The Problem of the Creative Freedom of the Artist in Totalitarian Country (According to Grigol Robakidze’s ''The Murdered Soul'')

The attitude towards the limitation of creative freedom was expressed in ancient times by Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides and other thinkers. The problem of an artist and a totalitarian country was urgent even during the Renaissance (that can be proved by Niccolo Machiavelli's belief). Machiavelli marked off the moral and the politics. For that reason, the immoral policy with the principle - "The aim justifies the means" - is regarded as a Machiavellism even nowadays [Machiavelli, 2007:42]. Pitirim Sorokin wrote about this problem: "Today's crisis was not created by Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini. The crisis formed them with their arms and marionettes. You can get rid of them, but that will not stop crisis or reduce it. Its existence will create new Hitlers, Stalins" [Sorokin, 2006:9].

         In the 20th century, when the world civilization faced the models of totalitarian countries (German Nazism and Soviet Socialism), the same problem emerged with a new interpretation. The supremacy of "black death" and "red terror" turned the writing into the servant of the ideology. The literature had to inculcate in the society certain ideas and ideals. The writer had to become an ideologist and a propagandist, which created the plan of actions and pointed to the vector and course of the development of the society (under the supervision of the political elite). The art was severely controlled. Being in the service of the totalitarian country meant the preparation for the rejection of the moral codes, which had been recognized during the previous epochs.  

         In the 20-30s of the 20th century Bolsheviks tried to wield the power. For that purpose, they actively carried out the policy of winning over the intelligentsia. Implementation of this policy enabled Bolsheviks to disguise their autocratic intentions. The principle of ideologization of the art was unacceptable for the Georgian intelligentsia. Some Georgian writers tried to avoid ongoing processes and remained neutral (hence, some of them consented to cooperate with Bolsheviks), while others found themselves face to face with satanic force of Soviet power and underwent the cruelty of the new reality. Despite the "vital risk", they used all means for telling the Georgian (not only Georgian) society  the truth about  the "red-capped" Georgia.

         Under a totalitarian regime, an artist was proposed an alternative: he(she) had to submit to the severe regime (sooner or later an artist shared "exalted" injustice) or contradict it and maintain a creative freedom. Grigol Robakidze's works can be singled out as a harrowing                 tragedy of a talented artist, who found himself face to face with the "exalted" dictatorship. The tragedy can be regarded as a characteristic feature of his artistic-documental essayistics and creative work. In particular, the main character of Robakidze's novel "The Murdered Soul" - an artist, tortured by the tyranny, which had drawn a sword against the mankind - represents the writer's "alter ego".

          Grogil Robakidze's personal characteristic features irritated Soviet censorship, which served the totalitarian regime. At that period of time "intellectual appearance" and "European education" were enough for raising doubts of the representatives of the party. The most prominent was the writer's devotion to the traditions and ideals of the Georgian classical literature. Soviet censorship was not interested in the literary value of Grigol Robakidze's creative work. It was irritated by the fact, that the writer's works could constitute a political threat to the regime based on violence and terror. The writer could not stand the ideological press and immigrated. He ran away from the "demonocracy", which reigned in the Soviet Union. After Robakidze's immigration "the reigning power" placed his name under taboo. The prohibition lasted till 1970. The critic Nugzar Tsereteli states: "A nice sister of the repressed master Lida Robakidze  showed her brother's books, letters, documents and pictures to everybody in the departments of the Writers' Union of Georgia. She had to prove, that her famous brother was not a traitor. He was a writer of the European level" [Tsereteli, 2008:26].

         Grigol Robakidze described the relation to the art in Soviet reality of the 20th century. He wrote: "The history (except Soviet history) knows nothing about ordering. Michelangelo frescoed "Sistine Chapel" under the order of the Pope. Hence, the latter did not interfere in his creative work. If the Pope interfered, the picture would become "soiled". Nobody will contradict the expansion of the order by the writer, if the customer does not intervene in the process of writing. The interference will be a "potboiler" [Robakidze, 1996:61].    

        In his artistic and artistic-documental works Grigol Robakidze unveiled the moral of the Soviet system, showed its immorality, cruelty and ignorance. He depicted the tragedy of Georgians which was caused by the destruction of the best representatives of the nation. The society built by Communists was based on the principle: "if you want to exist, you have to sell your conscience"[Bakradze, 2004:49]. Immigration - Grogil Robakidze's fatal step - was caused by intolerable conditions. The tabooed national problems and the writing, which was oriented on "Prokrustes bed" did not give scope to his talent.

       Grigol Robakidze's creative work is distinguished for its denunciative pathos, which is shown in the works created before and after the immigration (the period of implementation of Stalin-Zhdanov's cultural policy). Among them are two novels ("The Murdered Soul", "Defenders of Grail") and essays ("Adolph Hitler", "Caucasian novels", "Mussolini", "Stalin" and others). In these works the writer explains the genuine essence of Bolshevism, shows its negative influence on the moral of the society and points to the threat posed to the national consciousness.    

