Soviet journal revives work of banned authors

A leading Moscow journal, saying it opposed domination of cultural life by bureaucrats, published verses yesterday by a major Russian exile poet banned in the Soviet Union since the 1920s. The weekly Ogonyok also published a call for the publication of works by other Russian writers who either went to live in the West after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution or have been ignored in their homeland.

Ogonyok, for years a bastion of Communist Party orthodoxy, has been at the forefront of a campaign, which Soviet writers say has some official support, for more liberal and open policies in cultural affairs.

The campaign was sparked by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's proclaimed drive for wide-ranging reforms in the country's social and political life in order to break with what he has called a long period of stagnation.

Separately, the weekly published two pages of poems by Vladimir Khodasevich, who went into exile in 1921 in Paris and died there in 1939. Until now, he had been condemned in official Soviet publications for decadence and anticommunism. Introducing the verse was an article by modern Soviet poet Andrei Voznessenksy who recorded that Khodasevich had been declared Russia's best poet of the 20th century by Maxim Gorky, officially regarded as the father of Soviet literature.

Earlier this year, Ogonyok broke decades of silence on poet Nikolai Gumilyov, executed by the Bolsheviks in 1921 and subsequently expunged from official literary history, by publishing a selection of his verse.

This month it published reminiscences of Soviet poet Alexander Tvardovsky, detailing his struggle with party and cultural officials during the 1960s when he was editor of Novy Mir, the leading literary monthly.

In an article yesterday, Ogonyok also responded to criticism from another Soviet journal, saying it published the works of disgraced authors ``to put our society on guard - against the domination of unprincipled, semiliterate bureaucrats in intellectual life and culture.''

Ogonyok also quoted Dmitry Likhachov, a respected historian of Russian literature, as calling for publication of other writers who have been ignored or condemned.

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