The purges of Soviet cinema, 192938
Author: Miller, Jamie
Source: Studies in Russian & Soviet Cinema, Volume 1, Number 1, November 2006 , pp. 5-26(22)
Abstract:Purges whether violent or non-violent represent an important part of the political history of Soviet cinema. They began to affect the cinema industry in the late 1920s and reached their height during the Great Terror of 193638. Research to date has provided us with information of who the main victims were and why these individuals were arrested. Nonetheless, we still lack a more empirical account of the real impact of the purges. This article seeks to offer such an account and elaborate further on how cinema institutions and their personnel were affected. Emphasizing the difference between the early and later purges, it argues that, in terms of the most influential film-makers and bureaucrats, the earlier purges of 192936 had a limited impact. The industry was in desperate need of qualified and experienced personnel and thus could not afford to get rid of talented artists and administrators. Recycling and adaptation to new conditions was the reality of the early years rather than a genuine purge. During the Great Terror the secret police were much more ruthless in their attempts to rid the film industry of class enemies and arrests were now often followed by executions. It is contended that, while cinema was affected for the same reasons as society as a whole, by the late 1930s cinema was under particular suspicion due to its foreign connections. Industry artists and administrators were especially targeted for supporting the idea of a Soviet Hollywood. Ultimately, the removal of leading film-makers and bureaucrats and the replacement of the latter with NKVD personnel was an attempt to make sure that the Soviet cinema industry could never deviate from the principles of central planning and discipline.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Exeter.
Publication date: November 2006
- Studies in Russian & Soviet Cinema focuses on pre-revolutionary, Soviet and post- Soviet film, its aesthetic development, and its position between ideology and industry. SRSC invites contributions that constitute original research. The journal seeks to promote research from established scholars as well as to encourage researchers new to the field.
- Editorial Board
- Information for Authors
- Subscribe to this Title
- ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites