New Trends in Cultural Life in the Post-Soviet Period

New Trends in Cultural Life in the Post-Soviet Period

Igor Asmarov (Voronezh State Institute of Arts, Russia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9985-2.ch008

Abstract

Modern Russian culture is very different from Soviet culture, but they have many similarities, too. In essence, this is the same country, only without national margins and the former allied national republics. But within the country, multinationality remains since Russia is a federal state with many peoples of diverse cultures. Russian culture is the culture of a multinational country. Modern Russian culture has lost the features of ideological and party (communist) dependence, but retains the influence of the state, like any other culture of any country in the world. True, the influence of the state on the culture in each country goes to a greater or lesser extent. In Russia, this state influence on culture is very large up to the present day, and it has a pronounced dualistic character. On one hand, Russian culture is provided with financial assistance “from above”, and on the other hand, some kind of framework is created that cannot be crossed, almost as it was in Soviet times, when the state order in the cultural sphere dominated.
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Introduction

New trends in cultural life in the post-Soviet period in Russia have emerged thanks to the elimination of the former Marxist-Leninist communist ideology. Nevertheless, the impact of the political situation on culture and art remained and are important dominant factors in the work of writers, artists, sculptors, etc.

Since by the mid-1980s the Soviet state had exhausted most of its creative forces, it came to the stage of stagnation and reappraisal of socialist ideals due to their sharp divergence from the realities of life, the new Communist Party leader M. S. Gorbachev announced a course on the so-called “restructuring”. In the period of perestroika, which began with a new cultural policy, advocating publicity and pluralism of opinions, there was a “return” of the creative heritage of artists who had previously been ideologically banned (A. I. Solzhenitsyn, B. L. Pasternak, M. A. Bulgakov, V. V. Nabokov and others.). However, the educational system and fundamental science, which have been the subject of national pride for a long time, as a result of unsuccessful reforming, come to a state of crisis, from which they have not yet emerged. The lack of state support, the decline of prestige and the loss of understanding of the social importance of the scientist’s work led to a brain drain abroad, leaving them in commerce and other areas of activity.

In the post-Soviet period, which began with the collapse of the USSR (1991), the “shock” reforms and the radical reorganization of society and the state on the paths to the establishment of liberal democracy, many social norms and values of the socialist past, including deeply positive ones, were lost: respect for work, the rejection of exploitativeness and the desire for profit, the spirit of collectivism and mutual assistance, social justice. Russian culture again experienced revolutionary changes in the root. The state has freed itself from the role of censor in culture, ideological control has disappeared and the centralized cultural policy has gone into the past. At the same time, the single spiritual and ideological core of culture disappeared, which created freedom both for cultural creation and moral and spiritual degradation. The transitional character of the post-Soviet period in the culture of Russia is quite obvious, the future results of which are difficult to predict. However, among the main trends shaping the shape of a new culture, the following should be highlighted.

The transition to market relations led to the emergence of mass culture, expressed in show business, commercial forms of pop, music and cinematographic art, which in general significantly reduced the level of artistic creativity.

Postmodern tendencies perceived from Western culture are also characters for modern Russia. Postmodern propagandizes pluralism, rejection of all canons, norms and traditions, absolute truths, and recognizes as equivalent any cultural phenomena to which countries and historical epochs they belong to. The desire for eclecticism, the connection of the incompatible, daring experimentation in recent decades has manifested itself in Russian culture, which can be assessed ambivalent. For example, in literary works, new reference points gave rise to such undoubtedly talented writers as V. O. Pelevin (the novel “Chapaev and the Void”, etc.). However, taken seriously and brought to its logical conclusion postmodern with its skeptical attitude to absolute values can erode the national foundations of cultural life, detrimental effect on the morals and spiritual health of modern generations.

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