I seen few funny moments in polish TV when some more nerdy anticommunist goes on a rants about “Żdanowszczyzna” and the more casual anticommunists are completely disoriented “What the fuck he is even talking about, who that Zhdanov guy even was” and when the talk is back into the usual mantras of Stalin bad, there is visible relax getting back in their muscles and faces.


I first learned about Zhdanov and Zhdanovschina in the context of Testimony: The Unpublished Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich (a very tendentious and, according to even liberal scholars, very likely fabricated tome). Even within that context Zhdanov seemed based, with all criticisms of him basically reducing to “he didn’t let famous artists form a clique where they would just throw paint at the wall and then mock common people for not ‘getting it,’ this is SO TYRANNICAL!”

I don’t really know what to think of him. Letting aside the cultural crackdown which seems incredibly overblown he seems to have equal numbers of successes and based moments to failures.

I think most notable was his original idea of appointing experts to high posts - at that moment in history most likely a mistake, especially with all the Lenin’s writing about them being used as arguments against. Then again maybe not that much since a lot of time passed and it might be safer… especially safer than Khrushchev. Also, China right now does exactly this with a great successes, as long as the proven comrades are there too - we can say that Zhdanov was a man who went far ahead of his time :D

Zhdanovshchina, especially the point that socialism and capitalism formed two blocks that are in the ideological war with eachother and therefore socialism must not ignore the culture war, is so absolutely obvious, even from back then, that why it wasn’t on all the time? Even more, later the socialist block allowed the western soft power in and it was one of main factors in the fall.


Even more, later the socialist block allowed the western soft power in and it was one of main factors in the fall.

Exactly, and honestly, I’m willing to overlook a lot of his mistakes just for his seeing the real danger that western soft power poses. It really turns people into drones – maybe less so now, with Hollywood and the American culture machine starting to become more incompetent at what they do, but in the 1940s and 50s, the thing was omnipotent. Zhdanov was right, the only way to defend yourself was to keep the poison out. Other than that, yep, his record is pretty mixed and your criticisms are right on point.

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