UCL SSEES Russian Studies Seminar Series
Pop Music from Stagnation to Perestroika: How Economic Reform Broke East European Cultural Networks and Why That's a Good Thing
Dr Zbigniew Wojnowski (University of Roehampton)
Monday 14 May, 6 - 7.30pm
Room 433, UCL SSEES
16 Taviton St, London WC1H 0BW
All Welcome! No registration required.
This paper examines the history of the Soviet bloc pop industry from a transnational perspective, focusing in particular on international Polish-Soviet concert tours organised between the late 1970s and the late 1980s. It thus explores how the contradictory pressures of identity politics, cultural diplomacy, and profit fuelled reform in the Soviet bloc. Particularly in the former USSR, but also in its satellite states, the last years of Brezhnev’s rule are often associated with stability and relative prosperity. In contrast, perestroika is remembered as a prelude to the 1990s, a time of economic hardship for Soviet and East European societies.
The paper challenges these periodisations as it reconstructs the late 1970s and the early 1980s as a period of unease caused by the widespread belief that East European institutions were not working. It further identifies strong roots of enthusiasm for market reform under Gorbachev.