chapter  7
16 Pages

Traitors or Revolutionaries? An Examination of the Role of Culture and the Intellectuals in Communist Eastern Europe

WithIvan Volgyes

For Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels kultur depicted aesthetic and moral values only—V. I. Lenin began to use the modern meanings of the term as early as March 1920. In short, what the communist regimes wanted the artistic intelligentsia to be was the bearer of the new culture, the translator of the new culture toward the people spreading the ideals and values of the new communist system. In looking at regime-artist relations in Eastern Europe one may note six distinct patterns: voluntary support, disappointment, withdrawal, cooptation, opposition, and various combinations of these categories. There was—to be sure—a great deal of initial enthusiasm among many of the artistic intellectuals, at the end of World War II, toward the new order. It is important to analyze the background of the artists and the artistic intelligentsia in Eastern Europe.