Stalin thought so. So, apparently, did the CIA, according to a new account of how the U.S. secretly distributed Doctor Zhivago in the Soviet Union: The Atlantic

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once described writers as “the engineers of the human soul.”

“The production of souls is more important than the production of tanks,” he claimed. Stalin clearly believed that literature was a powerful political tool—and he was willing to execute writers whose works were deemed traitorous to the Soviet Union.