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Kirshon, Vladimir Mikhailovich

KIRSHON, VLADIMIR MIKHAILOVICH

KIRSHON, VLADIMIR MIKHAILOVICH (1902–1938), Soviet playwright. Kirshon was trained by the Communist Party as a lecturer and propagandist, and in 1925 became secretary of the Association of Proletarian Writers in Moscow. During the Stalinist purges he was expelled from the Communist Party 1937, arrested, and executed for "bureaucratic attitudes" and "Trotskyism". His writings were banned until 1956, when he was "rehabilitated." In 1962 the Soviet Union took official note of the 60th anniversary of his birth.

Kirshon's plays generally deal with contemporary Communist themes, and are strongly propagandist. His first play was "Red Dust," about the degeneration of a revolutionary during the years of the New Economic Policy. Then came Konstantin Terekhin (1926), written in collaboration with A. Uspenski, that deals with the moral dissolution of a young Communist and the reaction of loyal Communist youth. Relsy gudyat ("The Rails Are Humming," 1928) portrays the clash between a Soviet Communist factory administrator and the engineering experts of the old regime, still employed in Soviet industry. The play "Bread" (1930) dealt with the accumulation of private property in the kolkhozes. His last play, Bolshoy den ("The Great Day," 1936) predicted the outbreak of war between the U.S.S.R. and Nazi Germany. Kirshon's work has been translated into many languages.

bibliography:

E.J. Brown, The Proletarian Episode in Russian Literature, 19281932 (1953), 229ff., 265; L. Tamashin, Vladimir Kirshon (Rus., 1965).

[Yitzhak Maor]

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