      Almost all works created by Grigol Robakidze can be regarded as a manifestation of the search for the national roots. This tendency becomes more prominent in his essayistics. It's worth mentioning, that Robakidze's autobiographic essays are nourished with the display of spiritual and moral values. It's difficult to believe, that at first the writer did not like human ideas of socialism rejecting the postulates of the French revolution - brotherhood, unity, equality. Grigol Robakidze saw, that Bolsheviks and their supporters demagogically appealed with these ideas. Covered with beautiful ideas, they did evil. Robakidze's attitude is clearly manifested in the essay "Ilia Chavchavadze and Philipe Makharadze", where the word "immoral"  characterizes the leader of Georgian social-democratic party Philipe Makharadze and the group of his followers: "Social-democratic leaders are accustomed to the demagogical falseness. When the truth does not work, they use the art of the deceit" [Robakidze, 1913:13].

        Grigol Robakidze tried to apprehend the essence of the power of the tyrannical country. He wrote: "If you show the weakness, it will increase. The real government does not issue the decree. In case of issuing, the attempt of its implementation in the life of the society will be made" [Robakidze, 1990:51].  In the conditions of socialism, when the country was lead by Stalin, his government could enact the decree (even if it would cause the death of hundreds of human beings).  Grigol Robakidze agreed with Joseph de Maistre's idea that the basis of the country was a scaffold and specified: "The country cannot exist without using violence" [Robakidze, 1990:45].

         In the essay "Division of the Soul" Grigol Robakidze wrote about the Georgian writing: "During the period of maturity they were able to give something important to the Georgian literature. In the Soviet atmosphere they cannot give even one tenth of it. - Because of that "reality". They have become Bolsheviks, haven't they? - a reader will ask me. Firstly, their transformation (except two or three) into Bolsheviks is very difficult. I know them quite well: when I left the Soviet Union, they were internally "ended". Secondly, such behavior needs internal transformation, which is possible only in the free area. In the reign of exterior power of Bolshevik surrounding, its implementation is doubtful. Thirdly, even if they become Bolsheviks and therefore, "genuine", their talent will not bear fruit, because Bolshevism and art contradict each other. I will not discuss this question here. The only thing I want to say is that you will not find even a single work which is essentially Bolshevik and artificial. If something eminent has been created in the Soviet Union only by "bypassing" Bolshevism. Giving examples will be superfluous here" [Robakidze, 1996:59].

        It's known, that Grigol Robakidze dedicated special essays to Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin and Stalin. His interest towards these persons was stipulated by the desire of explaining the character of a "superman", a "superhuman". Grigol Robakidze's interest in the above mentioned persons was explained by the American researcher Leonard Fox. According to his point of view: "Robakidze was fascinated by the essence of the "hero" as it is described in mythology and in contemporary epoch. His interest led him to the study of Hitler and Mussolini and discuss them from the political and mythological point of view" [Robakidze, 1996:38]. 

         Grigol Robakidze was rejected by the European society for writing "Adolph Hitler" and "Mussolini". His behavior seemed incomprehensible, because he did not consider himself a politician. Grigol Robakidze wrote: "I have never been a politician. I am not a politician even now. It does not mean that I do not understand politics. I deeply believe that: a write, which interferes in politics, will do no good for it. Moreover, as an artist he can cause harm to himself" [Robakidze, 1996:226]. Despite the above mentioned, the writer harmed himself. After the Second World War, Europe leered at Robakidze for writing the essays about Hitler and Mussolini. His works were not published. The doors of publishing houses were closed for him. Sometimes the emigrant Georgian press published his letters.

      According to Robakidze's point of view, Lenin, Hitler and Mussolini did not have such a power of person's destruction as Stalin. Stalin turned human beings into nonentities. This process was vividly depicted in Grigol Robakidze's novel "The murdered soul", which presents the tragedy of an artist standing face to face with the tyranny during the spiritual crisis of the society of the 20th century.

       In 1933 an immigrated writer published a novel in Jena (Germany). In the epilogue of the novel he wrote a date of its creation (1932). The problem of "The murdered soul" is presented in the title. First of all, the writer is concerned with a tragic fate of the artist Tamaz Enguri (the author connects it with the fate of the Georgian artists, the Georgian nation and the degradation of its intellectual potential). In 1927 Grigol Robakidze wrote in the epilogue of the novel - "This book, which is entitled "The murdered soul" tries to present artistically a pernicious force of Bolshevism in its atmospheric influence". The writer points (without modesty) to the prophetic value of the work, which describes dark events of Moscow (the attempt of Stalin's overthrow) "opened" by Berzini - one of the characters of the novel.

          The events of the novel take place in Tbilisi. The main character of the work Tamaz Enguri is a writer. As an artist Tamaz is appealed to share his spiritual achievement with others, but he is under the threat of destruction by the Soviet dictatorship. The red terror tries to submit all the artists to its ideology and use them for veiling the immoral government. The fear of severe repressions showed the following results: "The work was underway everywhere - in literature, in the theatre, in the cinema. Everybody tried to step correctly on the rope. They looked for themes appropriate to such experiments. Different kinds of devices were invented for achieving a desired goal undoubtedly. Some kind of mastership (acrobatics) was formed. Hence, the creation of themes and artistic tricks caused the emergence of other difficulties. For the deduction of the main line, the attention was paid to the mechanic scheme, which did not cause admiration... These difficulties were easily dealt with in the world of movies, which was far away from the real art. Movies were followed by the theatre, while the latter was followed by the literature and poetry... Lyrics finally died out..." [Robakidze, 1991:89].

