The severe restrictions placed on art by Stalin and Khrushchev also helped cause Shostakovich
to become disillusioned. Always afraid of official condemnation, he followed the leads of Ludwig van Beethoven, Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, and Modest Mussorgsky by writing music with profound themes buried underneath dominant themes of a banal nature and completely opposite sentiment. For his political safety, Shostakovich managed to keep his own voice while complying with the government's policy of "socialist realism" – art depicting the triumph of Leninism and the complete, if contrived, optimism of Soviet life. Still, Shostakovich was disciplined by the cultural authorities on several occasions, particularly when all of the USSR's leading composers, including Serge Prokofiev, Aram Khachaturian, and Nicolai Myaskovsky, were denounced for "formalism," or decadent avant-gardism, in 1948; this coming after a period of war when artists had greater creative freedoms.