"The CPSU is trying to prevent the publication of an anti-Soviet book"



I learned that the writer B. Pasternak had forwarded the manuscript of his novel Doctor Zhivago to Italy to the Feltrinelli publishing house. He granted the specified publisher the right to publish the novel and the right to transfer it for reprinting in France and in England.

Roman B. Pasternak is an evil libel on the USSR.

The Department of the CPSU Central Committee for Relations with Foreign Communist Parties takes measures, through friends, to prevent the publication of this anti-Soviet book abroad.

I am sending for reference information from the Department of Culture of the Central Committee of the CPSU about the novel of B. Pasternak “Doctor Zhivago”.

D. Shepilov

Help Department of Culture of the Central Committee of the CPSU about the novel B. L. Pasternak "Doctor Zhivago"

Not later than August 31, 1956

Writer B. Pasternak passed the novel “Doctor Zhivago” into the magazines “Banner” and “New World”. He forwarded a copy of this novel to Italy to the Feltrinelli publishing house with the right of transfer for reprinting in France and in England.

The novel by B. Pasternak is a hostile act against the ideology of Marxism and the practice of revolutionary struggle, a vicious libel against activists and participants in the revolution. The entire period of our history over the past half century has been portrayed in a novel from the alien positions of a vicious bourgeois individualist, for whom a revolution is a meaningless and cruel rebellion, chaos and universal savagery.

The story unfolds as the life story of Dr. Zhivago. The son of a millionaire who committed suicide, Zhivago is brought up in a Moscow professorial family, ends the university’s medical faculty, participates in a war, then undergoes the misfortunes and hardships of a revolutionary time and dies in the early thirties. Two epilogues (one refers to 1943, and the other “five to ten years after the war”) report some events of the following years.

Along with Zhivago, several other heroes act in one way or another, somehow connected with and confronted with him at different periods of life (friends of youth Gordon and Dudorov, Antipov and his wife Lara, lawyer Komarovsky, professorial family of Zhivago's wife, etc.).

But it is Zhivago who finds himself at the center of the development of the plot, and the author trusts him to express his most cherished thoughts, to evaluate people and events. These thoughts and assessments are not contested anywhere, but, on the contrary, are confirmed by the whole development of the action in the novel, Zhivago undoubtedly acts as a “mouthpiece” of the author’s ideas (it’s not by chance that he is not only a doctor, but also a poet and his pen "Attributes" Pasternak poems attached at the end of the novel). What are these ideas?

From the very first pages of the novel, Uncle Zhivago, a stripped-down pop and a philosopher (who somehow turns out to be associated with revolutionary emigration), expresses thoughts that sink into the soul of a ten-year-old boy.

“Any herd instinct,” he says, “is a refuge of lack of gratitude, whether loyalty to Solovyov or Kant or Marx is the same. Truth is sought only by loners ”(part 1, p. 9-10).

In the future, such a "criticism" of Marxism from the standpoint of militant individualism is already being conducted on behalf of Zhivago himself.

“Marxism,” he instructs soon after the revolution, “has too little control over himself to be a science. Sciences are more balanced. Marxism and objectivity? I do not know the flow that is more isolated in itself and far from facts than Marxism. Everyone is anxious about checking oneself through experience, and the people of power for the sake of the fable of their own infallibility with all their forces turn away from the truth ”(part 2, p. 7).

In another place, the Communist Manifesto is put on a par with Dostoevsky's “Possessed”, and the soldiers' joining of Marxism is portrayed parody, they go to Marxism in the same way “as they used to go from archers to robbers”.

But not only Marxism, but also the revolution itself is portrayed in the novel as a phenomenon deeply alien to Russian life, a wild revolt of nonentities.

Zhivago says that for “the instigators of the revolution ... the turmoil of change is the only native element” and this is “from the absence of certain ready-made abilities, from lack of gifts” (part 2, p. 59).

The novel is replete with angry attacks against the revolution as an idea and against a revolutionary as a person. Repeating the old White Guard slander, the author tries to assure that the revolution is caused by the machinations of fanatics and "Bourbons of the Commissar of the Government", who, without regard for anything, are doing their own "dirty deed". Here is a very characteristic argument:

"At the beginning of the revolution, when, following the example of 1905, they feared that this time the revolution would be a short-term event in the history of the enlightened upper classes, and would not touch the deep bottoms and not consolidate in them, the people tried with all their might to propagandize, revolutionize, rebel, stir up and infuriate "(Part 2, p. 128).

