The Landscape of Stalinism
The Art and Ideology of Soviet Space
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Washington Press
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List of Figures
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This volume received generous financial support from the Committee on Research and from the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as from the Institute for Russian, Soviet and Central and East European Studies at the University of Nottingham, ...
Note on Transliteration
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Within the text we have used the transliteration system of the Library of Congress, but have altered it slightly to render names familiar to or at least less unpronounceable for readers unfamiliar with Russian. In the notes we adhere strictly to the Library of Congress system when citing Russian sources. ...
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While supervising an inexperienced pilot on a military training flight, a taciturn, self-sacrificing hero suddenly loses his eyesight in E. Pentslin's 1939 film The Destroyers (Istrebiteli). Without indicating that anything is amiss, he instructs his young charge in the procedures necessary for a successful landing. ...
Part One: Space and Art
1. Socialist Realism and the Sacralizing of Space
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For decades Soviet and Western cultural critics bandied about the term "socialist realism" as a virtually self-evident category that applied in all creative fields. Of course some common stipulations for socialist realism were widely applicable—for example, mandatory optimism, aesthetic conservatism, moral puritanism, and partiinost, ...
2. The Spatial Poetics of the Personality Cult: Circles around Stalin
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A visitor from the Russian provinces to the Soviet Union's Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow at mid-twentieth century would likely have been offered a guided tour with a focus on artistic representations of Lenin and Stalin. The guide might have graduated from a crash course based on the 1947 essay "Methodical Elaboration of Excursions in the State Tretiakov Gallery on the Subject: ...
3. Spatial Figures in Soviet Cinema of the 1930s
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Patterns of spatial representation are essential for establishing the styles of different authors or schools, especially in film, where segmentation of space has been crucial to the development of filmic narration based on montage. The introduction of the close-up at the beginning of the twentieth century changed cinema's conception of spatial representation, ...
4. "Broad Is My Motherland";: The Mother Archetype and Space in the Soviet Mass Song
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The famous "Song of the Motherland" from Grigory Aleksandrov's 1936 film Circus (Tsyrk) begins with the following words: Broad is my motherland, Many are her forests, fields, and rivers! I know no other such land, Where so freely does a man breathe ...
5. The Art of Totality
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It perhaps sounds banal to assert that the main function of totalitarian ideology is a striving for totality. Nevertheless, this claim seems to be necessary when one hears and reads that the most important goals of the totalitarianism of the 1930s were the creation of societal homogeneity and the exclusion of the other. ...
Part Two: Mobilizing the Soviet Subject
6. All This Can Be Yours!: Soviet Commercial Advertising and the Social Construction of Space, 1928-1956
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The New Soviet Man and Woman were not only engineers, Stakhanovites, and kolkhozniki; they were also shoppers, customers, and consumers. Like people in other industrialized nations, Soviet citizens struggled to balance their producing and consuming activities. Yet the shortages of consumer goods endemic to the Soviet economy, ...
7. The Art of Social Navigation: The Cultural Topography of the Stalin Era
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The notion of space is among the most stable and basic of human notions, and therefore it attains its greatest concentration in cultural products intended for automatic perception. In this chapter I look at three "topographic spaces" located on the Soviet cultural periphery, which therefore have gone relatively unnoticed in cultural history: ...
8. "But Eastward, Look, the Land Is Brighter": Toward a Topography of Utopia in the Stalinist Musical
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A recent article by Tracy Anderson bore the title, "Why Stalinist Musicals?"1 The manner in which the question was posed is itself significant and reflects the distorting lens through which both Western and "Soviet" scholars have historically viewed Soviet cinema, even though Anderson's article did much to refocus that lens. ...
Part Three: The Blank Page
9. To Explore or Conquer?: Mobile Perspectives on the Soviet Cultural Revolution
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In an unfinished article of the 1940s, Mikhail Bakhtin suggested that during the 1920s, Vladimir Maiakovsky had sought to reformulate the Soviet krugozor (horizon), recognizing that "the age and the masses demand a new range, very distant or very close, just not medium-range, not domestic."2 ...
10. Tabula Rasa in the North: The Soviet Arctic and Mythic Landscapes in Stalinist Popular Culture
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During most of the 1930s, the Soviet Union experienced a fascination with Arctic exploration that can be described only as a national craze. Excitement about the Russian North mounted steadily after the early part of the decade, when the Stalinist regime launched a battery of polar expeditions that, ...
11. "The Best in the World": The Discourse of the Moscow Metro in the 1930s
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In the third volume of his Aesthetics, Hegel wrote of an "independent, symbolic architecture." At certain times in history, the entire life of a nation is caught up in the attempt to construct such architectural works, buildings that give expression to the nation's most cherished beliefs—for example, its understanding of spiritual concepts such as God, ...
12. Russo-Soviet Topoi
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In attempting to apply the Bakhtinian concept of the chronotope to Soviet civilization, one discovers a curious pattern: chronos is consistently displaced and swallowed up by topos. Chronos tends toward zero, toward the suddenness of miracle, toward the instantaneousness of revolutionary or eschatological transformation. ...
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Publication Year: 2003
Series Title: Studies in Modernity and National Identity