Andrey Platonov and the Biopolitics of Failed Communism


soviet literature
foundation pit

How to Cite

Matiashvili, Lasha. 2021. “Andrey Platonov and the Biopolitics of Failed Communism”. Brolly 4 (1):7-28.


In what follows, I will interpret the works of post-revolutionary Russian writer Andrey Platonov through the lenses of critical theory and assume that there is a certain biopolitical element in his literature. Platonov’s fictional characters represent the "creaturely dimension" of "bare life" constructed by the Soviet governmental machine. They experience a shattering sense of longing for lost revolutionary ideals and manifest some kind of existential alert to the upcoming total colonization of private, as well as social life. What do the notions of "bare life" and "creaturely life" mean and how are these concepts interrelated? To what extent one can apply them to interpret the works of Andrey Platonov? "Bare life" is the conceptual construction, meaning an extra-juridical dimension of existence, produced by sovereign decision. It represents the zero degrees of life without a legal and political framework, where excluded subjects are, like other creatures, living in a natural environment under the constant sense of ontological insecurity. Platonov’s literary experiments are not mimetic reflections of reality. Apart from purely existential themes, his texts are imbued with the nihilistic atmosphere of Soviet social and political order and manifest the real and symbolic structure of power.