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Dr. Sergey Zagraevsky


Arts and the loss of Soviet power



Published in Russian:  . . , . 4. ., 2001.



The following text was translated from the Russian original by the computer program

and has not yet been edited.

So it can be used only for general introduction.





What ruined the Soviet regime?

In order to understand this, it is necessary to start from afar.

First, as expected, agree on terms. Let the Soviets generally called the economic, political and ideological system that existed with the USSR since the early thirties to late eighties. Lenin's "war communism" and "NEP" - still not quite though formally they are also called the Soviet authorities. Moreover, the "Soviets of workers and peasants ' deputies, from which the term went, appeared in March of 1917 and the October revolution was carried out under the slogan "All power to the Soviets". Actually until October, the Soviets had at least some power, and after there's no, but that is another topic.

Of course, everything that we talked about political information about a global, research-based differences between the Soviet authorities against "imperialism"and the socialist economy of capitalism - a complete lie. All was much simpler: the Communist dictatorship of ideas covered targeted to conquer the world. These goals and did not hide, but declared the possibility of achieving a peaceful way, knowing the unreality of the latter.

However, the famous postulate military dictatorships "if you want peace - prepare for war" and no one has repealed. Hence, all the specific "dictature" features of the socialist economy - distribution system, the global charging direction of almost all of the profits at the disposal of the state, state ownership of all businesses and others. In fact, the whole country turned into one giant Corporation, to which the Western-type monsters "British Petroleum" or "General Motors" was very far away.

And as you know, the bigger the Corporation, the more difficult it becomes to manage and the lower right hand knows what the left is doing. It is fair to say that excessive centralization is more or less able to work in wartime, and perhaps precisely because of this system, Stalin was able to win the war.

But then the war ended for all but the USSR! And seems to be relatively peaceful sixties-seventies actually were marked by a continuous "prelude" to the global war in which Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan were only testing ground for new types of weapons.

And in terms of actual war is absolutely no surprise vicious persecution Pasternak, Brodsky, Sinyavsky and Daniel, Solzhenitsyn, Rabin, and the heroes of the civil rights movement. The instinct to suppress dissent is present in any dictatorship. In war as in war, even if it is "cold"...




Our generation sees the time since the death of Stalin until the early nineties, as many eras - "early" Khrushchev (1953-1956), "thaw" (1956-1964), "early" Brezhnev (1965-1970), the Brezhnev "stagnation" (1970-1982), Andropov attempts to make hard power (1983-1984), chernigovskogo "return to stagnation" (1984-1985), Gorbachev's "perestroika" (1985-1991), the beginning of the Gaidar reforms (1991-1993).

Perhaps in the very near future historians will describe all of the above periods as one - the transition from the Stalinist dictatorship to a democratic state (if we still manage to finally go to him).

Undoubtedly, historians will say that collapse of Soviet power was caused by the fact that if in the late thirties Stalin managed to split the Western world and incite Hitler in Western Europe after the war, neither he nor his successor, Khrushchev, nothing like this had failed to do. Against the Soviet Union proved to resources around the world. Khrushchev, he could oppose only feverishly mined virgin soil, and Brezhnev - Siberian oil and gas complex. Both on the cost of losing an "enemy" counterparts - canadian wheat and Arab oil. Besides, everyone knows that the larger the Corporation, the less ordinary employee interest in the global results of its operations and, accordingly, lower productivity.

You may be concluded that in the end of the Soviet Union destroyed the invention suicidal nuclear weapons: Stalin used it couldn (the Americans were much more), Khrushchev and Brezhnev, thank God, did not dare, and without it the global war against the United States did not succeed. Therefore launched by Stalin in the thirties of the war for world domination has become the "arms race", adopted an economic nature. But the economic war, the USSR had lost in the fifties.

