If the 1930s and 1940s saw the dominance of socialist realism in all areas of Soviet cultural endeavour, the years following Stalin’s death saw its inexorable decline and eventual death. Indeed, it was no longer the ‘basic method’by as early as 1962, because a plurality of voices and styles had by then fatally subverted its monolithic hold on culture. Still, in the minds of Party ideologues socialist realism remained a valid cultural concept, and even as late as 1984 the Party General Secretary Konstantin Chernenko was calling for writers to return to the ‘positive hero’ as an inspiration for society. By then, however, such appeals were too late.