Manana Kvataia                                                                                                                                                                          # 4


Alternative Receptions of Leader’s Concepts in Literature


    Keywords: Individual; Cult; Freedom.



        The twentieth-century totalitarian regimes, which turned out to be the toughest and bloodiest of all autocracies, are also associated with concrete leaders, recognized authority, personal traits. M.Weber singled out three types of authority: rational, traditional, charismatic. Along with strong will and toughness, the leaders of dictatorial regimes were distinguished by personal charm and charisma that provided unlimited influence on masses, individuals.

        As Robespierre states all tyrants are identical; they only differ by a slight tinge of the cunning and brutality but by cruelty they are all alike. The theme of a tyrant, dictator is eternal. Literature and art return to this subject matter over and over again. We must study and restudy the inner image and spiritual organization of men marked by desire of unrestricted power over others to avoid future dangers.

An obligatory condition in the formation of totalitarianism, its basis is a totalitarian individual characterized by strive for self-determination and power, aggressiveness, leader authority orientation, own social group and government, standard thinking, conformism, hatred for intelligentsia, etc. (Encyclopedia 2002:13).

        On the one hand, the autocracy is based on modern technologies and on the other hand, on legitimacy. “The problem of legitimacy is decisive even for the most unjust and bloody dictatorship” (Fukuiama 1999: 33). Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini were recognized by the great majority of their own people. “Hitler was backed not only because of fear but by the faith in legitimacy of his authority” (Ibidem).

Authority which stands over the law is of crucial importance in germinating authoritarianism. The authority, leader is on the top of totalitarian autocratic government and has absolute, unlimited power. Any autocratic system creates its cult. It is considered that the cult of power has more durable than the cult of personality. In the 20th century communist or rather fascist myth was created, in the epoch of total reappraisal of values the atheists created new religion of communist and fascist orientation.

“Marx is a god-man. Karl Marx has its apostle Lenin” (V.Nozadze: Communist eschatology”). Other leaders wrapped with mythological features were treated as the apostles or equal to gods in their lifetime. In the Soviet Union representations of power emerged through Leniniana, then Staliniana, Beriana …(A.Bakradze); in Germany and Italy Hitler and Mussolini were glorified..

        According to V.Nozadze’s evaluation in the same way as church, Marxism-Leninism carried on an uncompromising struggle for the establishment of own dogmas, against any inclinations, which consumed the lives of thousands of people. The paper entitles “Communist Eschatology” contains terrible statistics. As Nozadze puts it, by some estimates in Russia’s new revolution 75 million people were executed, including Party “purge” of 1933-37 when 798.072 communists were perished too.

        New Marxist-Leninism religion was termed Communist eschatology by Viktor Nozadze and it was explained in the following way. This is a teaching (dogma) discourse about the last things, events (es-chatos) according to which time will come when the overall happiness will be attained – communist myth which as the researcher says was doomed.

        The cult of leaders made an imprint on the 20-th century Georgian literature too: it lost traditional, organic way of development inside the country.   At the same time, the literature of different type was also created in exile: in their writings Georgian thinkers who had to live in emigration made realist in-depth analysis of the events happening in the Soviet country, its “perfect”, “humanist” leaders and at the same time they expressed important views about fascism and its leaders – Hitler and Mussolini.

        In the letter “Stalin” published in the newspaper “Independent Georgia” (#24) in 1927 emigrant poet Shalva Amirejibi studies the phenomenon of the Soviet leader. By his observation Russian people hate Stalin in two ways: as Bolshevik and as Georgian, though in his words the national background is neither here nor there. However, Stalin is not an alien to the October revolution which is pure Russian phenomenon.

Vladimir Bakradze’s letter is brave and deeply analytical “Critical Remark on Khizani Jako” a novel by Mikheil Javakhishvili (Kavkasioni, #2, 1929). In his view, the personage of Jako is the writer’s crowning achievement. “Jako is more than an artistic personage, he is a symbol, an artistic symbol of the epoch; it can be said a quintessence of Bolshevism, something that is constant and immortal in Bolshevism, which composes its main characteristic features, its nature. One such Jako is enough to get acquainted with the real nature of Bolshevism. Thousands volumes of theoretical investigations fail to familiarize ourselves with this nature better than a Jako portrayed by Javakhishvili”.

        Viktor Nozadze’s papers published in the journal Tavisuplebis Tribunashi (Free Tribune) of March 2, 1974 are distinguished with uncompromised, realistic evaluation of Vladimir Lenin’s personality. “Lenin and Courtesy” recalls the period of hunger in Russia in 1918-1922 when Lenin did not thank the representative of the American Red Cross for assistance; the article “Lenin and Humanism” describes the period when by the order of Bolsheviks leader people were imprisoned, killed, send to concentration camps, everybody – those of guilty and guiltless. His article “Filofei and Lenin” considers the letter of Russian monk Filofei written in 1510 to Moscow nobleman and ruler Vasilii Vasilevich in which it is said that after the collapse of Rome and Byzantium the king of Moscow should protect Christianity. In Nozadze’s opinion the rulers of the country distorted this idea and used it for the realization of Russian imperialistic ambitions.

