Russian Cultural Studies: An Introduction

By Catriona Kelly; David Shepherd | Go to book overview

Conclusion: Towards Post-Soviet Pluralism? Postmodernism and Beyond

CATRIONA KELLY DAVID SHEPHERD STEPHEN WHITE

That the last Part should have ended with a consideration of youth in post-Soviet Russia may seem, if not an inevitable, then at least an appropriate ending to an account of culture which has sought to stress its unfinalized, constantly developing character. It also, of course, mimics a key aspect of the continuity with the past that has been a constant accompaniment to that development. The investment (whether sincere or cynical) of hope in successive generations of youth in the Soviet period looks set to continue, as in the following conclusion to the post-Soviet textbook on 'culturology' quoted in our Introduction:

[After every setback in Russia's history] the country arose from the ashes, gathered its strength, restored what had been destroyed, acquired a new social memory and spiritual culture, and continued to develop, because at the basis of all the achievements of culture is the human being, who determines the meaning and purpose of the historical process and preserves and develops the values of culture, and is the principal keeper of its achievements.

The future of Russia is in the hands of the younger generation [podrastaiushchee pokolenie], it is this generation that will determine Russia's fate, its sociocultural processes, and its relationships with the other peoples of the Earth.1

This optimistic anticipation of what might once have been termed a 'radiant future' is in fact, if we disregard its rather embarrassing grandiloquence, little more than a truism combined with homiletic pieties of a thoroughly Soviet (but not only Soviet) kind. While acknowledging the historical character of cultural activity and human

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