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Soviet Policy on Literature and Today’s View on Günter Grass. P. 143–148

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Section: Philology




Shchekina-Greipel Astrid Maria Ottilie
Postgraduate Student, Faculty of History and Philology, Russian State University for the Humanities
korp. 7, 6 Miusskaya pl., Moscow, 125993, Russia Federation;


This article clarifies and categorizes the main reasons for the reserved attitude towards Günter Grass’ works in the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1985. The period under study is limited by 1959, the year of publication of his first novel, and by 1985, when a new political era began in the Soviet Union. The author analysed documents from German and Russian archives, reviews by Soviet literary critics and articles in German magazines. The paper examines the impact of three factors on the perception of Günter Grass and his works in the Soviet Union. The first is Grass’ political beliefs and his public statements on the subject. He supported the Social Democratic Party of Germany and Willy Brandt (the fourth chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, from 1969 to 1974), criticized the political regime in the German Democratic Republic and firmly opposed the intervention of the Soviet Army during the Prague Spring of 1968. The second factor is the attitude towards the author and his works expressed by Soviet literary critics in their reviews. The first review was not published until 1965 and described Grass’ personality and political opinions in an unfavourable way. The third factor is the relationship between Grass and Soviet censorship bodies: the writer was opposed to censors’ interfering with his texts and would prefer not to be published at all rather than be controlled. The article presents some examples of how censors, against Grass’ will, made changes in his literary texts.


Günter Grass, Soviet Union, Soviet policy on literature, publication criteria, political mood
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