Cultural Diplomacy of a New Type

Michael David-Fox

in Showcasing the Great Experiment

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794577
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932245 | DOI:
Cultural Diplomacy of a New Type

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This chapter analyzes how the Soviet approach to foreign visitors crystallized during a particular conjuncture in the early 1920s. As the first significant influx of “bourgeois” foreigners, including the American Relief Association (ARA), arrived to provide aid during the famine of 1920–1922, Soviet missions became focused not only on external contacts and exports but on influencing visitors at home. The chapter explores the origins of Soviet organizations set up to shape the international image of the Soviet experiment. It considers the motivations and activities of the precursors to the All-Union Society for Cultural Ties Abroad (VOKS), Soviet guides and translators, and the secret police (OGPU/NKVD). A new Soviet system emerged to predict visitors' judgments, evaluate and classify foreigners, and identify friends and enemies.

Keywords: famine of 1920–1922; VOKS; guides; translators; secret police; OGPU; NKVD; foreign visitors; Soviet

Chapter.  14706 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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