RE: [Cz-L]Admiring description of Czernowitz triggers Stalin's ire.

From: Jerry Lapides <>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2014 20:01:05 -0400
To: "'Ina Lancman'" <>, <>
Reply-To: "Jerry Lapides" <>

Thank you for sharing


Jerry Lapides Ph.D.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Ina Lancman
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 4:18 PM
Subject: [Cz-L]Admiring description of Czernowitz triggers Stalin's ire.

Dear Czernowitzers,
This curious story comes from a Russian article based on archival documents,
"Soviet Art Under the Yoke of Socialist Realism: Political and Ideological
Aspects (1930s-1940s)" It concerns A. Avdeenko, author of the screenplay
for the 1940 film "The Law of Life." The film had good reviews and did very
well at the box office. Stalin, however, had second thoughts about the film
and decided it was anti-Soviet. A high-level meeting was convened to discuss
the film. Present at the meeting, in addition to Stalin and his
then-henchman Zhdanov, were also Malenkov, Andreev, a few writers, and the
heads of the Central Committee's propaganda and agitation units, who had
approved the film's release. Stalin spoke at length, condemning the film as
a travesty of the Soviet reality, void of ideology, and pandering to

At the meeting, Stalin recalled Avdeenko's recent newspaper article about
the city of Czernovtsy in the Northern Bukovina, newly "added" to the Soviet
empire. Avdeenko had found much to be admired about the city, its streets,
architecture, and theater. "What was all that about?" demanded Zhdanov at
the meeting. "Attracted to the old Czernovtsy," Stalin replied. "Plenty of
color for old Czernovtsy, but not for our cities - here he ran out of color
altogether." With this little exchange, Avdeenko's worship of the bourgeois
West -- a serious political transgression -- was firmly established.

The film was subsequently banned, Avdeenko was expelled from both the
communist party and the Union of Soviet Writers, and evicted from his
apartment. He was, however, not arrested, and in that he was luckier than
most of those who had unwittingly crossed Stalin.

This moderated discussion group is for information exchange on the subject of
 Czernowitz and Sadagora Jewish History and Genealogy. The opinions expressed
 in these posts are the opinions of the original poster only and not necessarily
 the opinions of the List Owner, the Webmaster or any other members
 or entities connected with this mailing list. The Czernowitz-L list has
 an associated web site at that includes a
 searchable archive of all messages posted to this list. As a result,
 Messages sent to the list are available to the general public within days
 of posting.

Please post in "Plain Text" (help available at:

To remove your address from this e-list follow the directions at:


To receive assistance for this e-list send an e-mail message to:
Received on 2014-05-12 17:16:25

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : 2014-10-14 22:28:57 PDT