Dancing Bears

After Russia underwent a political revolution, a cultural revolution followed. One of the most dramatic examples of the Cultural Revolution was the Literary Revolution. In 1929, the government established the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP). The Russian Association of Proletarian Writers took over journals and publishing houses (“Proletarian Writers”). The writers and heads of the journals and publishing houses were replaced with party members, many of whom had no writing experience or experience in running such organizations (“Proletarian Writers”). Many great writers were no longer permitted to write as their ideas did not match up with those of the government.

What was the purpose to completely redo the literary culture of Russia? The regime wanted to, “…to root out class-alien culture, and to create new art forms in its place” (“Proletarian Writers”). The leader of RAPP thought that, “…content rather than form was primary in literature … and his ardor for building a new culture accessible to all social classes was not unique” (“Proletarian Writers”). Basically, the state wanted its message to be portrayed in literature.

However, the Cultural Revolution spread farther than just literature. The government also took control of music and the theatre, the government even got rid of the dancing bears from the streets of Moscow (“Proletarian Writers”). Former prominent citizens, writers, musicians, and actors were denied access to the theater, museums, and publishers (“Proletarian Writers”). By the end of the Cultural Revolution, the state had accomplished its goal: the arts now had a political message, approved by the state.