The Crisis of Soviet Artistic Mentality in the 1960s and 1970s

  • Galina Belaia


In recent years we have seen an attempt to make differentiations within Soviet literature, to separate the ‘clean’ from the ‘unclean’. In the main, non-conformist writers are numbered among the ranks of the ‘clean’: Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak and a few others. Such an approach is socio-political rather than scholarly. The truth is that the artistic intelligentsia of Russia on the whole accepted the revolution, for a variety of reasons, including traditional historical ones stemming from the mentality of the Russian intelligentsia, a mentality that prepared it to accept the idea of coercion, sacrifice, historical guilt before the people, and retribution. None the less the time came when the apparent monolith of Soviet literature began to self-destruct. In this chapter we are concerned with the process of self-destruction within the Soviet artistic mentality and not the destruction caused in the period of perestroika by the external pressure of incontrovertible facts about the bloody Stalinist past.


Contemporary Life Personal Dignity Spiritual Climate Russian Intelligentsia Public Pronouncement 
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  1. 11.
    Lidiia Ginzburg, O starom i novom (Leningrad, 1982), p. 17.Google Scholar

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© International Council for Soviet and East European Studies, and Sheelagh Duffin Graham 1992

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  • Galina Belaia

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