Force is to recognize only found Gorbachev, and before that all attempts of his predecessors something "twist" of the militia of the Soviet economy ended in failure. The political and economic dictatorship theoretically allows the USSR leadership to do anything, just are not getting is not enough resources. In the end, the last continuously filmed with the consumer sector" and went to prepare a hypothetical war. Along with the unprecedented and totally unjustified accumulation of arms, slowly but surely emptied shops...

All this for our descendants to not just analyze, and, of course, the underlying macroeconomic and political causes of the collapse of the Soviet regime will be discussed.




But a reasonable question arises: why did the Soviet regime collapsed almost imperceptibly, without any political upheaval?

Indeed, on 7 November 1987 workers even went to a demonstration dedicated to the 70-th anniversary of the great October Socialist revolution. And the coup (State emergency Committee) in August 1991 was the attempt of restoration of Soviet power. Hence, the collapse of the Soviet political and economic system took place between these two dates.

In fact, the time range can be further narrowed. At the end of 1989, the Soviet Union began one after another sliver "socialist countries". Remember: all this was perceived, and us, and our government (and of the CPSU, no one has canceled) quite easily. Almost as a tribute. We do not even surprised that the Soviet television broadcast breaking of the Berlin wall and bloody footage shot Ceausescu, without any "ideological" comments, honestly and objectively.

In 1990 came the law "On property", ascertains the existence of private ownership of the means of production. As we remember, during the Soviet time the property was only the state and co-operative", and "personal" could be at best a car. Even housing the Soviet people in the property does not have, and in 1990 has already started mass privatization of apartments...

Then, in 1990, the Soviet government in the political and economic understanding, which we have "agreed" at the beginning of this article, was not.

So what happened between 1987 and 1990? Like, thank God, no world war, no hunger, no catastrophic crop failure, neither plague, nor mass uprisings, or "Palace coup"...




Have to remember classic Leninist definition of a revolutionary situation: "the upper classes can not, and the lower classes do not want to live in the old way".

Maybe "the upper classes could not"?

They could, and still as he could. Gorbachev began as an ordinary Soviet General Secretary, and for a long time kept the appropriate mindset, and the first loud "campaign" was not new - for sobriety tried to fight Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and even...

Not once I heard the following opinion: Mikhail Sergeevich, at the head of the country from 1985 to 1991, deliberately made a series of subtle political actions aimed at the collapse of the Soviet political system and the economy is behind it "stretched".

This option does not pass. The fact that Gorbachev in the early nineties was a great chance to restore its authority in the political arena and to stay forever in the memory of descendants of the Savior of Fatherland" is to declare that the destruction of the USSR was conceived, planned and implemented, and the Soviet government he hated, even working as the assistant to combine operator in the Stavropol region and looking at the things which Stalin brought agriculture. If Gorbachev had not said, even run for President of Russia - then still in the late eighties, he simply "missed" the situation.

It worked "progressive" environment Gorbachev? This Ligachev, Ryzhkov, Yazov and Lukyanov - "progressives"? And can be, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Andrei Gromyko (1909-1989)? Hardly...

People like Yeltsin, and Yakovlev, and especially metodipaketti" Popov and Sobchak, moved a little later and the "General line of the party" never formed. But senior party leaders have always tried to justify the "Communist" party name. Remember the persecution of Sakharov party a majority of the Congress of people's deputies in 1989, remember, as in the XIX party conference was curse Yeltsin...

So the upper classes "would"and "could" be still for a long time.

Hence, the "lower classes did not want"?

Since the third option so far nobody has imagined, is this. But most of the Soviet people are not particularly "like" and in the seventies, and the Soviet government at that behaved quite well. What happened in the late eighties? Why are "not wanted" turned into "not wanted very much"?

Maybe Soviet people hunting for party meetings and political information repelled this in 1987-88 the possibility of a more or less civilized making money?

Not like. First, in August 1991, the area in front of the White House was blocked not only the "new Russians", but also those whose financial situation with the collapse of Soviet power has deteriorated. And such was the overwhelming majority. Remember the empty shelves, full of goods only in 1992? Remember the "business card of the buyer"? Remember Moscow coupons salt and sugar?

