Composers and their stage works 

Fear (Strakh)


Aleksandr Nikolayevich Afinogenov


Professor Borodin, director of the Institute of Physiological Stimuli, is a pre-Revolutionary intellectual who refuses to accept the dictatorship of the proletariat in his laboratory and deplores the proletariat's lack of scientific objectivity. With Kastalsky, his favourite pupil, Borodin has been working on extensive experiments that have led him to believe that fear determines man's conduct even more than the basic stimuli of hunger, love, and hate.

Borodin presents this theory, based on his research, in a paper that he reads at a scientific meeting. He recommends that to make the proletariat more efficient the Soviet government must eliminate methods based on fear, reorganise its system of administration according to Borodin's scientific findings, and direct the masses through science. As a scientist, he is completely confused by the resulting uproar. Klara, the old Bolshevik, denounces him and "shows" him the faultiness of his thinking, after which he is arrested by the secret police.

Kastalsky, caught while attempting to escape across the border, turns out to be a counter-revolutionary and a scoundrel; he renounces Borodin at the GPU headquarters. The proletariat has crushed its opposition, and Borodin sees the error in his thought. Once liberated from prison, he submits to the new order and starts anew as a scientist "devoted to the party and government."