By Paul Goble
“The special military operation has unexpectedly led Russia to something like a cultural revolution,” Olga Andreyeva says, one that it many ways recalls the impact of the Bolshevik revolution on Russia in the 1920s, again ending cultural dependency on the outside world and promoting the rise of new forms of artistic expression.
This cultural revolution often follows generational lines, the Moscow commentator says. Many of the middle-aged leaders of Russia’s cultural elite initially sided with Ukraine, but younger people inspired by patriotism the desire to revive older Russian forms and to develop new ones are pushing them aside (vz.ru/culture/2023/1/9/1192476.html).
Some of the biggest names in Russian culture have left the country, Andreyeva points out; and those who have not are increasingly being marginalized by the young who in the last few months are beginning to attract the attention that had earlier been given only to their elders who slavishly aped Western notions of art, literature and music.
The government by grants and the market by providing money for those who are patriots, the commentator says, are ensuring that this process not only will continue but grow. And at the start of 2023, one can say with confidence that “Russian culture is not only alive but tis in a state of stormy development and expansion.”
“The era of colonial culture following in the wake of the Western agenda is passing from the scene, Andreyeva concludes. And Russia is simultaneously restoring the best of its own past and developing new forms to ensure that its culture will become increasingly independent of everything Western.
The analogy Andreyeva draws between the current situation and that of the 1920s is worrisome but noteworthy, worrisome because the isolation the Bolsheviks imposed then lasted for such a long time and noteworthy not only for that reason but also because while the initial flowering of the 1920s was remarkable, the long gray days that followed were the ultimate result.