The history of Soviet “hippies” now helps us to understand the reaction of young people in Russia


I study the history of the Soviet Union, a country that no longer exists. I study history Hippies A Soviet phenomenon that also belongs to the past. Period PerestroikaPolitical and economic reforms in the 1980s led to greater freedom of the press, speech, and assembly. In Soviet republics, including Ukraine, an irredentist nationalist sentiment grew, which eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin’s war in Ukraine is also a war against this history: he wants to change the whole project PerestroikaRestoration of the primacy and ideology of the Russian state.

At the heart of the Russian crisis, both then and now, is a difficult generational conflict. The advanced age elite, with values ​​planted in the past, have met young people who want to popularize a different national identity. The Putin regime will not be overthrown by the youth, just as the Soviet Union was not overthrown Beatlemania. But young Russians are undermining the ground on which Putin stands.

The ideological project of the Soviet Union was difficult long before it collapsed in 1991. Perestroika This was only possible because the population was tired of incompetence, corruption, pomp, empty slogans and the leadership of the gerontocracy. No one could show an example of this tension better than the Soviet hippies, young people who disrespectfully loved Western music, clothes and ideas. The Hippies They set up their own summer camps, set up their own news channels, and hitchhiked across the country. Its existence was an act of rebellion. For Hippies Soviet, Perestroika This meant that the small corner of freedom they had in their private lives extended to the entire Soviet Union.

Silence before the war

These days I am often asked what my friends and colleagues think Hippies Russia’s war against Ukraine. There is an implicit expectation that they should be intimidated and should be among the most involved protesters. Reality is more complex as well as reality Hippies Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. Hippies They loved and love peace. But the love of peace is different from war, just as the love of Western music is different from the resistance of the Soviet Union. The Hippies The Soviets accepted the peace sign as a symbol. But Hippies The Soviets, unlike their American counterparts, were not born as a result of the anti-war movement. They were pacifists without war. And when the Soviet Union entered the war in Afghanistan in 1979, they chose silence.

Politics was dirty. War is not always there. Did not the Soviet Union defeat fascism in 1945 and liberate the peoples of Europe? Weren’t Soviet soldiers heroes and not aggressors? It is no coincidence that Putin, who is a contemporary of these countries Hippies In the Soviet Union and growing up in the same housing complex as some of the leaders of the movement, he constantly called out to the Nazis in his speeches. He is also the son of the cult of the “Great Patriotic War”, as it is called in Russia in World War II, from the Brezhnev era. The victory of fascism is the basis of its identity as Russian. Those who oppose Russia are “Nazis” only because of the fact of confrontation.

The Hippies The Soviets were ambivalent about pacifism. They preferred to talk about music, life and spirituality. His silence made it possible to hide his disagreement: he helped Hippies The Russians ignored the fact that the anti-Soviet sentiments of their Lithuanian and Latvian counterparts differed from those of their Moscow counterparts. While the former was a desire for political independence, the latter expressed disgust with the Soviet system, but not a critique of its imperial nature.

Bad revolutionaries

Youth movements played a role in overthrowing the Soviet system. But they played this role in the back and not in the front line. They were experts in creating parallel worlds without direct confrontation with the political order. This ability made them excellent survivors but bad revolutionaries. This allowed them to have a variety of views, but prevented them from taking a unified political position. Old society Hippies The Soviets now have views across the spectrum, ranging from the opposition to the war and ending with outspoken support.

Most of them make the same escape as they did 40 years ago. They switched from Facebook, a social network that is banned in Russia but can be accessed via VPN, to platforms like VKontakte and Telegram, almost without asking. They care more about how Russians are treated abroad than about their peers Hippies In Ukraine.

Other things appeared after Putin’s March 18 rally: სტიობ (Satirical imitations) in the Soviet style. The სტიობ Notes the ridicule that people have for imitating pompous rulers. In the former Soviet Union, სტიობ Has become one of the main forms of communication. The Hippies Russian Soviets did not initially mock Putin before the rally, where his jacket was ruthlessly ridiculed; As well as “international” guests of the rally, all from Russia.

This restrained and apolitical position has become a hallmark of a whole generation. After 1991, he grew into an apathy. But a new generation of young Russians has grown up since the 1970s and 1980s. In the first decade of the 2000s, young people turned to Putin, the Orthodox Church, and pro-regime youth organizations such as Nashi to find an alternative to domination. Western Commercial Culture. Since 2011, young people have formed the backbone of protest movements that follow Soviet diversity strategies, relying on protest performances and events (Pussy Riot’s most famous anti-Putin prayer), artistic, musical, and media creations and creations. Individual spaces of freedom.

By this time the repressive pressure of the state was so high that the mass demonstrations were virtually stopped. According to official polls, about half of Russia’s population under the age of 30 opposes the war, and many more shy away from it. The flight from the late Soviet period led to the emergence of many young Russian intellectuals in the West and neighboring countries.

Some young Russians are looking for alternative practices, alternative characters, alternative news channels, alternative topics of conversation, ways of seeing the world, and relationships with the West. Young feminists have emerged as one of the driving forces of organized resistance. Young computer scientists form new companies in the former Soviet republics. Young journalists from Riga, Tallinn and Berlin write. When the Putin regime ends, there will already be a small alternative Russian world. So historians will write about the nuclei of change that first emerged at the peak of the Putin regime.

* Julian Furst is Director of Communism and Society at the Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany.

Translated by Emma Reverter

Source: El Diario


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