PUTIN AND NOSTALGIA

The year 1968, when Soviet tanks marched into Prague, was a watershed. By the 1970s the revolutionary cosmic mission was forgotten by the Soviet leaders themselves. As the thaw was followed by stagnation, nostalgia returned. Brezhnev’s and Andropov’s era of the cold war remains a contested ground: for some it’s the time of stability and better living standards, for others, the time of official corruption, widespread cynicism, degradation of ideology and development of elite networks and clans. In 1968 high school student Vladimir Putin, inspired by a popular TV series “The Sword and the Sheild,” about Soviet agents working in Nazi Germany, went to the KGB office in Leningrad and offered his services. Thirty years later the president of Russia would remember this story with great affection, remaining faithful to the dreams of his youth. It is in this late Soviet era that one could find clues for the future development of Russian leadership. It seems that 1990s nostalgia for the Brezhnev era was partially based on the old Soviet movies that reappeared on Russian TV at that time. Many Russian viewers, tired of upheavals and lost illusions of the post-Soviet decade, tuned in and suddenly began to believe that Soviet life resembled those movies, forgetting their own experiences as well as their ways of watching those films twenty years earlier – with much more skepticism and double entendre.

– Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia

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2 thoughts on “PUTIN AND NOSTALGIA

  1. Jeff says:

    When I was a teaching assistant, I found myself explaining the cold war to British undergraduates. Some of them found it familiar from textbooks. It seemed strange to me as someone who grew up with the threat of nuclear annihilation in the popular culture, even if I wasn’t as worried about it as history documentaries often suggest everybody did back then.

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