Come on, Moscow, relax

The frightened giant has stamped on the tendrils of talent once again, and we sadly wonder at a Moscow remaining scared, after all these years of absolute rule, to let writers write. It knows it has the world's seismographs of power jumping to every additional spurt of Soviet military overkill. How can it feel so insecure as to practice cultural overkill on a handful of writers dutifully going through channels for permission to start a club to publish experimental writing without censorship? Instead of just saying no, which would be timorous enough, the authorities unleashed security agents to harass some of the writers, searh apartments, and seize manuscripts.

Could it be these young authors are interesting enough to make Soviet society a little more like the realm of Chekhov and Tolstoy, a little less boring than the land of "the yawning heights"? This is the title of a Soviet satire that caused its author, Alexander Zinoviev, to be stripped of citizenship a few years ago before becoming an exile. Just maybe the new writers belie what the character called Writer says in the book: "I don't understand what our leaders are so afraid of, whatever draft things we do. We're all so untalented."

But the rulers of the yawning heights can hardly imagine the proposed club would bring overnight what another character says is the key to solving problems there: "It is public opinion, guaranteed by law, which as a result could be the foundation of the moral development of society." No one will boringly give this to the Russians in a silver samovar. As Teacher adds, "People are going to have to inent if for themselves."

No, a club for experimental writing might simply add a bit of literary flavor , a bit of catalyst for generating the ideas the Soviet Union will need for progress in the modern world -- and not be able to produce according to five-year norms. Shouldn't the giant relax a bit for its own good?

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