Notes from Underground: Rock Music Counterculture in Russia

By Thomas Cushman | Go to book overview

6

The Tusovka Is Over:
The Acceleration of Capitalism
and the St. Petersburg
Rack Music Counterculture

Into the great wide open, a rebel without a clue.

-- Tom Petty


After the Fall: The Circulation of Constraints

In the fall of 1991, the Soviet Union as a formal nation-state was dissolved. In the wake of this dissolution, the process of the capitalist rationalization of Russian society which had begun during the era of glasnost and perestroika intensified. Attempts at reforming the Soviet system were replaced by a program of economic reform often referred to as capitalist "shock therapy." 1 Shock therapy -- or the rapid capitalist rationalization of Russian society -- has resulted in the emergence of a system of what might be called "anarchic capitalism" ( Burawoy and Krotov 1992) which is characterized by anarchy and unpredictability in relations of production and distribution, a tendency toward monopoly of industry, and autocratic patterns of control over production and distribution process.

Whatever we wish to call the change in contemporary Russia -- "shock therapy," "capitalist rationalization," "anarchic capitalism," "McDonaldization" ( Ritzer 1993), or even "the McGulag" ( Luke 1990) -- it is clear that the Soviet bureaucratic state is being replaced by a new form of capitalist social organization. The effects of the latter are being felt at the

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