How Children’s Books Thrived Under Stalin

by Rachel Baker on November 14, 2013

Inside the Rainbow: Russian Children’s Literature 1920-1935: Beautiful Books, Terrible Times by Philip Pullman and Julian Rothstein, and Edited by Julian Rothenstein and Olga Budashevskaya came out on October 1st. This book is a compilation of Russian children’s literature from the 1920s and 1930s.

Here is a link to the Book: Inside the Rainbow: Russian Children’s Literature 1920-35: Beautiful Books, Terrible Times

Here is a historically interesting article by Philip Pullman published at

At the trial of the three Pussy Riot performers in August 2012, one of the accused, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, made a closing statement in their defence. She spoke of Pussy Riot’s admiration for those writers and artists who had suffered under Stalin’s purges, and in particular for a group of avant garde poets and writers known as Oberiu. Two of the most prominent Oberiu members were Alexander Vvedensky and Daniil Kharms, both of whom were arrested, and died, during the Great Terror.

Vvedensky and Kharms had another thing in common. Finding their adult poetry impossible to publish, with its absurdist imagery and aesthetically radical approach, they turned to writing for children. In that field they could earn a living and work without too much interference from the authorities. They could also collaborate with equally avant garde visual artists such as Vladimir Tatlin, the designer of the famous unbuilt Monument to the Third International, and El Lissitzky, the suprematist painter, typographer, and graphic designer.

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