Medium 9780253009296

The Socialist Sixties: Crossing Borders in the Second World

Views: 774
Ratings: (0)

The 1960s have reemerged in scholarly and popular culture as a protean moment of cultural revolution and social transformation. In this volume socialist societies in the Second World (the Soviet Union, East European countries, and Cuba) are the springboard for exploring global interconnections and cultural cross-pollination between communist and capitalist countries and within the communist world. Themes explored include flows of people and media; the emergence of a flourishing youth culture; sharing of songs, films, and personal experiences through tourism and international festivals; and the rise of a socialist consumer culture and an esthetics of modernity. Challenging traditional categories of analysis and periodization, this book brings the sixties problematic to Soviet studies while introducing the socialist experience into scholarly conversations traditionally dominated by First World perspectives.

List price: $29.99

Your Price: $23.99

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove

13 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter 1 This Is Tomorrow! Becoming a Consumer in the Soviet Sixties

ePub

1   This Is Tomorrow!

Becoming a Consumer in the Soviet Sixties

Susan E. Reid

SUPPOSE THAT, AT the dawn of the 1960s, Soviet artist Aleksandr Laktionov had produced an updated remake of his well-known painting of 1952, Moving into the New Apartment (fig. 1.1), to reflect the hopes of the new decade: how might it have looked? In the intervening years Stalin had died and been denounced, the Cold War had entered a new phase of “peaceful competition,” and, in 1957, the Khrushchev regime had launched its industrialized construction program to provide separate apartments not only for exemplary citizens like Laktionov’s happy house-warmer but for all. Other measures promised further improvements in ordinary people’s lives: enhanced services, more leisure time, and increased production of consumer goods to go in their new homes.1 One change that Laktionov’s sixties remake would surely have to reflect was that the ideal modern Soviet home was now widely envisaged as saturated with “labor-saving” technology and as already looking forward to the next generation of new improved devices. As Izvestiia proclaimed in 1959, with a dose of socialist realism: “Today many families have a washing machine, vacuum cleaner, and floor polisher. The majority of workers have a meat grinder, juicer, etc. But it would be much more convenient to combine them in a single ‘domestic combine’ [domashnii kombinat].”2

 

Chapter 2 Modernity Unbound: The New Soviet City of the Sixties

ePub

2   Modernity Unbound

The New Soviet City of the Sixties

Lewis H. Siegelbaum

Unfortunately, far from everything planned for the seventies was realized, even ten years later. Perhaps they weren’t first-order objectives … but without them, the district lost something in its spiritual development. I don’t want to console myself with the thought that such is the fate of all our new “socialist cities”; anyway, that’s a separate theme, large and instructive.

—S. P. Polikarpov, assistant director of VAZ

WHAT DISTINGUISHED THE Soviet cities of the sixties—not Soviet cities in the 1960s but the ones that were planned and created (more or less) ex nihilo during that decade? Did everyday life resemble that of other, older cities, did residents enjoy a better quality of life associated with everything being up-to-date and the product of the “scientific-technological revolution” then at its (rhetorical) zenith, or was there a darker side to these cities without pasts?

 

Chapter 3 Sputnik Premiers in Havana: A Historical Ethnography of the 1960 Soviet Exposition

ePub

3   Sputnik Premiers in Havana

A Historical Ethnography of the 1960 Soviet Exposition

João Felipe Gonçalves

CUBA TODAY ABOUNDS in reminders of the strong connection it once had with the Soviet Union and socialist Eastern Europe. Throughout the island, Hungarian buses shuttle the staff of many work centers; Soviet air conditioners make the summer heat more bearable; Ladas and polaquitos (Poland-made Fiats) are a common sight in the streets. Socialist housing estates dot Cuban urban landscapes, and Soviet references are present in the names of places such as Havana’s vast Parque Lenin and small Seriozha store. Movie theaters often hold Eastern European film festivals, and Russian or Russian-inspired names are part of the ordinary repertoire of Cuban first names. In Cuban homes, libraries, and used bookstores, bookshelves boast publications such as guidebooks to East Germany and coffee table books on Bulgarian art. Cubans raised before 1990 remember their childhoods as a time in which they watched Russian cartoons and ate Bulgarian cabbage. More than that, thousands of them spent years as students or employees in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and many more cultivate fond memories of their tourism or work trips to the former socialist bloc.1

 

