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SOCIALIST REALISM WAS the aesthetic doctrine in the Soviet Union that was deemed compulsory practice for all revolutionary writers and artists during the mid-1930s. Because its proponents were mostly Soviet Stalinist intellectuals, socialist realism is associated with totalitarian art and has been condemned as stifling the artists' creative potential. Yet, the precepts of socialist realism and their concrete literary and artistic realizations did not always overlap as the practice often enriched the theory.

In his report to a committee that Communist Party leaders instructed in 1932 to form a writers' union and that was subsequently reprinted in International Literature, Valeri Kirpotin defined socialist realism as the artistic reflection of a society in its revolutionary development: “By socialist realism we mean the reflection in art of the ...

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