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Between Truth and TimeA History of Soviet Central Television$
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Christine E. Evans

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300208481

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300208481.001.0001

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“Spiritual Coauthorship”

“Spiritual Coauthorship”

Seventeen Moments of Spring and the Soviet TV Miniseries

(p.150) Chapter Five “Spiritual Coauthorship”
Between Truth and Time

Christine E. Evans

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the rise of fictional miniseries as a new television genre in the Soviet Union by focusing on Seventeen Moments of Spring. Directed by Tatiana Lioznova, Seventeen Moments of Spring generated public conversations about moral complexity and the need for new, post-Stalin heroes who might repair the damage of the Stalin cult and refound the Soviet Union's postwar empire in Europe on firmer ground. The film proposed a new deal between state and intelligentsia, based on shared values and, ultimately, subordination to police authority. This chapter first situates Seventeen Moments of Spring in its international context before discussing its reception as a “genuine political film.” It then considers the moral ambiguity of state power and secret police in Seventeen Moments of Spring, along with the Stirlitz character in relation to the problem of fanaticism. It also looks at Seventeen Moments of Spring's many contradictions, arguing that they were designed to invite viewer participation that complemented the film instead of undermining it.

Keywords:   miniseries, Seventeen Moments of Spring, moral complexity, intelligentsia, police authority, moral ambiguity, state power, secret police, Stirlitz character, fanaticism

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