“Gentlemen, we are declaring war on you,” said Khrushchev to Russia's modern painters when he visited the 1962 exhibit of abstract painting in Moscow. This was the opening shot in an organized campaign against the “new wave” of Soviet painters, sculptors, musicians, poets, and writers who in recent years have shown a resurgence of artistic creativity after the dark decades of Stalin.
The campaign against the intellectuals gathered momentum and then mysteriously reached a stalemate. This book documents the successive stages of the campaign and seeks to explain its inconclusive end. Khrushchev and the Arts portrays a regime that is at first on the warpath against the increasing intellectual ferment and finally, in retreat when confronted by the steadfastness of the writers and artists themselves. It offers a glimpse of the link between cultural policy and other dilemmas facing the Soviet Communist Party.