Cement (novel)


Cement (Russian: Цемент) is a Russian novel by Fyodor Gladkov (18831958). Published in 1925, the book is arguably the first in Soviet Socialist Realist literature to depict the struggles of post-Revolutionary reconstruction in the Soviet Union.

The protagonist, Gleb Chumalov, is a returning Red Army soldier hero who after the Russian Civil War comes back to a hometown in painful transition and to its cement factory being reorganized for the massive new Soviet effort. His wife, Dasha, plays the role of the Soviet "new woman," and Gleb finds he cannot easily pick up the threads of their old relationship. The novel is Gladkov's best known work because of its portrayal of the sociological effects of early Communism, especially after the sexes are suddenly decreed equal in the labor force of the local cement factory.


A Red Soldier returns home from the war victorious, eager to return to his wife, comrades, and factory, only to find out that the Revolution is in shambles, and that the country is in famine despite food rations. When he left three years earlier, Revolution was in the air. Now his wife's heart has hardened, his comrades no longer recognize him, and the factory is deserted, stripped bare by the starving citizens. Nearly everyone has abandoned the Revolution, and icons of the revolution collect dust, neglected. Only a few have remained loyal to the Revolutionary ideals. These few serve as examples of the ideal socialist citizen, but there are too few of them and a socialist state requires the masses to operate the machine of the socialist cause.[1]


  1. A.S., Arthur. "Cement".


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