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Colloquium for History Majors (European)

by: Victor Cummings

Colloquium for History Majors (European) 16E 051

Marketplace > University of Iowa > History of Modern Europe > 16E 051 > Colloquium for History Majors European
Victor Cummings
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Victor Cummings on Friday October 23, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to 16E 051 at University of Iowa taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 41 views. For similar materials see /class/228001/16e-051-university-of-iowa in History of Modern Europe at University of Iowa.

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Date Created: 10/23/15
Stephen Blecha 16E 05 1 002 Postwar Soviet Life and Culture Rough Draft Rockt39tl the USSR So what ifthe dear Tsar Bell is broken We came with our black guitars For it was big beat blues and rock and roll That cast a spell on us with its rst beats And in our chests are sparks of electricity Hats in the snow crank it louder Rock and roll is gloriously pagan Time of ie Bel AleXander Basbla 0110 VJ In analyzing any era or culture popular music can be a powerful tool Written in the early 1980s Time of the Bell exempli es Soviet rock music and would later become the anthem of Russian rockz It proclaims that music especially rock music can save a person even if the government cannot The rock scene in the Soviet Union struggled through many hardships but prevailed Insight into the history and lyrics of Soviet rock music not only shows dissidence of the youth but also portrays cultural problems and values Rock music in the Soviet Union rst emerged from Western in uences in the early 1960s Music from bands such as the Beatles illegally crossed the border into the Soviet Union via airwaves In a 1983 interview twenty years after the emergence of the Beatles and their contemporaries four out of ve Soviet rock musicians still compared themselves to either the Beatles Led Zepplin the Rolling Stones or Steely Dan3 Kolya Vasin a Soviet rock musician recalls the rst time he heard the Beatles The 1 Artemy Troitsky The Fate of Sasha Bashlachov in So eRock ed Igor Zaitsev Moscow Progress Publishers 1990 50 2 Troitsky The Fate of Sasha Bashlachov 50 3 Interviewer A Conversation About Rock Yunost May 1983 239 trans in The Current Digest of the Soviet Press hereafter CDSP 35 No 34 September 21 1983 6 Beatles were something heavenly I felt blissful and invincible All the depression and fear that ingrained over the years disappeared I understood that everything other than the Beatles had been oppression 4 The illegality of Western rock music helped to show the Soviet citizens their lack of freedom Groups began to form in the mid1960s that were largely imitative of the Beatles the Rolling Stones the Doors and other popular Western rock artists Also the majority of groups in the Soviet Union sang in Englishs The Soviet Government quickly banned Western music as it did many Western products However there is something inherent in rock music that promotes rebellion and individualism and even the Soviet government could not contain it Alexander Dugin a Russian journalist wrote The rebellion of Western Rock became the rebellion of young people in this country There was no desire to imitate it was intuition and a sense of affinity with the youth in the West that was behind the exchange of albums and tapes the earsplitting sound of hif1s and the collection of whatever scanty information fans could glean from the Soviet periodicals6 Rock music s appeal to the Soviet youth quickly gained strength Soviet rock analyst Ekaterina Dobrotvorskaja argues two reasons for this strong appeal First she argues that The everyday experience of a teenager growing up in the Soviet environment of the 1970 s led him to the gradual realization that there was nothing worthwhile to be found anywhere in public social life Secondly she argues that while only the future exists in MarxismLeninism Western rock put them in the present 7 4 Pedro Ramet and Sergei Zamasichov The Soviet Rock Scene Journal ofPopular Culture 24 Summer 1990150 5 Romana Baby Rock Culture and Rock Music in Ukraine in Rocking the State ed Sabrina Petra Ramet Boulder Westview Press 1994 243 6 Alexander Dggin The Phenomenon of Rock Music in the USSR in Soviet R061 ed Igor Zaitsev Moscow Progress Publishers 1990 66 7 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene 146148 It separated the youth of the 1970s and 1980s from the previous generation and provided them with a proxy for rebellion The Soviet government and others who stood against the spread of rock music objected to the Soviet citizens listening to Western rock rather than patriotic Soviet folk songs In 1962 Nikita Khrushchev stated that I like music a lot and often listen to it on the radio But take these new dances which are so fashionable now Some of them are 8 The rebellious nature of rock mus1c and its completely