In 1926, Meir Wiener immigrated to the Soviet Union for economic and ideological reasons. While in Kiev, he worked as a research fellow at the Department for Jewish Proletarian Culture of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in April 1927. Wiener then transferred to the Kiev Institute for Jewish Proletarian Culture, where he was appointed as the head of the Section of Ethnography and Folklore, and published in Di royte velt a long essay reviewing two collections of poetry by the American Yiddish author H. Leyvick (Leyvik Halpern, 1888–1962). In 1929 a series of high-profile ideological campaigns were waged, first against prominent Russian writers such as Evgenii Zamiatin and Boris Pilnyak, and subsequently against Yiddish literature. The Communist Party's efforts to consolidate control over Soviet literature from 1929 to 1934 did not spare Yiddish literature and scholarship. This chapter, which focuses on Wiener's time in the Soviet Union and his adjustment to Soviet conditions in Kiev, also examines the “Leninist Period” in Soviet literary criticism and Wiener's move from Kiev to Moscow.
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