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Andrei Zhdanov

Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov (Russian: Андре́й Алекса́ндрович Жда́нов; February 26 [O.S. February 14] 1896, Mariupol – August 31, 1948, Moscow) was a Soviet politician.



A typical list from the Great Purge signed by Zhdanov, Stalin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich and Molotov

Zhdanov joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (bolsheviks) in 1915 and rose through the party ranks, becoming the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) leader in Leningrad after the assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934. He was a strong supporter of socialist realism in art.

Zhdanov was Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet July 15, 1938–June 20, 1947.

Though somewhat less active than Molotov, Stalin, Kaganovich and Voroshilov, Zhdanov was a major perpetrator of the Great Terror, who personally approved 176 documented execution lists.[1]

In June 1940, he was sent to Estonia[2] to supervise the establishment of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic and its annexation into the USSR.

During the Great Patriotic War, Zhdanov was in charge of the defence of Leningrad. After the cease-fire agreement between Finland and the Soviet Union was signed in Moscow on 4 September 1944, Zhdanov headed the Allied Control Commission in Finland until the Paris peace treaty of 1947.

In 1946, Zhdanov was put in charge of the Soviet Union's cultural policy by Joseph Stalin. His first action (in December 1946) was to censor Russian writers such as Anna Akhmatova and Mikhail Zoshchenko (Zhdanov Doctrine).

19461947 Zhdanov was Chairman of the Soviet of the Union.

In 1947, he organized the Cominform, designed to coordinate the communist parties of Europe. In February 1948, he initiated purges in the musical area, widely known as a struggle against formalism. Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Aram Khachaturian and many other composers were reprimanded during this period. He died in 1948 in Moscow of heart failure; Nikita Khrushchev recalled in Khrushchev Remembers that Zhdanov could not control his drinking, and that in his "last days", Stalin would shout at him to stop drinking and insist that he drink only fruit juice.[3] Simon Sebag-Montefiore and others allege that Stalin himself was responsible for Zhdanov's death, citing Zhdanov's inability to coordinate a Communist takeover in Finland as cause. [4] Stalin had talked of Zhdanov being his successor but Zhdanov's ill health gave his rivals, Beria and Malenkov, an opportunity to undermine him.

His son, Yuri (1919-2006), married Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, in 1949. The marriage was brief and ended in divorce in 1950. They had one daughter, Ekaterina.

He was one of the main accused people during the U.S. House of Representatives' Kersten Committee investigation in 1953.[5]


Until the late 1950s, Zhdanov's ideological code, known as the Zhdanov doctrine, Zhdanovism or zhdanovshchina, defined cultural production in the Soviet Union. Zhdanov intended to forge a new philosophy of art-making for the entire world. His method reduced the whole domain of culture to a straightforward, scientific chart, where a given symbol corresponded to a simple moral value. Roland Barthes summed up the core doctrine of Zhdanovism this way: "Wine is objectively good... the artist deals with the goodness of wine, not with the wine itself." Zhdanov and his associates further sought to eliminate foreign influence from Soviet art, proclaiming that "incorrect art" was an ideological diversion. [6]

In the 1950s, following Zhdanov's death, there was a creative explosion in Soviet art—abstract and formal work.

The City of Zhdanov

His birth-place, Mariupol, was re-named Zhdanov at Stalin's instigation in 1948, and a monument of Zhdanov was erected in the central square of the city in his honor. In 1989 the name reverted to Mariupol, and the monument was dismantled in 1990.

Political offices
Preceded by
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Russia
1938 – 1947
Succeeded by
Mikhail Tarasov
Preceded by
Andrey Andreyev
Chairman of the Soviet of the Union
1946 – 1947
Succeeded by
Ivan Parfenov

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Analytical list of documents, V. Friction in the Baltic States and Balkans, June 4-September 21, 1940" (html). Telegram of German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office. Retrieved 2007-03-03. 
  3. ^ Simon Sebag Montefiore, in "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar", ISBN 1-4000-4230-5
  4. ^ untitled
  5. ^ The Iron Heel, TIME Magazine, December 14, 1953
  6. ^ Stites, Richard. Soviet Popular Culture. Cambridge University Press: 1992. 117.

External links



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