A Totalitarian Culture and Culture under Stalin

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In the 1920s, Soviet art was revolutionary, literally. The 20s was a time of experimentation with artists, musicians and architects gifted the freedom to do as they pleased. What was created was a reaton against the elites of society that had dominated under the Tsars. 

In 1929, the Russian Association of Proletarian writers was created, and it went on to dominate literature by promoting realism which focused on the everyday activities of ordinary people, rather than wild fictions. The most influential piece written the time was 'Cement' by Fyodor Gladkov, a novel telling the story of a cement factory worker who led a fight against incompetence and corruption to bring it into full production.

In architecture, Vladimir Tatlin planned for a monument to the Third International, a 400m high tower made out of glass, steel and iron which was to become a symbol of the new age, though it was never built as it was vastly impractical.

However, Stalin brought an end to the experimentation in the 30s as he decided that he wanted culture to serve a political purpose to promote socialism and the achievements of the five year plans, which is what led to Socialist Realism. Throughout the 19th Century, Russia artists and writers presented society as it actually was, including the bad sides of things. Socialist Realism differed from this as the government wanted all artists and writers to produce works that glorified the struggle of the Soviet people through the revolutions, civil war, industrial development and collectivisation. At the first All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers, the words Socialist Realism was used 228 times as they attempted to hammer home what was required of the people.

In essence, Socialist Realism was just another form of control that Stalin adopted. He used artists o influence how people behaved and thought. The art and writing was made to make Russians feel optimistic and it's style was simplified from the abstract images and shapes of the revolutionary period so that the ordinary Russian person could appreciate and understand its message.Paintings, sculptures and books all focused on the importance of the hero as a role model for others to follow and attempt to imitate. This basically meant that Stalin was able to manipulate people into acting and behaving in the ways that he wanted them…


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