Andrei Zhdanov

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Zhdanov, Andrei Aleksandrovich


Born Feb. 14 (26), 1896, in Mariupol’, now Zhdanov; died Aug. 31, 1948, in Moscow. Soviet statesman and party figure. Joined the Communist Party in 1915.

Zhdanov, the son of a school inspector, graduated from a Realschule. He joined the revolutionary movement in 1912 and became a member of the Tver’ committee of the RSDLP in 1916. In 1917, while serving in the army in the 139th Reserve Regiment in Shadrinsk, he conducted Bolshevik propaganda among the soldiers. After the February Revolution of 1917, he was elected a member of the regimental committee and then chairman of the first soviet in Shadrinsk. He became chairman of the Shadrinsk committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) in August 1917. From 1918 to 1920 he did political work in the Red Army in the Urals and in Tver’ and was editor of the newspaper Tverskaia Pravda. He became chairman of the Tver’ provincial executive committee in 1922.

Zhdanov was secretary of the Nizhny Novgorod provincial party committee and secretary of the Gorky regional committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) from 1924 to 1934. After the Seventeenth Congress of the ACP(B) in 1934, he served as secretary of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) and at the same time, beginning in December 1934, as secretary of the Leningrad regional and municipal party committees. During the Great Patriotic War he was a member of the military council of the Northwestern Sector in July and August 1941 and a member of the military soviet of the Leningrad Front from August 1941 to August 1944. He became a colonel general in 1944. That year he began to work in Moscow as secretary of the CC ACP(B), dealing with ideological questions.

He was a delegate to the Ninth and Twelfth through Eighteenth Party Congresses. He was elected a candidate member of the CC ACP(B) at the Fourteenth (1925) and Fifteenth (1927) Party Congresses, and a full member of the CC at the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Congresses. In February 1935 he became a candidate member of the Politburo and in March 1939, a full member of the Politburo of the CC ACP(B). Zhdanov was a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Central Executive Committee of the USSR and a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (first and second convocations). He was awarded two orders of Lenin, four other orders, and various medals. He is buried in Moscow in Red Square.

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In 1934, at the First Congress of Soviet Writers, Andrei Zhdanov famously proclaimed socialist realism as the official state style, with the goal of all art "to depict reality in its revolutionary development.
Brooks may have a fondness for smiling proletarians on tractors, for the spell he describes is none other than the guiding aesthetic premise of socialist realism--which, according to Stalin's cultural commissar Andrei Zhdanov, aimed to look beyond the unredeemed reality of the present to "catch a glimpse of our tomorrow" and thus capture the imminent happiness of "reality in its revolutionary development.
After the death in hospital in 1947 of Andrei Zhdanov, a leading member of the Politburo, questions were raised about his medical care.
Such is the world of Anatoli Gavrilov, born in 1946, in Mariupol, on the Azov Sea, for forty years (1948-1989) called Zhdanov, in memory of Andrei Zhdanov (1896 - 1948), one of Stalin's henchmen.
Given that these biographical sketches are of individuals such as Ernst Legal, the Intendant of the Berlin Staatsoper, Paul Wandel, the Minister of Public Education, and Andrei Zhdanov, the influential Marxist author, whose seminal treatise on art and politics was published as Uber Kunst und Wissenschaft (Berlin: Dietz, 1951), Hermann Scherchen's inclusion might at first seem oddly out of place.