Subversive Styles? Official Soviet Cultural Identity in the late-Stalin years 1945–1953

Timothy Johnston

in Being Soviet

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604036
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731600 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Subversive Styles? Official Soviet Cultural Identity in the late-Stalin years 1945–1953

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The official cultural identity of the USSR shifted rapidly in the early Cold War. Three different campaigns expressed this new identity amongst different groups: the Zhdanovshchina, the Lysenko-led assault on Michurinism, and the Anti-Cosmopolitan Campaign. These campaigns attacked ‘kowtowing’ before capitalist culture and reinforced the self-sufficiency and superiority of Soviet civilization. Most Soviet scientists and artists adapted successfully to the new language of Sovietness, performing, reappropriating, and avoiding the demands of the ideological campaigns. On a popular level, American cinema, jazz, and clothing styles remained popular. However, even those such as the stiliagi who styled themselves in an explicitly ‘American’ manner were ‘tactically’ negotiating the boundaries of Soviet and un-Soviet style, rather than resisting Soviet power. The glamour and chic, as well as the threatening nature, of the outside world remained a structural feature of the Soviet post-war mentalité.

Keywords: 1945; 1953; Cold War; Zhdanovshchina; Lysenko; Anti-Cosmopolitan Campaign; Soviet science; Soviet jazz; stiliagi; mentalité

Chapter.  16592 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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