R. A. Medvedev on the oppression of soviet writers and artists

Note 23. To the Subsection “2. Critiques of Socialist Realism

R. A. Medvedev, who criticized Stalin, depicts how Soviet writers and artists were oppressed in the late 1930s. Medvedev explains the reality of socialist realism by saying that, as it turned out, social realism did not describe the truth of reality, but on the contrary embellished reality in order to embellish Communism. He said that “[In the forties], the embellishment of reality became the hallmark of many writers; the desirable was often indistinguishable from the real.” Let History Judge: Origins and Consequences of Stalinism (London: Macmillan, 1972), 531. He also said that “Artistic quality was bound to be very low. A vast quantity of gray, uninteresting works appeared in all fields of literature and art” (Ibid. 532).