improper It s indecent western in uence also disturbed the government In 1984 Komsomolskaya Pravda published an article stating that a plan was drawn up by NATO to impose western culture and music in the Soviet Union9 One year later another article appeared in Komsomolskaya Pra Vda complaining that rock songs portray foreign lands in vivid color 10 Some saw rock music as a narcotic that sucked people into the mass culture and destroyed them such as Western idols Jim Morrison Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix Many thought that rock music supported the wrong morals and could be detrimental to the moral growth of the youth A clergyman of the Russian Orthodox Church said of rock music As a Christian I say that rock music displays features whereby one can recognize the enemy of the human race Satan 12 The first rock clubs appeared in the Soviet Union in 1967 Organized by the obshchepit a group of government owned cafes and restaurants and the YCL Young Communist League the clubs provided rock music for the citizens of Moscow 8 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene 150 9 CDSP Vol 36 No 37 45 incomplete footnote 10 Maj E Zlain Contraband Songs Can Damage Young People s Education Komsomolskaya Pravda Oct 18 1985 4 Trans in CDSP 37 No 44 Nov 27 1985 31 11 Stanislav Kunayev What Songs are being Sung to You Nash Sovremennik July 1984 739 Trans in CDSP 36 No 42 November 14 1984 14 12 Soviet Rock pg 164 incomplete footnote However an order of the state caused the clubs to shut down shortly after their arrival 13 Similarly Ukrainian authorities banned the use of the English language in songs and any imitation of Western music 14 In Russia Goskontsert the state concert agency and the Bureau of Concert Bands approved bands and decided how much they made per performance Approved bands or of cial bands had to screen their lyrics and music for the local city council a month before the performance Unof cial groups could still perform just not at any of cial clubs and they had to maintain other fulltime employment This is the refrain of a song from an of cial group called Samotsvety The heart is aching the heart is caring The postal cargo is being pa cked Our address is not a house or street Our address is the Soviet Union 15 This is a very caring and very patriotic passage Now look at the lyrics from an unof cial group called Time Machine You believe thatno one is deceiVing us And that the deception is a mistake The Strong on1yha ve to beckon to you And you 11 go running to your master They want to turn you into a horse and you 11 ohediently offer your back This passage contains blatant mockeries of the Soviet Government It claims that the Soviet government uses its citizens like horses It is not surprising that when Time Machine tried to become an of cial band in 1980 the state deprived them of that 13 Alexander Dggin Rock Clubs in SOVietRock ed Igor Zaitsev Moscow Progress Publishers 1990 140 14 Baby Rock Culture and Rock Music in Ukraine 243 15 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene 160 16 Nikolai Vasin Notes From a Rock Museum in Soviet R061 ed Igor Zaitsev Moscow Progress Publishers 1990 36 privilege When an official club in Armenia allowed a unofficial band to play the owner of the club received the death penalty and the band s manager was sentenced to 17 14 years in prison With such harsh punishments unofficial groups moved from the clubs to the black market However the black market of rock music grew too large and in 1985 the Secretariat of the Central Committee of Komsomol established musical patrols to conduct raids on the black market18 In 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union which marked a new era of rock music Under his policy of Glasnost citizens of the Soviet Union gained greater freedom of speech which freed many of the underground rock groups from the black market Also in 1986 Gorbachev replaced the conservative Minister of Culture and the head of the Department of Culture with more openminded individuals Previously banned groups such as Aquarium and Bravo received an official status However that would not matter for long because the terms official and unofficial changed to professional and amateur in 1987 Breakdancing was no longer outlawed it was considered a sport 1986 saw the first ever Soviet charity rock concert In 1987 Gorbachev welcomed Yoko Ono the wife of former Beatle John Lennon into the Soviet Union 19 The first rocklaboratory opened in Moscow in 1986 for the purpose of uniting talented musicians in an artistic school For the first time the Soviet youth experienced a taste of musical freedom Rock clubs became much more prevalent and according to journalist Alexander Dugin 1987 was the year of a rock club epidemic In October of 1987 Sverdlovsk hosted a national conference of rock clubs Along with the 26 delegates from various 17 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene 152 18 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene 