Cover Osteuropa 8-10/2016

In Osteuropa 8-10/2016

Anachronistic and independent
Andrei Platonov’s view of Central Asia

Anne Hartmann

Deutsche Fassung


In 1934, Andrei Platonov travelled to Turkmenistan with a brigade of writers. The brigade’s task was to glorify the successes of the establishment of socialism in Turkmenistan. Platonov wrote about his experiences in Central Asia in the short story Takyr and the novella Dzhan. Although he may have attempted to meet the requirements for socialist realism and to write in a more conformist way than in his previously incriminated works, Platonov’s Turkmenistan stories mark the high point of his radical departure from the literary and ideological conventions. He neither shares the communist image of man nor the complaint about the historical backwardness and alien nature of the Asians, nor the teleological certainty in progress, which entailed the subjection and reshaping of nature. The melancholic, pessimistic underlying mood of his works and his emphasis on human suffering is also a reflection of the fact that Platonov, measured against the aesthetic and political standards of high Stalinism, was not a Soviet author, but an extremely independent-minded one.

(Osteuropa 8-10/2016, pp. 165–193)