        The concepts of the 20-th century leaders whether right or left totalitarian regimes were presented with in-depth analysis and fullness by Grigol Robakidze who had lived in emigration in Germany since 1931. He set himself the task to conduct artistic investigation and analyze personal essence of these dictators in his works. He would like to solve the enigma of newly appeared leaders being hit with Amor fati, to reveal conscious or subconscious motivation of their actions and study metaphysics of power. At the same time, in some cases – clearly, in a hidden form – between lines - the writer indicated those dangers which came from a “superman” having unlimited power.

In 1924 after Lenin’s death, journal Kavkasioni published G.Robakidze’s letter entitled “Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov-Lenin” in which the phenomenon of Russia’s revolutionary leader was characterized in laconic phrases: “There has not appeared such holistic personality in recent times. Hamlet of Europe’s epochal type… Completely new curve: antipode to Hamlet…Lenin is brutal and self-determined. Lenin is a will itself. . even his name - Ulyanov-Lenin sound like hurricane” (Robakidze 1996: 296).

In the novel The Snake Skin, Lenin is portrayed more fully: “The year of 1908. Paris. May. A short man at the tribune, Stocky build. Large bald head. Bare granite. High forehead. Straight lines of the forehead. Very small eyes.. one is slightly closed, suspicious and penetrating, another is looking aside. Keen eyes gazing inward ... There is expression of power and victory in his figure” (Robakidze 1989: 184-185).

        G.Robakidze compares the personality of Iosif Stalin with the image of the Iranian brutal god Ahriman. The novel The Killed Soul in which the writer analysis Stalin’s horoscope was published in Germany in 1932 and in 1935 Stalin’s horoscope with a little bit modified  was included in his collection  Demon and Mythos as an independent essay Robakidze 1935).  “Stalin as an Arimanean power” studies the phenomenon of legendary Georgian (as Lenin used to call him). In Robakidze’s view legendary prevails in Stalin but Georgian is very little, by his nature he is the antipode to a Georgian.

    G.Robakidze views the roots of Stalin’s personal brutality in his strict childhood: The son cursed his own father, his parent; the hardhearted hated the whole world. There was no love for him, no joy. The body of life was poisoned with unerupted brutality… The one who has no bless of life his heart is closed for pure feelings”.

In an extensive essay Adolf Hitler (Robakidze 1939), Robakidze studies the inner image of a powerful dictator Adolf Hitler through the work of art. An advanced reader can read between lines about the dangers coming from the personality of a main hero. The writer himself points out: “In the Soviet Union I was baptized as fascist. This contradicted the reality. This book is constructed according to Pifagor’s design. Briefly: here nationalistic-socialist world outlook is totally destroyed from inside – at the same time, Hitler appeared to be in valid area” (Robakidze 1991:3).

        The essay Mussolini devoted to the Italian dictator Mussolini written in 1939 also turned to be fatal for Grigol Robakidze. (Robakidze 1939). It is interesting to note that in the essay G.Robakidze treats his personality rather freely and bravely. He describes both positive and negative traits of his hero. The writer does not betray his creative credo. Moreover, there is a desacralization of the existing myth about Mussolini when it concerns the traits of a strong leader not to be proud of (panic fear in relation to suppressed space or Pharaoh’s mummy, prejudices so typical of him, etc.). At the same time Robakidze’s Mussolini shows the examples of the superman’s stamina and endurance. We consider the writer underlines the contradictory polarized nature of Italian dictator which is dangerous.

        Other Georgian emigrants also wrote about Hitler and Mussolini. As early as in 1927 in Axalgazrda social demokrtati (Young Socialist Democrat), Pavle Sarjveladze published analytical paper Fascism in Italy where the author remarks: Italian fascism is the own son of a crisis caused by world war and it is as Bolshevism represents the greatest danger to Europe’s truce and peace..” Such realistic position can be found in other emigrant writers too.

        The representatives of Georgian emigration in the first half of the 20th century made objective analytical analysis of the concepts of totalitarian regime leaders whether left or right, study their phenomenon. Their conclusions often completely differed from distorted reception which was widely recognized and spread in the Soviet Union as well as in Germany and Italy.



  1. Encyclopedia 2002: World Encyclopedia. Moscow: “Sovremennyi literator”. 2002 (in Russian).

  2. Robakidze 1988: Robakidze Gr.  The Snake Skin. Tbilisi: “Merani”, 1988 (in Georgian).

  3. Robakidze 1991: Robakidze Gr. Gulnadebi (G. Robakidze’s unknown letter to Georgian writers). Literaturuli Sakartvelo, January 4, 1991, p.3-4 (in Georgian).

  4. Fukuiama 1999: Fukuiama F. The end of history and the last man. Tbilisi: Caucasian Institute for Peace and Development, 1999. (in Georgian).

  5. Robakidze 1935: Robakidze Gr. Damon und Mythos. Jena: Diederichs-Verlag, 1935.

  6. Robakidze  1939: Robakidze Gr. Adolf Hitler. Jena: Diederichs-Verlag, 1938.

  7. Robakidze 1939: Robakidze Gr. Mussolini. Jena: Diederichs-Verlag, 1939.


Volume 4, Issue 1


Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature

Georgian Electronic Journal of Literature