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Soviet officials begin crackdown on theater

The Soviet leadership, signaling a crackdown on liberal trends in Moscow theater, published a sharp attack on current plays. The front-page editorial in a Moscow Communist Party newspaper demanded a return to dramas with positive communist heroes, and said the works of young Soviet authors had become especially unacceptable. These works dwell too much on the problems of private individuals or on family quarrels and look too much at the negative side of life, it said.

Moscow theaters recently have tried to get away from the austere strictures of ''socialist realism'' to examine the problems confronting individuals in Soviet society.

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