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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Russian Association of Proletarian Writers), a Soviet literary organization. It was formed in January 1925 as the main division of the All-Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (VAPP), which was founded in 1924 and whose theoretical publication was the journal Napostu (On Guard). RAPP had the largest membership among the literary organizations of the second half of the 1920’s, including among its members worker correspondents and participants in literary circles. Its ideological and aesthetic views were formulated by D. A. Fur-manov, Iu. N. Libedinskii, V. M. Kirshon, A. A. Fadeev, V. P. Stavskii, and the critics L. L. Averbach, V. V. Ermilov, and A. P. Selivanovskii.

The party supported proletarian literary organizations, viewing them as instruments of cultural revolution. However, from the very first years of VAPP’s existence, such organizations were criticized by the party for their sectarianism and arrogance and for their retention of vestiges of Proletkul’t ideology. The party also attacked their intolerance toward Soviet writers from the intelligentsia and their efforts to attain hegemony over proletarian literature by administrative means. These criticisms were formulated in a Resolution of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) June 18, 1925, On the Party’s Policy in Literature. Interpreting the resolution as a program document, RAPP condemned nihilistic attitudes toward the cultural heritage of the past, advanced the slogan “study the classics,” and assembled the forces of proletarian literature and criticism.

In the late 1920’s, RAPP engaged in disputes with the Pereval (The Pass) group and the followers of V. F. Pereverzev. In the journal Na literaturnompostu (On Literary Guard) and in other publications, it attacked disparagement of the importance of the author’s world view in literature, at the same time resorting to oversimplification and political labeling. The vulgar sociolo-gism and dogmatism of the members of RAPP hindered a proper understanding of the tasks and prospects of Soviet literature and a correct evaluation of the work of M. Gorky, V. V. Mayakovsky, A. N. Tolstoy, and other Soviet writers. RAPP’s demand for a dialectical materialist method in literature equated philosophic and literary methods, oversimplified the creative process, and led to pseudophilosophic scholasticism in literary criticism. Other errors were the slogan “ally or enemy” (1931), which antagonized the “fellow traveler” writers, the demand for a “Dem’ianization” of poetry, and the “draft of shock workers into literature.”

The decree of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) of Apr. 23, 1932, On Restructuring Literary and Artistic Organizations dissolved RAPP and VOAPP (the All-Union Society of Associations of Proletarian Writers). Many members of RAPP and of other literary organizations joined the Writers’ Union of the USSR, which was created by the same decree.


Opartiinoi i sovetskoipechati: Sbornik dokumentov. Moscow, 1954.
Tvorcheskie puti prolelariskoi literatury, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1928–29.
Bor’ba za metod. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Ocherki i storii russkoi sovetskoi zhurnalistiki, vol. 1, Moscow, 1966.
Iz istorii sovetskoi esteticheskoi mysii. Moscow, 1967.
Sheshukov, S. Neistovye revniteli: Iz istorii literaturnoi bor’by 20-kh godov. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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