These studies concentrate on state policy, with some sections on popular response and involvement. Brandenberger’s major contribution is to show that during the Great Terror (a term Hoffmann does not like), even the Communist Party’s propaganda apparatus broke down. The Institute of Marx-Engels-Lenin, responsible for producing propaganda and teaching materials for use by party agitators, found itself “almost paralyzed” in the fall of 1937. Glavlit, in charge of censorship, lost control of its task at the same time. Purges of library holdings went on haphazardly from below as cadres tried to keep up with the latest arrests. These well-documented findings add to recent work on the state and the Terror which show that, planned or not, the arrests severely undermined the ability of the governing apparatus to function. Brandenberger claims that “hysteria stopped Soviet mass culture in its tracks between 1936 and 1938” (p. 180). This seems correct only insofar as what might be called propaganda culture is concerned; Brandenberger does not mention the work of Richard Stites on popular culture or of earlier writers like Jay Leyda on cinema. Zany, popular films like Volga, Volga! , with the huge star Liubov Orlova, are not discussed. Frederick Starr’s
Canadian-American Slavic Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2014
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