     The writer points to the moral degradation of the society, which condescends to do everything for its survival (despite having the highest level of morality in the past).  The society does not recognize dignity, condolence, devotion, honesty. Hence, these characteristics were so familiar to Georgians. What has happened? Which force degraded this noble gene? Bolshevik ideology is a suppressor of morality and sublime - this is the only answer. The face of "Stalin with a head of a lizard" represents a face-symbol of Bolshevik ideology in "The murdered soul". A terrible portrait of the leader shows Grigol Robakidze's attitude to the power of socialistic ideology, which crossed all kinds of moral boundaries.

     The hypnotized force of Bolshevism dishonored a person and captured him(her). "Such an atmosphere was everywhere. Distrust and fear ... mania of deviation originated to the left, to the right and God knows, to which side. If a deviation of a coworker was "detected", uproar was created in the newspapers, in the groups, during the meetings, in protest resolutions. Newspapers, groups, meetings, resolutions - even the highest official could not deal with this storm. This elusive thing had a terrible influence even here. Nobody was free. Every person blamed himself(herself). The only deliverance - confession and self-exposure - spread like an epidemy in the Soviet Union... the atmosphere, in which the truth and apparition overlapped, created an opportunity of real perception of an uncommitted sin..."[Robakidze, 1991:87].

       Tamaz Enguri (the alter ego of Grigol Robakidze) came across the following note: "Lenin gave a special name to Stalin - "a legendary Georgian". Stalin "comprised" plenty of legendary. Hence, Georgian was  in him sparsely" [Robakidze, 1991:94]. Robakidze describes a dictator (who was later compared with "a stiff face of a prehistoric lizard") in the following way: "...Stunned and alienated he crept out of the net of the current for some time. When he felt scarefully, that the strength left him, he was only Soso Djugashvili. Simply, Georgian. At that moment he remembered distant Georgia from which he kept the taste of Satsivi and Kakhetian vine, the tune of Mravaljamieri and the Georgian course: "Magati deda ki vatire" [ Robakidze, 1991:108].

        Grigol Robakidze's talent of writing as well as his artistic and philosophical imagination gives an opportunity to generalize not only the character of Bolshevik tyranny, but to show a real face of the models of the totalitarian country. The novel underlines, that one of the reasons of a moral degradation of a human being is the rejection of God. The beginning of the sin (the betrayal of a friend) committed by Tamaz Enguri is caused by the spiritual hesitation, which is stipulated by the fear of Bolsheviks. Before the betrayal of his friend, Tamaz had made a compromise several times: at first, in the film studio during the discussion of the script, then at the writers' meeting, when he "blooded" during the speech. After each compromise he approached a spiritual crisis which was crowned with an involuntary betrayal of Levan. Afterwards Tamaz Enguri realized that the force which had provoked a commitment of this sin, was called the "fear". The end of the novel (which follows the sticking in the sough of a sin and the attempt of "murdering the soul" by the totalitarian pressure) is multi-content. After such "falling" Tamaz Enguri acquires an ability of catharsis and approaching God. By murdering a sinful soul, he has to be restored and overcome the fear which made him to commit a sin. The writer "put" the sinner on the way of regret, because Tamaz aspired to God heartily. A sinful artist asked Jesus Christ: "Oh, you, the blood of Christ poured out of the injured ribs, give me one of your drops, just a tiny drop, for my renewal, for my lightening, like a child, like a virgin" [Robakidze, 1991:154].

       The way to VITA NUOVA walked by the main character is the only way of survival of the society, which is tired of a spiritual crisis. Tamaz Enguri needed an inner alteration and a spiritual transformation. Birth for the second time is the divine action. Immortality is the only fate of a believer, because under Bolshevik dictatorship "everybody sinned and therefore, was deprived of the glory of God" [The epistle...3.23.] Each of them must be born for the second time in order to be forgiven, in order to form a connection with God - this is the credo of Grigol Robakidze's novel.

        "The murdered soul" is not only a classical example of the deprivation of the creative freedom. This work presents a permanent circuit, in which Tamaz's spiritual renewal repeats biblical "birth from the heaven" - "Who is in Christ, (he/she) is a new creature; the old spoiled and everything is new" [The epistle II... 5:17]. "He was not that Tamaz, he was another person, maybe he was not a human being any more. The "strong" light appeared in front of him... shivering and frightened he saw God there. Tamaz jumped up, looked at the boundless space and cried out in a loud voice: "You are, you are, you are" [Robakidze, 1991:154].

         By means of a spiritual catharsis, Grigol Robakidze depicted an inexhaustible energy and strength of a real artist. The novel underlines the fact, that each artist is given a new life by the mercy of a sacrament received by God.  He(she) becomes immortal by means of  sacrificing  to the permanent values.


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