Music and the Soviet Union Research Paper by Master Researcher

Music and the Soviet Union
An examination of the role of music in the liberation of the Soviet bloc.
# 40749 | 3,900 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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This paper explores how music in both Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union facilitated the development of a counterculture and constituted a site of psychological resistance to the communist regime. The paper details the emergence of rock music and its impact on the erosion of the Iron Curtain in the Soviet Union, East Germany and Hungary.

Foundations of Resistance
The Emergence of Rock
The Impact of Rock

From the Paper:

"Current rock music in Eastern Europe has been developing autonomously for some time, but simultaneously in interaction with various trends around the world. "Since 1985, rock music has provided, in both a figurative and literal sense, the sound track of the Gorbachev revolution" (Ryback 3). The history of the role of music in liberalization extends to the 1940s when "Soviet and East European youth turned to American jazz as a means of overcoming the cultural isolation imposed by the cold war" (3). In 1946, Andrei Zhdanov, chairman of the Supreme Soviet, initiated an intense offensive against American influence and "the forces of cosmopolitanism that threatened to poison the consciousness of the masses" (8). In that same year, Soviet authorities began an attack on jazz as western, decadent music. A major reason for the attack is observed in the meaning of jazz in the Soviet Union. For its listeners, jazz "came to be an intelligible and acceptable form of spiritual resistance to surrounding reality" (Feigin 11).
"In the 1950s, the threat to the new socialist personality which Zhdanov was intended to shape had magnified since Soviet-bloc teenagers chose to reject the new socialist man in favor of American film heroes. One of these was the rebel James Dean. These adolescents, known as 'stilyagi' or style-hunters were prominent in the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, and Prague. "Stilyagi were a scandalous, outrageous youth cult of the 1950s - the first hipsters, the first devotees of exotic music, the first advocates of an alternative style" (Troitsky 13). In the mid-1950s, they became the target of a media campaign to humiliate them into returning to socialist orthodoxy."

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Music and the Soviet Union (2003, October 15) Retrieved May 26, 2020, from

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