Chapter 4 The Thaw Goes International: Soviet Literature in Translation and Transit in the 1960s

ePub

4.   The Thaw Goes International

Soviet Literature in Translation and Transit in the 1960s

Polly Jones

“Is IT SNOOTY of me to insist that in most realms of art the West is, in the simplest sense, more advanced than the Communist East?”1 This was the rhetorical question posed by Philip Toynbee in his review of Evgenii Evtushenko’s autobiography for the English newspaper the Observer in summer 1963. For Toynbee, the gulf in literary quality between “them” (writers authorized for publication by the Soviet authorities) and “us” (writers published in democratic Europe and North America) remained unbridgeable. His critique reproduced the binaries of the Cold War in the literary realm; here was one contest of the “cultural cold war” in which West had trounced East.2

Yet this haughty, seemingly emphatic critique nonetheless raises some questions: How backward was Soviet literature? Which criteria were being used to judge backwardness? And why, if its quality was so low, was this work being translated and reviewed so prominently in a national newspaper? The answer, and the subject of this chapter, lies in the enormous changes to Soviet literature’s role and reputation in its two principal English-language markets in the early 1960s. The period, and this year above all, saw a marked rise in the number of Soviet literary works translated into English and a sharp upswing in public awareness and consumption of Soviet literature in Britain and America, provoking publishers, critics, and readers to rethink its identity.3 When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Ivan Denisovich, published in 1963 in numerous translations and in huge print runs, became a best seller across Europe and North America, Soviet literature turned into a “sensation.”4 During the Khrushchev Thaw—and indeed because of the Thaw—literature authorized for publication in the Soviet Union was deemed more worthy of translation and more marketable to Western readers than it had been for the whole of the Stalin era, and perhaps since the end of the “Russia craze” spawned by the Silver Age.5 Well before the end of the 1960s, however, the limits imposed domestically on the Thaw brought an end to this episode of Soviet literature’s international fame and aborted its tentative ascent toward the “heights” of world literature.6

 

Chapter 5 Guitar Poetry, Democratic Socialism, and the Limits of 1960s Internationalism

ePub

5.   Guitar Poetry, Democratic Socialism, and the Limits of 1960s Internationalism

Rossen Djagalov

A Specter Is Haunting the World

During the 1960s new and curious figures were sighted simultaneously in different parts of the world. Whether bardy in the Soviet Union, Liedermacher in East and West Germany, cantautori in Italy or Latin America, auteurs-compositeurs-interpreteurs in France, or singer-songwriters in the USA, those figures brought together a new type of an audience to listen to their poetry, which they usually sang to the accompaniment of their own guitars. In every culture in which they appeared, they were deeply rooted in local poetic, musical, and performative traditions, yet everywhere their performance exhibited several fairly constant characteristics: a powerful potential to construct counterpublics; a critique of the state, whether of a state socialist or capitalist variety; and a tense relationship with the musical industries. These are the commonalities that place on the same plane such seemingly disparate and deeply national phenomena as the Russians Bulat Okudzhava and Vladimir Vysotskii, the Poles Jacek Kaczmarski and Edward Stachura, the Czech Karel Kryl, the Germans Wolf Biermann and Franz Josef Dagenhardt, the Frenchman Georges Brassens, the Italians Luigi Tenco and Fabrizio De Andre, the Cuban Carlos Puebla, the Chilean Victor Jara, and the Americans Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, and the pre-electric Bob Dylan.

 

Chapter 6 Songs from the Wood, Love from the Fields: The Soviet Tourist Song Movement

ePub

6.   Songs from the Wood, Love from the Fields

The Soviet Tourist Song Movement

Christian Noack

BEFORE POP AND rock took hold of North America’s and Europe’s youth, a remarkable “folk revival” seized many countries in the developed world. As Rossen Djagalov writes elsewhere in this volume, in the early and mid-1960s, singer-songwriters in the United States, England, Germany, France, and Italy were performing songs they authored with simple guitar accompaniment. More often than not these singer-songwriters identified with the aims of the contemporary civil rights movement in the States (or incidentally with revolutionary and leftist governments in South America); they expressed a younger generation’s growing dissatisfaction with the dull and often hypocritical participation of their parents in a conservative postwar order. Many songs featured critical comments on contemporary society, while they borrowed musically from simple patterns of national or international folk traditions. Songs of the American or Irish folkies, French bardes, or German Liedermacher were simple and catchy enough to be learned and performed by amateurs; the international folk scene was as much about singing and playing guitar as it was about listening to music and lyrics.