Secondly, the global privatization and development of private ownership of the means of production" began only in the nineties, and in the years 1987-89 in the "private sector" has not yet been anything but cooperative caps and t-shirts at the Moscow "Riga market" and its counterparts in the major provincial cities. And not so sweet life was not numerous "cooperators".

And maybe people would believe Gorbachevsky declarations and the television program "Spotlight adjustment"?

How do! As they say, and not so heard. All this rhetoric was seen merely as another campaign, for a rapprochement with the West (such attempts have been made and Khrushchev and Eisenhower in the late fifties, and Brezhnev and Nixon in the early seventies). Everyone knew that the USSR purchases in the West seed and tools, and so the West today need. And tomorrow again lowered the "iron curtain" - and all...

So after all, what ruined the Soviet power? Why in 1987, we were still living with her, and in 1990-91 - without it?




Have to remember another Gorbachev's term -"glasnost". Of course, he was perceived as another demagogy. Remember, there was such popular "people's" poem:


Now we have the era of glasnost,

Comrade, believe - will take it

And the KGB

Remember our names!


But in 1986, abolished censorship. No, not formal in the USSR as it had not been, and why should he, if all editorial, publishing and printing are in the hands of the state? Censorship in fact - have stopped planting (at least, be excluded from the party and dismissed from job) for the "forbidden" books of the "vanguard" of the painting, for political anecdotes. And, most importantly, abolished the state monopoly on publishing houses and mass media.

This, in fact, "glasnost" and was. In Soviet times because they did not print even James Joyce and Heinrich Boll! At last, for example, Soviet ideologists of the "offended"when he is in 1961 spoke about the Berlin wall, and immediately stopped flowing in print...

And then, besides cheap booklets such as "How to be happy in bed," Russia has filled a huge stream of this literature. And Zamyatin, and Platonov, and "Doctor Zhivago", and the camp memoirs, "the Gulag Archipelago"and "Faithful Ruslan", and various foreign literature.

The books came out, and all hurry to buy them. And suddenly disappear? Published then it all some cooperative publishing house, expensive, lousy, softcover, at some terrible yellow offset - so what? This book is the book. For the "samizdat" and could sit, and here is official!

Tell as a historical anecdote: a poem Mandelstam about Stalin "We live by themselves, not feeling the country in 1988 has published some "local" newspaper (whether Ufa, whether Irkutsk), and my friends and I remember the reference to this paper. Why? Because of trouble for this poem has no one could be, once it is published in the Soviet press. It's like they ask you in the KGB, why do you mentioned this verse in such a company, and you're proud of him: "I Read in the newspaper "Zarya Uryupinsk" from a certain date! And what we have allowed to quote the Soviet press?.."

And the underground exhibition on Malaya Gruzinskaya and in the hall on the street of academician millionschikova? And the appearance in the Newspapers and magazines free of critical articles? ...

List the parameters of the so-called "public" can be long. The most important thing: during these two years there was a huge shift in the spiritual life of people who got the opportunity to come into contact with original art and to receive objective information about the events in the country and in the world. These "discoveries" within a very short time almost completely replaced the ideological chaff type "triune task of building communism" or "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".

Apparently, party ideology, opening "a narrow crack" for freedom of speech and the press, not imagined, what a mighty stream through it rain down and how quickly he will sweep away and the cause they serve, and themselves.

Note that a free and unbiased information about events in the country in this powerful stream is not played a leading role. In one way or another she Soviet people was almost always - radio "Freedom", "German wave" and "voice of America", plus "samizdat", plus the rumors, plus the political jokes that Brezhnev assumed the character of national property of Russia... most Likely, the party ideologues in 1987 knowingly "allowed" to talk openly about all issues - environmental, Chernobyl, Afghanistan, poverty, child mortality... to reduce the pressure in the boiler, normally open valve.