As a result, wild and bloody chaos arose. “This leap from the serene, innocent dimension into the blood and the screams, the indiscriminate madness and savagery of everyday and hourly, legalized and praised murder” (part 2, p. 204).

And further:

“Then falsehood came to the Russian land. The main trouble, the root of the future evil was the loss of faith in the price of their own opinions. They imagined that the time when they were following the inspirations of moral sense, it is over, that now it is necessary to sing from a common voice and live as strangers, with all imposed ideas. The dominion of the phrase, first monarchical, then revolutionary, began to grow ”(part 2, p. 204).

In many places, the author is developing the Trotskyist little idea about the Thermidorian rebirth of the revolution, that the robespiera, the fanatics of the revolution, are being replaced by stupid people who "worship the spirit of narrow-mindedness".

“Each restoration of this young power,” the heroine argues with the author’s complete sympathy, “goes through several stages. Initially, this is the triumph of reason, the critical spirit, the fight against prejudice. Then comes the second period. The dark forces of the “clinging on”, falsely sympathizing, gain an advantage. Suspicion, denunciations, intrigue, and hateliness are growing. And you are right, we are at the beginning of the second phase ”(part 2, p. 209).

It is from these positions that different stages and periods of revolution are depicted and evaluated in the novel - both the days of the October revolution, the years of civil war, and NEP, which is called “the most ambiguous and fake of all Soviet periods”, and the subsequent era, which is in the spirit of terry bourgeois slander is interpreted as a time of total stiffness, falsehood and hypocrisy.

These thoughts are clearly and clearly expressed at the end of the novel. Shortly before Zhivago's death, he meets with friends of his youth, Dudorov and Gordon.

Dudorov says that he was unjustly convicted, and then rehabilitated, but that the arguments of the prosecution and interviews with the investigator politically rehabilitated him and that as a man he grew up.

“Innokenty's virtuous speeches,” the author comments, “were in the spirit of the times. But it was precisely the regularity, the transparency of their hypocrisy that blew up Yuri Andreevich (Zhivago). A non-free person always idealizes his bondage. So it was in the Middle Ages, the Jesuits always played on it. Yuriy Andreevich did not tolerate the political mysticism of the Soviet intelligentsia, of what was its highest achievement or, as they would say, the spiritual ceiling of the epoch ”(part 2, p. 313).

And Zhivago says to Dudorov:

“Nowadays, microscopic forms of cardiac hemorrhage have become very frequent ... This is a disease of modern times. I think its reasons for moral order. From the vast majority of us require a constant, in the system erected krivodushiya. It is impossible without day-to-day health consequences to manifest oneself against what one feels, grovel before what one does not like, rejoice at what brings you unhappiness ”(part 2, pp. 314-319).

In the epilogue, Dudorov is a university professor and a major in the Soviet Army, who has served his second sentence and rehabilitated, says to Gordon, who also just experienced an unfair conclusion:

“An amazing thing. Not only in the face of your hard labor, but also in relation to the whole previous life of the thirties, even in the wild, even in the well-being of university activities, books, money, amenities, war was a cleansing storm, a stream of fresh air, a spirit of deliverance.

I think collectivization was a false, failed measure, and one could not admit to an error. To hide the failure, it was necessary to disaccustom people to judge and think by all means of intimidation and force them to see the non-existent and prove the opposite evidence. Hence the unprecedented cruelty of Yezhovshchina, the promulgation of the non-calculated constitution, the introduction of elections that are not based on an elective principle.

And when war broke out, its real horrors, real danger and the threat of real death were a boon compared to inhuman domination of fiction and brought relief because they limited the magic power of the dead letter ”(part 2, pp. 348-349).

In the second epilogue, which takes place "five to ten years after the war," the author writes in his own name:

“Although enlightenment and liberation, which were expected after the war, did not come along with the victory, as they thought, all the same, the forerunner of freedom was in the air all the post-war years, making up their only historical content.”