 

Chapter 7 Look Left, Drive Right: Internationalisms at the 1968 World Youth Festival

ePub

7.   Look Left, Drive Right

Internationalisms at the 1968 World Youth Festival

Nick Rutter

WHEN FREE GERMAN Youth (FDJ) leader Günther Jahn addressed his delegation to the Ninth World Youth Festival just prior to departure on 19 July 1968, he urged them to speak with confidence—to “say the complicated simply, not the simple complicatedly.” To ensure that his seven hundred listeners understood, Jahn seasoned his speech with a touch of communist humor. West Germany’s capitalists were “political eunuchs” who “know exactly how it’s done, but just can’t do it anymore.” Capitalism’s struggle to command the scientific-technical revolution was comparable to “the devil shearing a pig—a lot of squealing but little wool.” And while “the enemy expects us to sit naked on his ideological hedgehog, we’ll lather it up and shave it clean” before sitting. When asked how East German delegates should behave toward Romanians and Yugoslavs, the thirty-eight-year-old youth leader began with a joke from recent Warsaw Pact meetings in Dresden: How does Nicolae Ceausescu determine Romania’s foreign policy? He “looks left, drives right.”1

 

Chapter 8 A Test of Friendship: Soviet-Czechoslovak Tourism and the Prague Spring

ePub

8.   A Test of Friendship

Soviet-Czechoslovak Tourism and the Prague Spring

Rachel Applebaum

THE 1960s WAS an era of unprecedented transnational exchange. From Tokyo to Chicago, people watched the decade’s defining moments of protest, revolution, and war play out in real time on their television sets. Fashion and rock music traveled from the streets of London to New York’s galleries and nightclubs. Rebellious students in Paris and Milan mimicked the style—and sometimes the politics—of revolutionary leaders in Latin America and China.1

As the chapters in this volume reveal, the sixties was also a time of increased transnational exchange within the socialist world. In Havana, Cubans were introduced to material goods and culture from the USSR at the 1960 Soviet exhibition; in Sofia, activists from socialist countries around the world gathered at the Ninth World Youth Festival.2 Paradoxically, such contacts, which were designed to increase solidarity in the bloc, instead revealed political, national, and cultural discord. This essay examines one aspect of this process of transnational contact and rupture: “friendship” between the USSR and Czechoslovakia, as seen through the lens of Soviet-Czechoslovak tourism during what was arguably the most important event of the socialist sixties, the 1968 Czechoslovak reform movement known as the Prague Spring.

 

Chapter 9 Postmemory, Countermemory: Soviet Cinema of the 1960s

ePub

9.   Postmemory, Countermemory

Soviet Cinema of the 1960s

Lilya Kaganovsky

IN 1979, IN what was to be her last interview, Larisa Shepit’ko spoke of a “genetic memory” that had left a clear “trace” on her second feature film Wings (Kryl’ia, 1966). Referring to her first film, Heat (Znoi, 1963), Shepit’ko underscored the similarity between herself and the protagonist: “He was my contemporary,” she said, “he was eighteen and I was twenty-one. We were people of the same generation—the generation of the early sixties.” Wings, on the other hand, was a different story:

We, my film colleagues and I … dared to pass judgment on the older generation, on our fathers, and this imposed on us a particular responsibility. We needed to prove that we had the right to judge them…. On screen, we began a conversation about the not-so-easy lives of the wartime generation after the Victory. It was no longer possible for me to become one with the heroine—I didn’t have my own experiences to rely on. Instead, I worked from intuition, from a kind of intuitive genetic memory. If there really was such a memory—the memory of what happened during the war to my father and my mother and what happened to them in the difficult years after the war—then this memory is etched into the film.1

 

Chapter 10 The Politics of Privatization: Television Entertainment and the Yugoslav Sixties

ePub

10. The Politics of Privatization

Television Entertainment and the Yugoslav Sixties

Sabina Mihelj

ONE OF THE key dilemmas in scholarly debates about the sixties concerns the relationship between political contestation and culture. Were the struggles of the sixties primarily political, or should we rather see them, as Arthur Marwick suggests, as part and parcel of a “cultural revolution” whose impact went well beyond the realm of politics?1 As the editors of a recent themed issue dedicated to the international 1968 put it: Did cultural change “merely [provide] the background for the political upheavals of the Sixties,” or did it define “the very essence of this contentious period”?2 Rather than opt for an account that gives greater prominence to either one or the other, this chapter approaches the sixties as a period during which the nature of politics itself, along with its link to culture, underwent a profound transformation. Both east and west of the Iron Curtain, long-established fault lines of political struggle, tied to the alternative visions of modernity espoused by communism, liberalism, and fascism, gave way to issues of living standards and social welfare, as well as to dilemmas of family relations, racial segregation, and youth culture—all issues traditionally on the margins of political debate, or considered parts of the private sphere and culture rather than politics proper. The venues and forms of political communication changed as well. As political contestation shifted to the realm of the private and the everyday, political struggle was increasingly waged through objects, symbols, and genres of popular culture and everyday life.