But art - basically, this "stream of freedom" from it and was, and that ideology could not foresee. They underestimated, first, the huge impact of art works on the mind and the subconscious mind, and secondly, the factor of the forbidden fruit, which is known to be sweet. It is now (unfortunately) most people when reading, the detective, and erotic novels, if it goes to the gallery, by Shilov, and if the cinema, in the halls with "Dolby sound" to the militants. And then, in the years 1987-90, respectively, people in the subway read Pasternak, thronged by crowds at the exhibition modern artists and stood in queues at the Tengiz Abuladze film "Repentance".




It would seem, so what?

And the fact that the mighty Soviet system, has the largest army in the world and the most established penal machine, unable to endure this.

However, the true art in the subconscious of people penetrated something, not allowing to perceive the false propaganda moves of Soviet ideology. What could be, for example, dreams of "bright Communist future" after reading the brilliant dystopia - "Chevengur" Platonov, "We" Zamyatin, "1984" by George Orwell? How could relate to the KGB - the stronghold of the socialist system - after "the Gulag Archipelago" Solzhenitsyn or "Kolyma tales" Shalamov? Is it possible to love the Soviet government after the "Steep route" Lydia S. Ginzburg, "Faithful Ruslan" Vladimova or memoirs of Nadezhda Yakovlevna Mandelshtam? A tear in the service in the Soviet Army after the Hundred days to order "Yuri Polyakov?

And so on - even "harmless" book "Moskva-Petushki" Erofeev inflicted on Soviet ideology terrible blow. Because any reader made the inevitable conclusion: it turns out that not only we Vasya laugh at the foreman and the higher authorities, not only we drink instead of working, and not only we understand that no communism in the USSR is not built...

And art exhibitions? And it's not a huge promotional power of "Soviet-type" grotesque Komar, Melamid, Boris Orlov... Any "informal art", without any political context, made a bombshell. Looking at the "apolitical" abstraktsionistskih or conceptual work, the audience thought only the following: "wow, we are all forbidden and what is there in this? Because we can, it appears, to live, as in the West, and that's okay"... but with such thoughts go on Komsomol meeting somehow it is not wanted.

And let in the years 1987-89, it seemed that the foundations of all this is not touched. Actually it was affected much more - the subconscious of people. Even if the materialist pragmatist Stalin called writers "engineers of human souls, then what can I say?

And from the unconscious to the conscious awareness is not so far.

The fact that the Communist ideology collapsed, we knew already in 1990. And that, along with the ideology of pulped and other components of Soviet power - economy and politics - we realized later, in August 1991. Paradoxically, with the coup.

In essence, the famous "resolution" of the Vice-President of the USSR Yanayev "with friends" was drawn up only in the normal "Soviet" style, but wow - it sounded so out of tune with the already far removed reality that half of Moscow instinctively rushed to the White House. It seems that Yanaev, Pugo and company so do not expect such a reaction (they are not supported even by the army)that escaped from the Kremlin surprisingly quickly. And that was the end.

So what ruined the Soviet power? The answer is: it has ruined many factors, but it was a crucial art.

The Soviet state system was based not on the economy, and ideology, and all the false ideological layers were in 1988-89 swept away by the stream of truth. The real art is not a liar - as they say, by definition. And the person who came in contact with him, learns the truth. Let this truth grams or milligrams, but lie to pounds this man already is far less receptive. But when the scale of the country have merged in a ton of these milligrams of truth, before scattered in a whisper, political jokes and "samizdat", false unable to resist them.

And let the dialectics teaches us that after every revolution there comes a reaction. Let the skeptics say that for every ton of truth there kilotonne lies. But the Soviet ideological, political and economic dictatorship of Russia saved the truth of genuine art.

God grant that Russia no longer had to save from any dictatorships. But each time another potential Bonaparte will talk about the need to "crackdown" and use the word "democracy" as a swear word, in his way is to stand the great Russian art. And sooner or later the art will win every dictator, because of the freedom of the spirit no power, no government.

Moscow, 2001.


  Sergey Zagraevsky



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