Russia: The View from Lenin Hills

About a month ago, soon after Nikita Khrushchev touched off a general crackdown on modern art (TIME, Dec. 14), several hundred Soviet artists and writers were abruptly summoned to the modern, glass-walled reception palace at Lenin Hills, on the outskirts of Moscow. Khrushchev himself, it seemed, wanted to hear what poets and painters thought of the party line on avant-garde art. The argument raged for five hours, far into the night, and included several remarkably frank exchanges with the Soviet ruler.

One of the first to speak up was aging Journalist-Propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg, 71. Defending a C├ęzanne-like blue and purple...

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