against the abuses of the Stalin period. There is an equally impressive body of Western scholarly literature analyzing the syndrome of "totalitarian control" of culture, with
more » ... of culture, with its characteristics of arbitrary repression, destruction of traditional associations, enforced conformity, censorship, political controls, and injunctions to writers and artists to act as "engineers of the human soul" in the Communist transformation of society. The concept of totalitarianism—developed in the postwar years, which were also the formative years of American Soviet studies—incorporated its own element of moral condemnation, making the scholarly literature strikingly similar in tone to the memoir literature of the intelligentsia.
doi:10.2307/2494589 fatcat:bqeyir2st5byxgwlnipx7cifmu