The sixties represented a time in history where the whole world was undergoing a vast amount of change in a variety of different ways. After Josef Stalin died in March of 1953, the Soviet Union began to see a time of new Soviet culture development. People began to be able to focus on their personal lives and live less of what felt like a caged existence. Soviet culture was greatly influenced by the culture of other quickly developing countries. The “swinging” 60’s was a time where new radio and television programs were arising that were becoming easily accessible to a wide variety of the population in the world. Overall Europe was seeing a great economic boom and the 60’s marked the first time where entertainment industries became easily accessible to the public. New fashions and styles were developing all over the world. People began to place a great emphasis upon the whole idea of “style”. “By 1965 there were radio and television programs, magazines, shops, products and whole industries that existed exclusively for the young and depended upon their patronage” (Judt, 398). Soviet Russia was notoriously affected by the first lines of Christian Dior magazines. Women in Soviet Russia began wearing simple looking dresses and scarves to appeal to the new fashion industry. Older men began to wear gray and brown suits casually. “Each national youth culture had its own distinctive icons and institutions” (Judt, 399). The United States had Elvis Presley and England had the Beatles as examples of great influences in culture. However, these influential figures quickly spread throughout the world and eventually to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was influenced by the different pop culture that was becoming popular around the world. Much of the mainstream musical culture of the sixties appeared to be about sex, which was why this time period began to be known as the sex revolution. “Contraceptives were becoming safer, easier and legal (Judt, 399). This is a large part of where the whole idea of “Make Love not War” came from in the 1960’s. The sixties became the originator of the “hippie” lifestyle which hit the Soviet Union with some popularity. Despite the popular belief that there was no way the Soviet Union could have any hippie movement, they actually had the longest lasting hippie movement in the world. They notoriously dove into western and eastern cultures and became rock and roll children who believed in the ideal of flower power and love. “The Khrushchev thaw (1956-1964), that followed Stalin’s repressions, brought a breath of fresh air to some places in the Soviet Union. In Estonia, the so-called Soviet West, foreign radio broadcasts kept people updated on the happenings elsewhere in the world and Finnish television that traveled across the bay was an open window to the world.” (Make Love Not War). Hippies in the 1960’s protested against Soviet rule in a peaceful manner through symbolic expressions. However, the Soviet Union eventually caught on to these protests and saw the hippies as “social parasites” and contamination’s from the western culture. Eventually the KGB placed censorship, expulsions, and different harassment techniques on the “hippies” who got out of line. Overall, the period of Stalin leaving the Soviet Union meant that the Soviet Union could see new cultural development. They were able to expand and find more space for individualism as a result of his death in 1953.
Fedorova, Inna. “Soviet Fashions of the 1960s: Dawn of a New Era.” Russia Beyond, 26 Nov. 2013, www.rbth.com/arts/2013/11/26/soviet_fashions_of_the_1960s_dawn_of_a_new_era_32045.html.
Judt, Tony. Postwar: a History of Europe since 1945. William Heinemann, 2005.
“Make Love, Not War – Hippie Movement in the Estonian SSR.” Estonian World, 28 Apr. 2016, estonianworld.com/life/make-love-war-ussr/.
Saint-Jean, Eddie. “Soviet Hippies.” Whats Hot London, 6 Sept. 2016, whatshotlondon.co.uk/soviet-hippies/.