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An interesting alternative account of the reaction to Dementyev's article and Tvardovsky's fall (and of Tvardovsky's role in Soviet literature in the 1960s) is given by Vadim Kozhinov.

Kozhinov's main claim to fame is that as a young man, in 1959, he discovered, living in obscurity, the literary theorist and philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1985), a survivor, like Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova, of what Berdiaev had called the 'silver age' - the period of aesthetic and philosophical experimentation that was cut short by the Revolution and came to a final end about 1930. Bakhtin has since become very fashionable on an international scale. Kozhinov was one of his two literary executors and, according to Nicholas Rzhevsky: 'It is not an exaggeration to say that without Kozhinov's advocacy, from the early stages of discovery to the active dissemination of works, Bakhtin would have been unlikely to have attained his current stature.' (6)

(6) Nicholas Rzhevsky: 'Kozhinov on Bakhtin', New Literary History, vol 25, no 2, Spring 1994, p.430.

But Kozhinov is also known as a 'radical slavophile' (Riitta H. Pittman (7)) and as a 'Stalin apologist' (Sommer and Chodakiewicz (8)). 

(7) Riitta H. Pittman: 'Perestroika and Soviet cultural politics: the case of the major literary journals', Soviet Studies, vol 42, No 1 (Jan, 1990), p.128

(8) Tomasz Sommer and Marek Jan Chodakiewicz: 'Average Joe: The Return of Stalin apologists', World Affairs, vol 173, No 5 (Jan/Feb 2011), pp.76-7. 

According to Sommer and Chodakewicz:

'Kozhinov argues that the history of the Great Terror is a record of falsification: both Lenin and Stalin meant well and their only mistake was the lack of control over the secret police apparatus. Moreover, had other leaders, such as Mikhail Tomski or Nikolai Bukharin (who were shot for "right-wing deviationism" in 1936 and 1938, respectively), seized power, the Great Terror would have been much more ruthless. 

'Who is responsible then for the millions of victims of the Soviet purge years? No one. All the bloodletting was the function of impersonal forces of history. In the Russian context, according to Kozhinov, such deaths were the more or less natural result of a Time of Troubles (velikaia smuta) which, "as everyone knows," occur cyclically in Russian history. There are repeated downturns and crises in capitalism that cannot be prevented. Why not in Soviet history as well? 

'But in addition to being the result of the Time of Troubles, the Great Terror, according to Kozhinov, was also a period of imperial restoration for Russia. Is this a shocking logical misfire? No. It is a natural conclusion flowing from Marxist-Leninist dialectics, according to whose formula contradictions complement and pervade each other. Therefore, Kozhinov concludes (in logic recalling the tortured intellectual gymnastics of the Politburo) that restoration is a contradiction of revolution. The latter is utterly alien and damaging to Russia; the former is wholesome and healing. The less revolution occurs, the more the real Russia emerges. In fact, the restoration of Russia consists of countering the revolution in all its stages. Thus Stalin's Great Terror, with its millions of deaths, was actually a counterrevolution ("understandably a very relative one") to restore Russia. 

'While defending Stalin's innocence, Kozhinov also touches upon the so-called "Jewish problem" - from which he also exonerates the Soviet generalissimo. Stalin and his minions have nothing in common with the Black Hundred pogromist legacy of the end of the czar's regime. On the contrary, they really respected Jews. "Why while discussing the phenomenon of 'the year 1937' are so many Jewish names always mentioned?" Kozhinov asks. The explanation is obvious and entails the deployment of Marxist dialectics and social Darwinism. Jews poured into Russia in the wake of the 1917 revolution because the ban on Jewish migrations outside of the Pale of Settlement was abolished. There were officially only 6,400 Jews in Moscow in 1912 and 241,700 in 1933. Their ascent occurred further because members of the traditional Russian elite were exterminated. The Russian Jews replaced them through a "natural selection" process because, on the average, they were better educated than the rest of Russian society. The Jews adapted better to the new circumstances in the Soviet Union, and their "overrepresentation" in Stalin's government and party institutions occurred "naturally," just as the Great Terror did later on. Each was part of a complex social process of historical evolution that had little to do with Stalin himself. If Jews (and others) perished in the Terror, it was simply because of the inexorable forces of history. Jews were more heavily represented at the higher reaches of Soviet power than other groups, so more of them died. 

'Incidentally, Kozhinov is virtually the sole neo-revisionist of 1937 who brings up Soviet Jews. Unlike the National Bolsheviks and neo-Nazis in today's Russia, the "mainstream" revisionists have tended not to play the Jewish card. If anything, they deny that there was Jewish participation (or "overrepresentation") in Communism, which they, for nationalistic reasons, insist was purely a Russian affair.'

