The Majakovskij piazza boys. Poetry at the origin of dissent in USSR (1958 – 65)
«And it rose, stept over and crucified, human beauty…». The «human Manifesto», the poetry from which these lines have been taken, lacerated like a scream the night of soviet ideological flatness and became a kind of key word amongst the «Majakovskij piazza boys». Its author, Jurij Galanskov, would have died ten years later in a concentration camp.
Who was he? It was 1961, in USSR the smoothing of the cold war had wavered, sucitating hopes, made evident the condition unlivable, unhuman of man reduced to a gear of the system, a robot aligned in the ranks of the army in amrch towards the edification of world socialism.
Around the monument to the poet Vladimir Majakovskij, inaugurated the 29th of July 1958 in Moscow, some youth started to gather, mostly students, to read poems of official and unofficial poets, and then more and more even their own. It was the crossing over of the silence wall, the certainity that a word of truth said, just wisppered, in the anti – ideological form for excellence, that of artistic beauty, owns vibrations capable to break the ideological prisons built by the omnipotent and omnipresent regime.
A phenomenon comparable in certain aspects to the ’68 in the West, with profound esistencial connotations, that relaunched a human question of meaning, of truth, of beauty that did not have – at least at a first stance – political, ideological bends, but that expressed first of all in poetry. Politics would have come later, as an answer to the question: « If I do not move, who will step forward?».
To the ban that authorities well in time placet on these gatherings, youths responded organising reunions and clandestine magazines, from which it born the samizdat, the «free self – editing». This underground stream of research and rebellion to the ideology would have surged for the first time, in 1965, during the trial against the young writers Sinjavskij and Daniel’, guilty of having published their books abroad, in a stance of public opinion against totalitarism: the fuse of dissent had been lit.
The exhibition runs through the story of the «Majakovskij piazza boys» and their sucessive fates, offering brani of memories and poems of the young authors (amongst others, Galanskov, Brodskij, Bukovskij, Ginzburg) and their techers (Pasternak, Anna Achmatova, Mandel’stam and so forth), drawing and «non conformist» pictures, and the possibility to listen to songs of singer – writers such as Okudzava, Vysockij, Galic.
Memorial, the first autonomous organisation of post – sovietic Russia, established by Andrej Sacharov, is poviding us with photoraphs and documents of exceptional interest, among which the issue regarding the «Sintaksis» magazine, seized by the KGB at the end of the sixties and returned after the perestrojka.