153 19 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene 165 rock clubs people from the Culture Department and of cials from both regional and city YLC organizations also attended They called themselves the National Federation of Rock and they created a list of guidelines and rules for rock clubs and musicians The document stated that The Federation s tasks include the coordination of the activities of its members in their work to further develop Soviet rock music with the aim of promoting the social and artistic initiative of the youth and its moral and aesthetic education 20 This was a gigantic step for rock music in the Soviet Union This Federation with representation from the government wanted to use rock music to heighten the Soviet youth s morals and artistic taste Only three years prior an article published in Nash Sovremenniksaid that rock music conveys a primitive and fatalistic philosophy that renounces real life and hypnotically enfeebles young people s souls 21 Although it did not grant the Soviet youth total musical freedomzz Mikhail Gorbachev s policy of glasnost opened many doors in Soviet rock music After the initiation of glasnost the lyrics of Soviet rock groups continued their protest of the Soviet system and government A song called On the Life of Poets written by Alexander Bashlachov in 1986 exempli es the heart of the musical dissidence movement Never mind that the angelunskiiled workers Are out on the streets That which was long hacked at by the hammer Will breakthrough with the pen The wanderer poets put down the sign of Bleeding alter the verses end God stands on their doorstep But the yseek their own ea thedra 20 21 22 Dugin Rock Clubs 144 Kunayev What Songs are being Sung to You 14 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene Punk music still bothered Soviet authorities An Estonian punk group called Propeller was disbanded for repeatedly screaming the word no in one of their recorded songs A search tbatknows 110 end 23 Bashlachov says that music and poetry can save an individual and the communist system cannot He also claims that rock musicians even in the postglasnost Soviet Union seek a place where there are no musical boundaries If rebellion is inherent in rock music then it is logical that his search will never end Dissidence is a prevalent theme in the lyrics of Soviet rock as it was in America in the 1960s and 70s In America s case dissidence songs helped to end the Vietnam War In the Soviet Union by showing disgust with the government dissidence rock music helped to reform the entire government in 1991 Soviet rock lyrics not only show insight into the Soviet dissidence movement but also they serve as an excellent tool in understanding life and culture in the Soviet Union The theme of suffering towards a greater good has been a common theme in Soviet music and literature In his novel Dream of a Ridiculous Man Fyodor Dostoevsky claims that On our earth we can truly love only with suffering and through suffering We know not how to love otherwise We know no other love I want suffering in order to love 24 This is very similar to a song written by the Kievbased rock group Perron What to buy Where to buyrt What can Ida I ve gotno 1uekata11 Things fall apart how can we I39ve 7 Don t worryabout us We 11 overcome our troubles and not just once Soon we 7111a ve it better Jere than you 11a ve there 25 23 Troitsky The Fate of Sasha Bashlachov 56 24 Dostoevsky incomplete footnote 25 Babgy Rock Culture and Rock Music in Ukraine 276 This song essentially grasps the same concept that Dostoevsky spoke of in his novel suffering is a necessity for true happiness However there is a large difference between the two generations Dostoevsky suffers for himself and by himself In the Perron song the first three lines are in the lSt person narrative and the last three lines are in the 3rd person narrative In order for Perron s generation to overcome their suffering they must work together Soviet rock lyrics also exempli ed the developing social problems in the Soviet Union According to lyrics from the Ukraine the country appears to be having problems supplying its people with food The song My Mother Washed Me by the Ukrainian group Avans complained about shortages of food and that the ration coupons are as useless as the system Similarly a song by the Ukrainian group Perron states The y took all of our money From the future Five Hear Plans And we w1ll not see n139ee apartments for a long t1me 27 In both cases they blame the government for their impoverished country These lyrics are documents that give a people s insight into the poverty of Ukraine Rock lyrics from the Ukraine and Belarus provide an insight into how the people of those countries felt about the Russian domination of Eastern Europe Siarzuk Sokalau Vojus a popular Belarusian rock poet wrote This was a far and fearful t1me When from the shoulders heads were flymg When they were destroymg for the