 

Chapter 11 Playing Catch-Up: Soviet Media and Soccer Hooliganism, 1965–75

ePub

11. Playing Catch-Up

Soviet Media and Soccer Hooliganism, 1965–75

Robert Edelman

DURING THE FALL of 1945, in the afterglow of Allied victory, the Dinamo Moscow soccer team traveled to Great Britain for a goodwill tour.1 Dinamo, the newly crowned Soviet champion, funded and run by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), was to play the Welsh lower-division side, Cardiff City, the Scottish power Glasgow Rangers, and the famed London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea.2 Both the USSR’s leaders and its ordinary citizens had long wondered how their teams would do against the world’s best. From the outset, diplomatic and political isolation had made the regime and its citizens intensely curious about the outside world and equally concerned about how that outside world perceived them. Between the wars the Soviet press had continually reported on the leagues of capitalist nations, while the library at the Stalin Institute of Physical Culture collected hundreds of training manuals and histories of the game. The USSR’s teams could not compete against the West, but Soviet professionals and fans were far from ignorant of football under capitalism.

 

Chapter 12 Listening to los Beatles: Being Young in 1960s Cuba

ePub

12. Listening to los Beatles

Being Young in 1960s Cuba

Anne Luke

THE PICTURE OF a socialist 1960s cannot be complete without exploration of the small Caribbean island that bucked the regional trends and chose to follow a political model from the other side of the world rather than the one on offer on its doorstep. Beyond a Cold War political appraisal of a bipolar world lies a story where a fluidity of exchange is in evidence, where transnational cultural flows meld with national cultural distinctiveness to create a new texture of the everyday in Cuba. In cases where imported cultural motifs have an impact, they reemerge, “Cubanized,” as new hybrid cultural expressions. These reflect the effervescence of a 1960s culture that allowed for the fluidity of meanings and that could thereby cross national boundaries and be transformed.

The rehabilitation of the Beatles in Cuba in 2000, when Fidel Castro unveiled a sculpture of John Lennon seated on a bench in a park in Havana, led to a resituating of 1960s youth culture on the island. The term los Beatles is now used in Cuba to represent the imported music—accessible but of ambiguous official standing—of Cuban youth cultures in the 1960s. This article will plot the coordinates of some of these youth cultures in Havana in that decade, including the culture of the young poets of the El Puente group, the growing popularity of foreign music, the emergence of new styles and public spaces, and finally the importance of a new Cuban music, nueva trova. The texture of 1960s life can most readily be found by examining Havana’s public spaces, and quite literally to plot these coordinates is to go on a journey of just a few blocks around the public spaces of the Vedado zone of the city.

 

Chapter 13 In Search of an Ending: Seventeen Moments and the Seventies

ePub

13. In Search of an Ending

Seventeen Moments and the Seventies

Stephen Lovell

FOR A LONG time, historians of the Soviet Union have had little need of the sixties. Their purposes have been served admirably by the notion of the Thaw (ca. 1954–64). The sixties have connotations of personal liberation and political protest that seem absurdly inappropriate for the still straitlaced and repressive Soviet Union. In recent years, however, it has become almost a commonplace to note that the Thaw did not end with Khrushchev’s ouster in October 1964. Soviet culture has been shown to retain its edginess, contentiousness, and experimentation at least until 1967. Josephine Woll justifiably claims for her history of Thaw cinema Andrei Tarkovskii’s Andrei Rublev (1966), Larisa Shepit’ko’s Wings (1966), and Kira Muratova’s Brief Encounters (1967).1 A leading historian of the Thaw phenomenon, Stephen Bittner, finds its end to be “ambiguous and uneven,” located somewhere between the arrest of Joseph Brodsky and the invasion of Czechoslovakia.2 As several contributors to the present book show (notably Nick Rutter and Rachel Applebaum), the Soviet Union’s opening to the wider world was not reversed by a change in the leadership. Nor, of course, is it the case that the West in the 1960s was quite the unbuttoned place of dinner-party lore.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000031691
Isbn
9780253009494
File size
2.07 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata