Most narratives depict Soviet Cold War cultural activities and youth groups as drab and dreary, militant and politicized. In this study Gleb Tsipursky challenges these stereotypes in a revealing portrayal of Soviet youth and state-sponsored popular culture.
The primary local venues for Soviet culture were the tens of thousands of klubs where young people found entertainment, leisure, social life, and romance. Here sports, dance, film, theater, music, lectures, and political meetings became vehicles to disseminate a socialist version of modernity. The Soviet way of life was dutifully presented and perceived as the most progressive and advanced, in an attempt to stave off Western influences. In effect, socialist fun became very serious business. As Tsipursky shows, however, Western culture did infiltrate these activities, particularly at local levels, where participants and organizers deceptively cloaked their offerings to appeal to their own audiences. Thus, Soviet modernity evolved as a complex and multivalent ideological device.
Tsipursky provides a fresh and original examination of the Kremlin’s paramount effort to shape young lives, consumption, popular culture, and to build an emotional community—all against the backdrop of Cold War struggles to win hearts and minds both at home and abroad.
About the Author
Table of ContentsContents Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1. Ideology, Enlightenment, and Entertainment: State-Sponsored Popular Culture, 1917–1946 Chapter 2. Ideological Reconstruction in the Cultural Recreation Network, 1947–1953 Chapter 3. Ideology and Consumption: Jazz and Western Dancing in the Cultural Network, 1948–1953 Chapter 4. State-Sponsored Popular Culture in the Early Thaw, 1953–1956 Chapter 5. Youth Initiative and the 1956 Youth Club Movement Chapter 6. The 1957 International Youth Festival and the Backlash Chapter 7. A Reformist Revival: Grassroots Club Activities and Youth Cafés, 1958–1964 Chapter 8. Ambiguity and Backlash: State-Sponsored Popular Culture, 1965–1970 Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index