hundredth t1me In a row Our memory our language 2 26 Baby Rock Culture and Rock Music in Ukraine 256 27 Baby Rock Culture and Rock Music in Ukraine 277 28 Maria Paula Survilla Rock Music in Belarus in Rocking the State ed Sabrina Petra Ramet Boulder Westview Press 1994 232 Similarly a Ukrainian rock artist named Andrii Sereda performed a song written by a l9Lh century poet Taras Shevcheno The Russians were jealous And robbed us of e verything The y are plundering the tombs and looking for inone y Yheyare digging out your vau1ts And cursing you 2 These lyrics are speci cally speaking of the historical injustices Russia invoked upon the citizens of Ukraine and Belarus However Vojus wrote his song in the 1980s and his message states that similar injustices still remain Also when Sereda performed his song in concert he told the listeners to stand up light candles and sing this rock song like an anthem 30 showing that the core message within the lyrics still existed Depression and alcoholism are also very prevalent themes in Soviet rock Rock artist Alexander Bashlachov wrote We put up a farin itgot buried bya storm The vodka was for a week but the hangover for a year We darned on our bodies And sewed to our ribs We sweat an even year and ehewedfor an even hour This song entitled Evil demonstrated the negative depressed outlook that many Soviet rock groups sang about Also he implied that vodka can be a temporary cure when things get tough Bashlachov committed suicide in 1989 Artemy Troitsky a rockjoumalist and personal friend of 39 39 39 l 39 39 J that I 39 39 39 v quot J suicide because he could no longer write music and more importantly because he could not afford to provide his wife and expected child with a decent home32 Pyotr 29 Baby Rock Culture and Rock Music in Ukraine 273 30 Baby Rock Culture and Rock Music in Ukraine 273 31 Troitsky The Fate of Sasha Bashlachov 52 32 Troitsky The Fate of Sasha Bashlachov 66 Mamonov leader of the Soviet rock band Zvuki Moo also wrote about depression and alcoholism As soon as I see your silhouette I knowbowmucb I love you As soon as I see the fam rar curve I know and I see you 11 be mine Bottle of vodka 33 Mamonov compared the love of alcohol to the love of a woman inherently proclaiming that alcohol could either be a substitute for a woman or a cure for heartache Soviet music analyst Andrei Gorokhov described Mamanov s lyrics as absurd descriptions of horrendous alcoholic scenes and wild relations between the characters that are not so much imagebearing or symbolic as they are nightmarish depressive and the 34 The Latv1an rock group Perkons also only existing reality of drunken delirium wrote songs about alcohol and depression In one of their songs they sang of an alcoholic s failing relationship with his wife Symbolized by a white ower the bride is tainted by the husband so that no one else will ever want her35 Bashlachov Mamonov and Perkons all portray the theme that alcoholism is a result of depression but they also imply where the depression came from In all three cases intimate relationships are involved Bashlachov couldn t provide a decent home for his wife and he committed suicide Mamonov implies that he could no longer stand the heartache women put him through so he replaced them with alcohol Perkons sang of a failing relationship that became so horrible that the husband becomes an alcoholic and tainted his wife A failed relationship is clearly not the only road to depression However the music of the 33 Andrei Gorokhov Punk Rock in the USSR in So eRock ed Igor Zaitsev Moscow Progress Publishers 1990 129 3 Gorokhov Punk Rock in the USSR 129 35 Ramet The Soviet Rock Scene 162 time does indicate that many of the alcoholic men became depressed because of a woman By interpreting the lyrics of rock music in the Soviet Union a door opens and allows a unique view into Soviet culture In analyzing Soviet postwar life and culture the history of Soviet rock and the lyrics of Soviet rock are excellent sources The history of Soviet rock offers many insights into the lives and ideals of the youth in the Soviet Union They fought for freedom of music and many of the activists suffered along the way Also the lyrics of Soviet rock are true primary source documents that provide information about everyday life in the Soviet Union Why did the Soviet youth choose rock as opposed to any other type of music Perhaps Soviet rock journalist Alexander Dugin said it best when he wrote There are many admirers of Bach Wagner Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky in this country many people who like light music and folk music But rock is universal it brings together the most divergent musical tastes It unites young people because it gives them the most emotional channel of expression It gives both masters and amateurs a chance innovation and tradition merge in it across the barriers of age across the borders of talent and lack of i


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