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Russian Youth and Western Cultural Influence, 1945 to the Present Gleb Tsipursky, UNC Chapel Hill.

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Presentation on theme: "Russian Youth and Western Cultural Influence, 1945 to the Present Gleb Tsipursky, UNC Chapel Hill."— Presentation transcript:

1 Russian Youth and Western Cultural Influence, 1945 to the Present Gleb Tsipursky, UNC Chapel Hill

2 Cold War Cultural Propaganda My goal is to give some pragmatic suggestions for your teaching Something you can easily use in your classroom New curriculum – invasions Cold War superpower invasions – through cultural propaganda U.S. western European governments invested many resources Radio Free Europe (U.S. - CIA) and BBC (British government) Jazz ambassadors Support for export of exciting Hollywood blockbusters Limitations on films critical of U.S. reality U.S. advertising specialists heavily involved in U.S. propaganda This combined with Soviet exposure to western life during WW II Also intrinsic Soviet youth curiosity about western reality Altogether, resulted in western influence on Soviet youth

3 Stiliagi Postwar xenophobia – Iron Curtain Western world mostly closed off Rise of stiliagi in major cities Children of elites Fashion Music and Dance Manners Slang Black market Surprisingly minimal suppression by state

4 Actual Stilaga

5 Official Censorship of Stiliaga

6 1957 Moscow International Youth Festival Stalins death Post-Stalin leadership under Khrushchev – Thaw Secret Speech Hesitant opening for limited western influence Minimal western music allowed – Sovietized jazz 1957 Moscow International Youth Festival – turning point Meant to be propaganda for USSR Unintended consequence – mass impact of western culture Surprisingly uncontrolled event American-style jazz and dancing Casual conversations Even Russian sexual encounters with foreigners Powerfully impacted Soviet youth

7 Lenin Stadium – U.S. Festival Contingent

8 Youth Cafes in 1960s By late 1950s, Soviet authorities set new goal Alternative, socialist version of modern consumer society Tried to combine capitalist forms with socialist content Appeal to youth desires Youth cafes: one example Managed by Party youth wing, the Komsomol Aimed to promote officially-sanctioned aesthetic tastes While playing jazz and having western atmosphere Served as haven for western influence

9 Youth Cafe - Atmosphere

10 Youth Cafe - Jazz

11 Rocknroll Rock'n'roll began to be popular in mid-1960s Beatlemania Underground rock'n'roll groups Hippies By early 1970s, rock more popular among youth than jazz Officials more wary of rock than jazz Rock'n'roll – strong association with counter-culture Also had western-language lyrics, mostly English Underground rock'n'roll vs. officially-sponsored groups By early 1980s, authorities began hesitant compromise Official rock'n'roll club in Leningrad (current-day St. Petersburg) Very limited until Gorbachev

12 Official Rock – Singing Guitars

13 Perestroika and Alternative Youth Cultures Perestroika – undermined Soviet way of life Opened door to widespread western influence Wide expansion of rock'n'roll, heavy metal, etc. Western fashions and styles Rapid growth of western-like counter-cultural scene Hippies, punks, motorcycle riders, etc. Yet, also appearance of nationalistic Russian youth cultures Liubery most prominent From Liubertsy, a suburb of Moscow Centered on weight-lifting parlors and street corners Opposed western counter-cultures Came into Moscow to beat up western-oriented youth

14 Liubery

15 Current Russian Youth After collapse of USSR, western influence only grew Much more exposure to western cultural products Western counter-cultures further expanded Mainstream youth – characterized by two ideal-types One type - globally-oriented Generally better educated, middle class Lived in centers of major cities Second type – strongly nationalistic Rejected many global elements Less educated, working class Outskirts of major cities or in towns + villages

16 Sources A lot of information on this: This is a site that essentially emulates a Russian history textbook online Has brief historical essays, combined with primary sources Not only texts, but also images + videos Some more specific books: Hilary Pilkington, Elena Omelchenko, Moya Flynn, Uliana Bliudina, and Elena Starkova, Looking West? Cultural Globalization and Russian Youth Cultures (2002) Sergei Zhuk, Rock and Roll in the Rocket City: The West, Identity, and Ideology in Soviet Dniepropetrovsk (2010) Hilary Pilkington, Russia's Youth and its Culture: A Nation's Constructors and Constructed (1994) William J. Risch and Kate Transchel eds., The Socialist Beat in the Soviet Bloc (forthcoming in 2011). Eva-Maria Stolberg ed., "Rivals of the Twentieth Century": USSR and USA. Two Geopolitical Powers in Competition (forthcoming in 2011)


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