When describing various stages of the revolution, when depicting its leaders and participants, the author tries to confirm and illustrate the thoughts expressed in a general form - about the groundlessness and senseless cruelty of the revolution, about the rebirth of Soviet society, about the falsehood and opportunism that pervades the entire Soviet life. The events of the revolutionary years, he sees the eyes of our enemies.

Revolutionary events of 1905 in Moscow are depicted in a caricatural parody form (a meaningless demonstration about which “several revolutionary organizations were gnawed at”, a ridiculous “strike” in a sewing workshop).

Describing the era of revolution and civil war, the author by all means tries to emphasize its senseless cruelty and fanaticism. Senseless torment accidentally captured people sent to labor service, senseless brutality of the punitive detachment, shot from an armored train village, refused to make the requisitioning, meaningless - in the image of the author - a civil war in which the "fanaticism of white and red competed in cruelty, alternately increasing one response on the other, as if they were multiplied together ”, the revolution itself is meaningless, as a result of which the people“ fell from the clutches of the old, overthrown statehood into narrower blinders of the new re volitional superstate ". The camp of the partisans, to which Zhivago falls, seems to him like a bunch of stupid and brutalized people, ready for any cruelty and any senseless and ridiculous crime. And of course, all his sympathies are on the side of the enemies, the young recruits of the White Guard army, whose bold attack is described with tenderness and admiration.

All active activists of the revolution are spiritually broken people, not quite normal, pathetic adventurers.

Such is Antipov-Strelnikov, who entered the revolution only from the desire to distinguish himself and win the right to love Lara. Such is the "representative" of the central government, delivering an absurd speech at a meeting of guerrilla commanders; finally, the guerrilla commander Livery himself is a stupid and empty self-assured little boy-adventurer.

With frank anger, the author writes about the workers-security officers, the old participants of the first revolution: “those assigned to divine rank, at whose feet the revolution laid all its gifts and sacrifices, they sat in silent, stern idols, from which political arrogance wiped out all living, human” ( h. 2, p. 88).

The same overt hostility is seen in everything that the author writes about Soviet life in the years to come. Only once do fighters of the Soviet Army appear in the novel. And that's how it is said about them:

“Immediately they were cultivated, primazhivalis reinforced, slept and then trailed further west the skinny thinmen teenagers from the marching mouths of replenishment in gray caps and heavy gray overcoats, with drunk, earthy, disintegrated bloodless persons” (part 2, p. 353).

Only the enemy could see the Soviet soldiers, who went to the front.

In his novel, B. Pasternak speaks not only against the socialist revolution and the Soviet state, he breaks with the indigenous traditions of Russian democracy, declares all words about the bright future of mankind, about the struggle for people's happiness, meaningless, fake and hypocritical. Many of the reasoning in the novel directly echoes the writings of the reactionary cadet collection Milestones, which V. I. Lenin called the “encyclopedia of liberal renegade,” with the most heinous and vile writings of such hard-working renegades as Shestov, Merezhkovsky, Rozanov and others.

“Out of everything Russian,” Zhivago argues, “I now most of all love the Russian childishness of Pushkin and Chekhov, their shy lack of awareness about such loud things as the ultimate goals of humanity and their own salvation.”

Every word about the people - "vulgarity and theatricality." And when Nicholas II, speaking during the war to the soldiers, does not utter such words, it is because "he was natural in Russian and tragically above this vulgarity."

Thus, revolutions and democracies are contrasted not only by the White Guards, but also by the emperor of All Russia, which is spoken of with pity and tenderness.

In the same spirit, reactionary epigonism is sustained in the novel and all the reasoning about art, which "always serves beauty", and "beauty is the happiness of owning form", etc.

The novel by B. Pasternak is an evil slander on our revolution and on our whole life. This is not only an ideologically flawed, but also an anti-Soviet work, which certainly cannot be admitted to print.

Due to the fact that B. Pasternak submitted his work to an Italian publishing house, the Department of the Communist Party Central Committee for Relations with Foreign Communist Parties takes measures, through friends, to prevent this slanderous book from being published abroad.

D. Polikarpov I. Chernoutsan

  1. AP RF. F. Z. Op. 34. D. 269. L. 2-7

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