Chapter

Patrons or Predators? Foreign Servicemen, Technology, and Art within Official Soviet Cultural Identity 1941–45

Timothy Johnston

in Being Soviet

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604036
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731600 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604036.003.0003

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Patrons or Predators? Foreign Servicemen, Technology, and Art within Official Soviet Cultural Identity 1941–45

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During the Great Patriotic War the officially sponsored identity of Soviet civilization shifted to embrace foreign films, jazz, and science. Lend Lease presented a challenge to the Soviet government: the arrival of foreign goods suggested the USSR had, in Maussian terms, received a gift from the Allies and was obliged to reciprocate. Official discussion of the programme was kept to a minimum. Nonetheless many individuals who interacted with foreign trucks, tanks, and food drew their own conclusions. The presence of thousands of foreign sailors, delivering goods via the Arctic convoys, presented an even greater challenge to the Soviet state. Many people shunned the convoyers. Others, particularly local women and children, danced, bartered, and fell in love with the foreign visitors. Disapproving Soviet officials described such conduct as prostitution. In reality it offers a window into how ordinary citizens carefully negotiated the boundaries of what could and could not be Soviet.

Keywords: 1941; 1945; Great Patriotic War; Soviet science; Soviet jazz; Soviet cinema; Lend Lease; Mauss; Arctic convoys; Soviet prostitution

Chapter.  17001 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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