The article analyzes the causes of the crisis of the modern history of Russian literature, the main reasons for which is the crisis of the Russian language in general and the crisis of the academic language in particular. The ideological pressure experienced by Soviet literary criticism as a science of the history of literature influenced not only topics and interpretations of the literary process, but also generated a specific language - a language “infected with Soviet meanings”. The analysis of the language of literary texts of the Brezhnev era of the 1960-1970s implies that the Soviet studies of the history of Russian literature were based on two concepts: “struggle” and “fallacy”. That allowed Soviet literary scholars to describe the literary process in the framework of Soviet ideology, when Soviet literary criticism considered the natural process of democratization of Russian literature in the 19th century as the main stream of revolutionary struggle. The proclamation of “struggle” and “fallacy” as the main engines for the development of literature led to extreme degree of pathos of Soviet literary criticism, which is especially noticeable in the example of studies of the work of 19th-century satirists. A typical example is the Soviet literary scholars’ research on M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin. On the one hand, the satiric pathos of his works helped Saltykov-Shchedrin to go through the ideological selection of Soviet official literary studies. At the same time, Soviet literary criticism passed by the main feature of Shchedrin's satire: clichés of the official language of any ideology gives many opportunities to play on changing the meaning of the official formula, which leads to its destruction from the inside. The limited set of research topics did not allow deviating from the “general line” of interpretation or broadening the range of problems, which predetermined the results of research in advance. As a result, Russian literary criticism inherited the language from the previous Soviet era, in which it still writes. Even out of external ideological pressure, the Soviet language continues to communicate acquired ideological meanings.