State against art

Provincial printing houses

If the metropolitan press was somehow controlled at all times, then the authorities were far from always able to follow the provincial publications. A vivid example is the story that occurred at the end of the reign of Catherine II.

In 1794, the empress became aware that in the village of Kazinka a collection of Voltaire's works was printed. “It came to the notice of her imperial Majesty, that books are sold under the title: Voltaire’s complete works translated into Russian, and as these are harmful and filled with corruption, her imperial majesty commanded the most deigningly, these are confiscated here and in Moscow from booksellers ... ”- such a message was received by the governor of the governorship V. Zverev from the Prosecutor General A. N. Samoilov.


Such a statement seems rather strange: we all know that Catherine was trying to match the role of the "enlightened empress", and with Voltaire was completely in friendly correspondence. However, after the Great French Revolution, her views changed somewhat - excessive liberalism, according to Catherine, could lead to similar bloody events.

The printing house was sealed, Voltaire’s books began to be withdrawn vigorously, and in 1796 the empress signed the decree “On the restriction of the freedom of typography, the importation of foreign books and the abolition of private printing houses”. In 1797, after the death of Catherine, the book in Kazinka was set on fire. It was rumored that the publishers themselves arranged it, in order to remove at least some books from the building in the general turmoil. The young emperor Paul, who had just come to the throne, ordered to “burn out” the surviving specimens, if they were found.

“Not a movie, but some kind of nightmare!”

Many films made in the Soviet Union were banned at the time when the director was mentally choosing a shirt for the premiere and was preparing to clean his shoes. A similar situation occurred with the second part of the film “Ivan the Terrible” by Sergei Eisenstein. It would seem that nothing foreshadowed trouble: the first film so much liked the leader that he was awarded the Stalin Prize I degree.

Filming motion pictures "Ivan the Terrible"

As much as Stalin liked the first film, the second also disappointed him. “Not a movie, but some kind of nightmare!” - he threw such a phrase after the movie screening. Stalin did not like that the king looked weak and was associated with Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the guardsmen were exposed in a negative light. Of course, the work of Eisenstein banned. For the first time, the wider audience saw the second series of Ivan the Terrible only in 1958, five years after Stalin’s death.

"Great Friendship"

Theatrical performances in the USSR were also often censored. For example, the Bolshoi Theater on November 7, 1947 hosted the premiere of Vano Muradeli's opera “Great Friendship”. In his works, the composer only did what he praised the party and called for the construction of communism, but this time he was not lucky either: the Caucasian peoples disliked by Stalin were depicted too positively in the opera.

Vano Muradeli

At the beginning of 1948 in the Pravda newspaper a decree was published, in which the opera was called "vicious in both musical and plot aspect, anti-artistic work." Also in the resolution it was said that “the music of the opera is inexpressive, poor. There is not a single memorable melody or aria in it, It is muddled and disharmonious, built on continuous dissonances, on sound-cutting sound combinations. ” Ten years later, the Soviet government admitted that it was wrong, and the “Great Friendship” returned to the stage - though not the Bolshoi Theater, but the Column Hall of the House of Unions.

Watch the video: The State Arts Agency Story (March 2020).