Rouslan Khestanov 1, Aleksander Suvalko 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

The Beginning and the End of the Soviet Cultural Fundamentalism Project

2019, vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 164–185 [issue contents]
The article focuses on one of the most mysterious and intriguing stories of the Soviet civilization that is connected with the original ideas of the Bolsheviks and then to the Soviet nomenclature of culture. Chronologically, our research covers the first years of the formation of Soviet state institutions, the so-called Leninist and then Stalinist periods of leadership, and ends with a period that is often called “The Thaw.” In order to grasp the conceptual and doctrinal motifs for building Soviet cultural and state institutions, we used verbatim records of the Party Congresses as our main source of information. Our main task was to clarify why culture was central and strategic for early Soviet leaders. We will show how culture gave political doctrine its conceptual integrity by linking perceptions of state, leadership and governance, and communism and labour. The analysis of our sources testifies to the existence of a quite definite trajectory of cultural policy: (1) the birth of the Bolshevik cultural project, (2) its materialization in the institutions of the Soviet statehood, (3) the normalization of the created state structures and, finally, (4) the marginalization of the cultural issue. We introduced the concept of "cultural fundamentalism" to emphasize the peculiarity of the Bolshevik cultural project in which radical anti-etatism was expressed, which implied compensation by the culture of the abolished statehood. The internal logic of the development of the cultural project led, however, to a paradoxical result — the creation of a total social state. The principal thesis of the article is that the concept of culture played a central and strategic role in the construction of a new socialist state.
Citation: Khestanov R., Suvalko A. (2019) Nachalo i konets sovetskogo proekta kul'turnogo fundamentalizma [The Beginning and the End of the Soviet Cultural Fundamentalism Project]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 18, no 4 (in Russian)
The Russian Sociological Review
Office A-205
21/4 Staraya Basmannaya Ulitsa, Building 1
Deputy Editor: Marina Pugacheva
Rambler's Top100 rss