Kozhinov discusses Tvardovsky and Novy Mir in an essay published in 1993 on his own relations with the rival magazine Nash Sovremennik ('Our Contemporary') (9) According to Riitta Pittman, writing in 1990: 'The most chauvinistic (and anti-semitic) strand of reactionary views is found in Nash Sovremennik whose Chief Editor, Sergei Vikulov, has frequently given space to contributions from the extremist sympathisers of the Pamyat' organisation.' (10) 

(9) Vadim Kozhinov: 'The magazine Nash Sovremennik (Our contemporary) and Russian literature, World Literature Today, vol 67, No 1 (Winter 1993), pp.34-6.

(10) Pittman op.cit., p.129. There seem to have been several bodies called Pamyat'  (memory) but the term is usually used to refer to the militant monarchist anti-semitic '"People's National-patriotic Orthodox Christian movement" led by Dmitry Vasiliev which emerged in the 1980s out of the 'Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments' (see later in the present article). If Vikulov did give space to Vasiliev's group it must have been after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Yanov, in his account of the attack on Dementyev, referred to the coming together of 'two people as different as Anatoly Sofronov and Sergei Vikulov - the editors of the conservative pro-Stalin magazine Ogonyok and the national magazine Nash Sovremennik.' The collective letter was published in Ogonyok but Vikulov was one of the people who signed it. In what could be read as a critique of Yanov's account, Kozhinov elaborates on the role of Nash Sovremennik:

'The slandering of Nash Sovremennik was directly connected to the history of another magazine, Novyi Mir (New World), particularly to the period when Alexander Tvardovsky was editor-in-chief of the latter. It is quite clear from an examination of the pre-1970 issues of Novyi Mir and the post-1970 numbers of Nash Sovremennik that more than half of the contributors to Novyi Mir began publishing their literary works in Nash Sovremennik after Tvardovsky's retirement in early 1970! Some of these writers were: F. Abramov, V. Astafiev, V. Belov, V. Bykov, O. Volkov, K. Vorobyov, S. Zalygin [the man who eventually, as editor of Novy Mir, published The Gulag Archipelago - PB], F. Iskander, Y. Kazakov, A. Kondratovich, V. Likhonosov, E. Nosov, V. Tendryakov, G. Troepolsky, Y. Chernichenko, and V. Shukshin. All had been greatly valued by Tvardovsky (most were "introduced" to readers by him), and after 1970 they became the leading authors of Nash Sovremennik. From this fact alone it is not possible to consider Nash Sovremennik the enemy of Tvardovsky. 

'Another question concerns whether the authors published by Novyi Mir were essentially different. For example, Alexander Dementiev, a critic writing in the vein of socialist realism and famous from the late 1940s to the early 1990s as a fierce fighter against "cosmopolitanism," ultimately became a kind of "party commissar" under Tvardovsky, and in 1969 he published a crushing article in which, from an extremist communist position, he excoriated those writers who searched for the positive beginnings of Russia's historical experience, especially in the history of Russian Christianity. Several writers, including Sergei Vikulov, the editor of Nash Sovremennik, published in July 1969 a letter defending Russian values from the nihilism of Dementiev and other authors of his sort writing for Novyi Mir. In this letter the name Tvardovsky was never even mentioned. It is worth recalling that Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in his book The Oak and the Calf, sharply opposed the article by Dementiev. At the end of the eighties, however, several literary critics, especially on the pages of Ogonek, began to affirm falsely that the letter was aimed against Tvardovsky, and it was that very letter that led Tvardovsky to leave his post of editor-in- chief of Novyi Mir. The charge was an obvious lie. In fact, the Central Committee of the Communist Party forced Tvardovsky out (in 1970), declaring his poem "Po pravu pamiati" (By Right of Memory), which had been published abroad, to be "anti-Soviet"; the case was a repeat (though in "softened" form) of the Doctor Zhivago affair. 

'I would like to assure everyone that Nash Sovremennik always had a profound respect for Tvardovsky; in any case, it could not have been otherwise, for the leading authors began contributing to the magazine following Tvardovsky's resignation - after having written previously for Novyi Mir. The distorted and perverted view of the real situation in the literature of the sixties and seventies which was conveyed by Ogonek and other periodicals of its kind during the period of glasnost' became a manifestation of the impudent policy of people alien to the main foundations of Russia.

'In the seventies and the early eighties Nash Sovremennik was published under most unfavorable conditions, with pressure coming from both the Central Committee and the censors. I myself, for example, as already mentioned, was deprived for six years of the possibility to contribute to the magazine. Almost every issue was "cleared" by the censors and was sharply criticized after publication. During the same period Nash Sovremennik, if I might formulate it in elevated terms, was the place where the heart of Russia was still beating, the authentic Russia whose image had been created by Pushkin and Gogol, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, Chekhov and Bunin, Pasternak and Sholokhov, Tvardovsky and Shukshin, and not the ideological myth bearing the name "USSR."' (p.35)