AVERBAKH, LEOPOLD LEONIDOVICH (1903–1938?), Soviet Russian critic and the leading spirit of the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP), which dominated the Soviet literary scene from 1929 to 1932. A fanatical, dogmatic Communist, Averbakh, unlike the later exponents of socialist realism, claimed that the regime had nothing to fear from the truth and did not flinch from writing about the more unpleasant aspects of Soviet life. After the dissolution of RAPP and the establishment of the even more strictly regimented Union of Soviet Writers, Averbakh was accused of a multitude of crimes, ranging from Trotskyism to the fact that he was a brother-in-law of the disgraced secret police chief Yagoda.   These attacks on Averbakh had a strongly antisemitic flavor. He disappeared during the purges in the late 1930s. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Borland, Soviet Literary Theory and Practice During the First Five-Year Plan 1928–1932 (1950); E.J. Brown, Proletarian Episode in Russian Literature 1928–1932 (1953). (Maurice Friedberg)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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