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Aleksanteri Conference







Herrala, Meri

The Impact of the Cold War on Soviet Music, particularly during the Antiformalist Campaign

I am going to discuss the influence of the Cold War on Soviet music policy. Even if the inauguration of the Cold War policies of the Soviet Union was embodied by the transition from the wartime co-operation with the Allied to the confrontation, the development in the cultural policy, particularly in the Soviet music policy was different. The so-called Antiformalist campaign waged from 1946 to 1948 draws its ideas from the division of music into two tendencies, namely Formalism and Socialist Realism. The rivalry of these tendencies in music policy derived from the doctrine of the division of the World into two camps: the camp of democratic countries lead by the Soviet Union and the imperialist and antidemocratic camp under the leadership of USA and Britain. The cultures of these two camps were seen as being in a constant state of rivalry. Because the Western system and its bourgeois culture were considered doomed the influence of the Western culture was thought to be especially dangerous for the development of the Soviet socialist system and its developing culture. Despite all this antagonism in the ideological background of the anti-formalist campaign, the Soviet Union turned inwards and strived to strengthen its system by developing a strong culture based on Socialist Realism. This was more central than the anti-western policies which did not get any visible position.

I will give a broad picture of the post-war Antiformalist campaign in Soviet music by discussing in a general level how it influenced the creative work of Soviet composers in the process of creating Socialist Realist compositions. I will also be dealing with the practical influence of the anti-western campaign into the policies of the Union of Soviet Composers.

Saturday 31 Oct, 9.30-11.30 SESSION 7
Panel: Music, Literature and Fine Arts in the Cold War Soviet Union