“Perhaps the best-documented struggle of the cultural revolution was in literature,” (Freeze, pg.356). The reason literature became a struggle during 1929 was the shift from creativity to constraints that took place in regards to artistic expression: no longer would opinions be created autonomously. Rather, what is published would be dictated by the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP). “The chief villains, though, were Stalin and Central Committee, which used RAPP to place literature and the other arts (excepting, for the time being, music) under Party control,” (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History).
Leopol’d Averbakh was considered to be the leadership figure of RAPP. Although he was considered the “undisputed king of RAPP,” he was also referenced as “the executioner of Soviet-Russian literature,” (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. Under his direction and the power of the state backing his efforts, the ideology behind RAPP was thoroughly pushed to a point in which the “dictums (of RAPP) become odious and destructive (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History).
Another example of constraint was within art. The artistic equivalent to RAPP was the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR). An example of artistic constraints during this time period would be the painting above. The constraints for the picture above, and those that other artists attempted to meet, include the idea that “the art must serve the interests of industrialization and the worker state,” (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History).
In order to visualize the concepts that RAPP attempted to impose on society, Director Kuleshov “created a film that seems to satirize the ‘varnishing of reality’ that RAPP vilified,'” (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History). Below is a link to the film he directed to potentially give insight on how Kuleshov tried to make the impositions of RAPP still fit the direction of his creativity.
Whether the constraints of the cultural revolution of 1929 were placed on writers, artists, or directors, cultural intolerance was being built. In order for this intolerance to be built, however, certain goals (formulated by the Proletariats) had to be met. The two goals were as followed:
1) To root out class-alien culture
2) Create new art forms in its place
(Seventeen Moments in Soviet History)
Due to the goals mentioned above, many limitations were placed upon those that had previously been able to share their ideas. “Former aristocrats, unsympathetic intellectuals, nonconformist artists, and other dangerous elements were denied access to presses, theaters, and museums,” (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History).
Considering the twenties had brought the ability to express in a freer capacity, the implications of the cultural revolution on artistic expression reverted the progress that had been made thus far.