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Cultural Pastime of the Leningrad Youth During the Thaw Period

Student: Aleksandra Zemlianova

Supervisor: Ekaterina Kalemeneva

Faculty: School of Arts and Humanities

Educational Programme: History (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 7

Year of Graduation: 2020

Nikita Khrushchev’s Thaw period is a remarkable era both for social and cultural changes in Soviet people’s life: the citizens leisure time became an integral part of government youth policy. This paper provides information on the Thaw era Leningrad’s dance pavilions and youth cafes as the crucial public spaces for recreational purposes. The key feature of this paper is that it lays in the comparative history field – I would like to compare the universal Soviet social and cultural phenomenon (dance pavilions) that had been existed since the very beginning of the Soviet Union with the new and completely unique Thaw period social and cultural phenomenon (youth cafes). The central question of my research is how official youth leisure policies were reflected in the practices of organizing and using new and old cultural public spaces. Therefore, it is necessary to identify and describe the differences between the official position in the field of youth’s leisure recreational time among cultural spaces and the daily practices that took place in such places. In order to achieve that I analyze the context of such primary sources as periodicals, memoirs and the Leningrad Komsomol’s archival documents. This method of combining personal and governmental sources is widely used in comparative social history and the history of everyday life. The design of the research paper consists of broad critical historiographical review including old and modern trends, description of source study features, the social and cultural Thaw policy context, case studies of both Leningrad dance pavilions and youth cafes with the key distinguishes and similarities.

Full text (added May 24, 2020)

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