The Corner

Communism and Creativity

John, not all of Nicholas’ examples are terribly well chosen. Gumilev was shot in 1921, by, ahem, the Bolsheviks less than five years after the Communist revolution. It’s true that both his widow, Akhmatova and his friend, Mandelstam (who was to perish in the Gulag) did produce wonderful poetry relatively deep into the Soviet era, but much of this was in reaction to the oppression and cruelty of the regime. Both were well-established poets before the revolution. Their creativity flourished despite, but not because of, Communism. Bulgakov, another name on that list, would have thought the same. He asked Stalin for permission to emigrate. Needless, to say, his request was denied.

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